At the beginning of this month, I found an article in a Flemish newspaper that seemed to be inspired on the gas deficit alarm from the UK National Grid. It was titled “Renewable energy gets us though the winter cold”. This is how the story goes: the very cold February of this year did not result in record natural gas consumption. We used less natural gas in February 2018 than six years ago in February 2012. The demand for natural gas from households and industry stayed more or less the same. The difference was the demand for natural gas for electricity production, which was lower in 2018 than back in 2012.
Conclusion of the article: there was no record natural gas consumption in February because renewable energy grew in the last six years and this increased share lowered the demand for natural gas power. Because of this, we currently don’t need as much natural gas than we would only six years ago and there was no shortage in our country.
From the department of everyone-gets-a-price comes this tweet (translated from Dutch)::
Also in the field of wind energy, we are currently at the top in Europe
Huuuurrrraaaah! Belgium is at the top in the EU for something!
Something I have wondered for a long time: do the politicians who want to go for 100% wind & solar realize that these power sources are intermittent and therefor balancing and/or storage is needed in the transition? When I look at the competencies of the Minister of Energy, his crew and the energy experts among the politicians, then I fear for the worse. The need for balancing/storage is completely absent in the discussion. We only hear that we need more wind and solar in our energy mix, but never about measures to overcome intermittency.
My initial guess was that they don’t realize it, that they consider intermittent energy sources to be dispatchable energy sources and go from there. Then I saw this tweet from the spokes woman of the Minister of Energy. It seems a statement of the Minister himself:
The European branch of Politico is suggesting a new way of presenting the cost of EU membership: “The Cappuccino Index“.
Politico ranked the countries according to how much citizens pay for the EU and came to the conclusion that the contribution of the EU countries to the EU is less than the price of a daily cup of coffee by its citizens during one year. The highest value came from Luxembourg with a contribution to the EU of €1.47 per capita per day, closely followed by Belgium with €1.46.
This index seem to be inspired by the new EU campaign, stating that the EU costs its citizens less than a cup of coffee a day. This probably in the context of their intention to increase the EU budget and looking for ways of making it a bit more acceptable to the public, but that aside.
A curious infographic from the twitter timeline of the Flemish greens (translated from Dutch):
For the first time, renewable energy delivered 100% of electricity consumption in Germany
That struck me by surprise. I was quite busy in the last few days with another project, so I clearly missed the news.
My first reaction was: 100% delivered by renewables, sure, but how many minutes? The second question: when did this happen? There was no date on that infographic, so it was not very clear when this actually happened. I guess it was somewhat before the tweet was posted (January 8), so I went to the Agorameter website and it showed by default the last 3 days (from January 6 until 9). I removed the conventional sources from the graph and to my surprise, I saw no period in which the production of renewable energy equaled consumption.
Not even close.
On the last day of 2017, our Minister of Energy (who is fiercely promoting solar energy) posted a tweet to thank all people who installed solar panel on their during 2017. He got a prompt reaction from someone asking how much electricity those solar panels produced in December. The Minister of Energy replied with this remarkable tweet:
Translated from Dutch:
December 2017 was indeed historically low on sunshine. But there was wind and the sun will compensate plentifully in the coming months #HappyNewYear
Basically, solar energy production sucked really bad in the previous month, but, hey, there was more wind and there is more solar energy to come in the coming months anyway.
I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. I would glad to laugh if it was a joke, but his guy is our Minister of Energy and I am afraid that he was serious about it.
The subject of this post is a statement made in a current affairs program on the Flemish television back in February. In that program there was a debate on smart meters and one of the arguments against was that a savings of only 1% was expected which would not be in proportion to the costs. The reaction was this remarkable statement:
1% savings of energy, if all households do that (we are not even talking about the industry), then you can close one nuclear power plant. That is how much that 1% is.
Apparently, his reasoning was that a 1% savings as a result of that smart meter is already a huge achievement since it would be enough to close a nuclear power plant. Even with some basic knowledge of our energy infrastructure, it should be clear that this is an absurd claim. It didn’t take long before it was debunked, even on national television (which shows that it is an absurd claim indeed).
However, it kept bugging me. How could someone come to this absurd conclusion? I wanted to understand the reasoning that one has to follow to come to such a conclusion. It would be interesting to know where that statement came from, especially because the guy who made the claim is apparently viewed as an “energy expert” of his political party…