Is “expensive gas killing wind” in Germany?

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“If you like me you’ll love Robert by the way, and he’s an actual scientist to boot, he deserves more readers.” I do like compliments, so thank you Nick Grealy (@ShaleGasExpert.) I don’t however like the bizarre piece this complement is contained in, which seems to imply that high gas prices have lowered wind farm output in Germany.

Grealy writes:

Germany has a lot wind generation as well, but wind, being wind, isn’t as reliable as the 20000 MW solar generator that reliably disappears and returns every day.  Sometimes, it’s there, sometimes it’s not and depending on the time of day, wind generators can make a lot of money by NOT generating electricity. This of course goes to the heart of the issue, that energy can’t be stored, something most greens need a Duh! moment to understand. The result:  expensive wind seems to be the co-victim of high gas prices, in some bizarre evil twin dynamic. The result:

Wind turbine output fell 10% to 22.4 TWh, while solar output was unchanged at 14.3 TWh. Hydro output rose 3% to 9.2 TWh, with nuclear output up 1.8% to 46 TWh.

If I was being polite I would call this bollocks, or perhaps bullshit for my American laymen readers. German wind farm output dropped by 10% because of the weather. And if expensive gas had something to do with it Grealy does not exactly go out of his way to provide evidence that it did. And while Grealy was tossing spurious claims about why did he not note the decline in German solar output? This was down 0.3% despite capacity growing from about 26 to 32 GW. Perhaps we can blame high gas prices for this, or simply the mundane fact that it has been remarkably dark in Germany this year. Grealy spends a lot of his time correcting a lot of the nonsense written about shale gas. However like many energy tribalists he has a bad habit reminiscent of a football fan shouting abuse at the opposite team from the terraces.

Bullshit, of course, is always bullshit.


4 thoughts on “Is “expensive gas killing wind” in Germany?

    PetrH said:
    July 15, 2013 at 11:23 am

    Reality shows that the claims in this blog are bullshit –

    Germany’s Renewables Revolution – “German industry enjoys the lower spot prices that renewables create, so it pays about the same for electricity as it did in 1978, and less than French industry pays today.”

    No matter how many uninformed and flawed blog posts from fracking and nuke fans, Germany keeps on investing in and profiting from renewable energy. Germany, India, Japan, and China all now get more electricity from renewables than nukes. Nukes are in global decline while renewables grow at a massive rate. Only the ideologically blinded and hard of thinking could fail to understand what this all means.


      Robert Wilson said:
      July 15, 2013 at 1:22 pm


      You calling me ideological in response to this blog post is actually quite funny. Did you even attempt to read it? After all it is a post written to counter a stupid attack on wind power by a fracking advocate. Perhaps you are the one who is ideologically blind.


    […] the time it’s conclusion that expensive gas caused wind farm output to drop by 10% this year is particularly silly. However, since one of my Twitter followers for some reason imagines that it is me who is making […]


    Joe Soap said:
    July 18, 2013 at 5:26 pm


    I’m confused, are you basing your reply (critique) on the sole assumption that the wind has been blowing less, in general ??



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