From pot, kettle and renewables

In the category “strong statements”, today an interesting reaction on the news of the nuclear reactor getting offline last week Thursday. It came from Johan Vande Lanotte, former Minister and current member of the Chamber of Representatives for the Flemish socialist party. In his own style he stated: if renewable energy failed so often, this government would have quit it a long time ago.

I had to chuckle when I read this. I hope he isn’t talking about wind and solar. These are not exactly the pinnacle of reliability and not exactly chosen for their performance either. As seen in one of previous posts, solar energy doesn’t contribute much to the morning and to the evening peak, the time of the day when the demand for electricity is highest. Even in this season when days are rather long and nights short. In the wintertime, when the demand is highest over the year, the contribution of solar energy to our electricity production during the peaks is non existing.

Adding wind energy doesn’t seem to make it much better, at least not currently. Just look at the last seven days:

To be fair, the production coincides rather well with the day time (because of the solar component) and these are rather well predicted by the net manager to a 200-300 MW difference (intraday), so it is not exactly unpredictable. But it doesn’t follow consumption, so the conclusion that wind and solar don’t add much when they are most needed remains. And as far as I know wind doesn’t excel either during winter when it is cold, on the contrary.

This means that the net manager needs to have enough capacity at his disposal (mostly conventional power sources) that can take over to accommodate the morning and evening peak. That seems more like structural failure to me. I have no idea what Vande Lanotte considers a reliable energy source, but when I think about reliable energy sources I would definitely think about something else.

2 thoughts on “From pot, kettle and renewables

  1. Pieter

    The youngest nuclear reactor in Belgium has an age of 30 years. Much needed repairs were slowed by having a non-argument about quiting our nuclear plants which keeps dragging on already for years. And now johan is complaining about our plants failing? Can he show a solar or wind park of that age and with the same stable generation of electricity?


    1. trustyetverify Post author

      Well put, Pieter.

      I am sure he can’t show a solar or wind park of that age with the same stable generation of electricity. By that time wind mills and solar panels will be retired … almost twice. Even more: he will not be able to show a solar or wind park of any age that delivers the same stable generation of electricity, even when brand new.



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