Monthly Archives: August 2022

Claim: 8 GW offshore wind capacity corresponds to 8 nuclear reactors

A couple months ago, I wrote about the claim of our Minister of Energy that 1 GW of renewable capacity equals 1 large nuclear power plant (she obviously meant “reactors”). I recently came across a variation on this claim made by another member of our Government, the Minister of the North Sea (at least the stretch of the North Sea that belongs to Belgium). Here is what he said about the future plans for wind power in the North Sea as reported by a journalist of a Flemish newspaper (translated from Dutch, my emphasis):

According to Van Quickenborne (Minister of the North Sea), it is even possible to reach 8 gigawatts with a third wind farm by 2040. “This capacity is enormous, it would correspond to 8 nuclear reactors,” says the Open VLD politician, who believes this is enough to supply all Belgian families.

This seems impressive at first glance. Basically, the total capacity of wind mills on the Belgian part of the North Sea is expected to amount to 8 GW by 2040, which the Minister then compares to the capacity of 8 nuclear reactors.

There is a core of truth in this claim (our largest nuclear reactors have a capacity of 1 GW each, so 8 GW would correspond to 8 of those), but it is pretty misleading. It is comparing two different types of electricity generation having a (radically) different output.

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The fact check of the (hard to find) claim that the heat wave of 1976 was hotter than 2022

Belgium had some hot days between July 17 and July 20. As expected, the media was full of it. I noticed that around the same time some news media companies made a comparison with the summer of 1976, putting forward that it was hotter now than in the summer of 1976 and, although the number of hot days were much lower, that this doesn’t mean that its severity is being exaggerated by them.

The Flemish public broadcasting company (VRT) did a similar thing and made it into a fact check format. Here is the title of the fact check (translated from Dutch):

CHECK – No, the hot summer of 1976 was not hotter and doesn’t show that climate change doesn’t exist

I naively expected that the fact checker actually found some examples of claims that the summer of 1976 was hotter than 2022 and that this observation somehow would call climate change into question. The fact check linked to four examples that seemingly illustrate such claims, but following those links that isn’t the case…

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