I'm sure everyone has seen the news items about the severe cold wave that most of Europe is now experiencing. After an unusually warm and mild early winter, last week a Siberian cold front invaded and we are seeing a prolonged profound freeze which is the longest I have experienced here. Luckily, it hit before the fruit trees went into bud. I am sure I lost a lot of plants on my property. Now there is about 6 inches of snow on the ground, my rural road doesn't get plowed, but the farmer has to come down here on his tractor for the cows.
I'm lucky, I have a few weeks of wood sawn and split and the fuel tank for the central heating was just filled. Being a sturdy Michigander, this feels kind of normal to me in a nostalgic way.
|view out of my window.|
The high temp is -4C today!
Pretty cold and I'm waiting for the heating repair man to show up!
Even more drastic, in the North and along the Atlantic Coast, the cities of Brittany are experiencing power outages. Why? Because Frances much touted nuclear energy system cannot meet the demand. The power frid infrastructure has not grown with the real consumption. A big issue brought up in the last few weeks is the outdated inadequate security of the plants, thanks to Greenpeace! The response of the energy industry here was to use the security upgrades as an excuse to jack power charges to the consumer.
It also focused the public on the real costs of government subsidized nuclear power here. So much is propaganda, smoke and Public Relation clouded mirrors.
This only highlights the dramatic decision of Germany to phase out their Nuclear Power plants last year after the Fukushima disaster. I wrote about the far reaching and visionary German energy management system that has already been implemented back on November 11, 2011. Germany is now putting together a very forward energy grid management model that integrates all forms of energy production, solar, wind, fossil, water from commercial and private producers. Excess energy is stored, and systems are used to store that energy in the most efficient way, such as excess electrical power instead of being stored in short term batteries is sued to generate gas, which can be stock piled of r a long time. Then of course, it can be sold.
The doomsayers and corporate anti ecologists were all predicting massive energy shortages for Germany this winter. Instead, Germany is already in the position of being able to export electrical power into Frances aging grid. The German energy prices are well below Frances and coming down. Here is the real time report.
On Friday evening, spot market prices hit 15.1 Cent in France. In contrast, Germany’s price was at 11.1 Cent at the time. France is importing electricity right now, while Germany is exporting. One reason for that is that France uses much more electricity for heating than Germany. In the French Bretagne, citizens are asked to reduce their consumption.
On Friday there was high demand of 70 GW around noon in Germany and only about 2 GW of wind power available. There still was no problem whatsoever.
Yesterday and the day before solar contributed between 6 and 8 GW to the grid around noon. Grid stability is excellent, there are many power plants on standby which get no piece of the action. The grid management companies all say that solar contributes a lot to that stability, even in this season.
The future of energy management is going to become one of the major issues in the upcoming April/May French Presidential Election. For the Socialist Candidate, Francois Hollande, Frances Non Nuclear Winter could not have come at a better time to help him maintain his early lead in the polls. The Socialists have made a reform of Frances energy future a major platform issue.