Energy Prices in Europe

A few days ago a link to a UK government report called Quarterly Energy Prices landed in my in box. At the end was a series of interesting charts comparing liquid fuel, natural gas and electricity prices across Europe. This post presents these charts alongside some simple but rather interesting observations.

Liquid Fuel

Let me begin by taking a look at liquid fuel. Some key observations:

  • Diesel is marginally more expensive than petrol
  • The cost of the raw product (ex tax) is pretty well uniform across countries, thus what little variation there is in price comes from different tax levels
  • There is little variation in price between countries with the ratio of most expensive / least expensive = 1.4 (petrol) and 1.5 (diesel).
  • Luxembourg has the cheapest diesel and petrol while the UK is about the mid point for petrol but has the most expensive diesel.

The relative uniformity of price throughout The Common Market presumably discourages motorists crossing borders bargain hunting.

Natural gas

Natural gas and electricity prices have two main tariffs, one for domestic users and one for industrial users, the industrial tariff being much lower than the domestic tariff.

  • The Netherlands and Denmark, the two gas exporters, have the lowest raw prices.
  • Otherwise it is difficult to rationalise the variations since the pattern of raw price variations for domestic and industrial varies.
  • Excluding the high and low outliers, the mean ratio of domestic / industrial price = 2.1±0.25 (1SD)
  • The main trend in domestic prices is caused by progressive higher tax levels.
  • Surprisingly, The Netherlands, with the EU’s largest gas resource also has the second and third highest prices owing to high tax levels.
  • The UK has the third and fourth lowest gas prices.

Electricity

When we get to electricity the picture becomes much more confusing, especially with the reported tax levels. For example, for domestic electricity, Denmark has a raw price of around 7 p / kWh and retail price 3.4 times higher at 24p. While the UK has a raw price of about 14p / kWh and retail price of about 15p. These cannot possibly be counting the same thing. It seems that many European countries count the various subsidies as tax while the UK treats subsidy as raw price. I have written to the new UK Dept of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) for clarification, but they are still on holiday.

There are a couple of clear observations to make:

  • High nuclear countries France, Sweden and Finland have among the lowest industrial and domestic electricity prices.
  • There is a clear trend where the pattern of rising price is down mainly to rising tax, which I suspect is actually rising subsidy payments to producers. In the domestic chart (35) I have noted the installed solar and wind capacities per capita (2014) from an earlier post titled Green Mythology and the High Price of European Electricity. High electricity prices are clearly linked to the level of penetration of wind and solar.
  • The ratio of domestic / industrial price varies from 1.5 (UK) to 3.6 (Sweden). This can be viewed as industrial support policy where Sweden is doing all it can to support industry while the UK provides least support. The ratios are tabulated below.

Domestic and Industrial electricity prices in p / kWh read from the BEIS tables.

I want to conclude by showing once again this chart from my Green Mythology post. It plots electricity price v installed wind and solar capacity / capita. And below that a plot from An Update on The Energiewende that shows a breakdown of components in German Electricity price. There has been a lot of debate recently about the cost and price of renewables. The evidence remains clear that high electricity prices are linked to high levels of renewables penetration and the associated subsidies.

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84 Responses to Energy Prices in Europe

  1. Willem Post says:

    Euan,

    Electricity

    It looks like installed wind-solar at 450 watt per capita is about 5 pence/kWh less costly than Denmark-German at 970 W/capita.

    So about 1 p/kWh increase per 100 watt/capita.

    Nice to know, in case there is RE crowing about the cost of wind and solar being “on par, being competitive”, etc.

    It is likely many costs are not included, such as impacts on other generators, grid extensions, storage, etc., i.e., those costs were “socialized” to become invisible.

    So that 1 p/kWh likely is closer to 1.5 – 2.0 p/kWh.

  2. Dave Rutledge says:

    Hi Euan,

    Happy New Year to everyone!

    Excellent summary. My California average electricity charges have gone from 12 cents/kWh to 16 cents/kWh from 2005 to 2016, while the natural gas price has been stable at $12/GJ.

    Dave

  3. Joe Public says:

    Very interesting, thanks Euan.

    Your source states:

    “In this issue there are provisional 2016 annual domestic gas and electricity bills, and Q3 2015 prices for industrial consumers and major power producers. There is also a comparison of prices in the IEA with those in the UK for 2015, sourced from IEA data.”

    Complementary Eurostat “Electricity price statistics” for medium size household consumers and industrial consumers during the first semester of 2016 are available here:

    http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/Electricity_price_statistics

  4. Thinkstoomuch says:

    Happy New Year all.

    And thank you Euan for a timely post to some of my current thoughts.

    T2M

  5. jacobress says:

    Germany retail prices stable since 2013 (last graph) – probably due to the great drop in fossil fuel prices in 2014.

    • Possibly. More interesting to me is that according to the graphic Energiewende costs contributed 12.46 eurocents, or 43%, to the 28.69 eurocent/kWh retail electricity price in Germany in 2016. And this number comes from the greens at German Energy Transition.

  6. Pingback: Europe’s rising electricity prices as more wind and solar are added into the grid | electricityasia

  7. jim brough says:

    The graph of Europe Electricity Price v Installed Wind + Solar capacity should be an eye-opener for those who see renewables as the way of saving the world from climate change.
    Reality is that wind and solar manufacture and installation cause major CO2 emissions.
    Geology tells us that there have been major fluctuations of atmospheric CO2 in the history of the earth long before the belief that anthropogenic CO2 is tipping the earth into an environmental catastrophe.
    Now we are hearing publically something which biologists knew many years ago, CO2 is beneficial for plant life and is contributing to greening of the planet and agricultural productivity.

    • gweberbv says:

      Jim,

      this graph tells you the costs early adapters have to bear. Sweden started late with massive wind power deployment (around 2009). Now they have 1 GW more installed than Denmark.

      Eurostat tells us that the residential retail price for electricity was 18.7 Eurocents/kWh in 2015: http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/File:Electricity_and_gas_prices,_second_half_of_year,_2013%E2%80%9315_(EUR_per_kWh)_YB16.png

      With a population of 9.5 million and 6 GW (end of 2015) of wind power (nearly no PV) they now surpassed Spain on the x axis. Sweden will be the ‘new normal’ for countries that start now when PV and wind costs are significantly down from the values before 2010.

      • robertok06 says:

        @guenter

        “Sweden will be the ‘new normal’ for countries that start now when PV and wind costs are significantly down from the values before 2010.”

        You are dreaming, guenter!… “the new normal” how?… Sweden has lots, but really lots of hydro, to modulate/store the heavily intermittent wind power.

        Nice try, though.

      • Bernard Durand says:

        @Gweverbv
        Sweden has indeed increased its share of wind+solar in its electricity mix from 2, 5% to 8 % roughly between 2010 and 2015 while prices remained more or less stable around 200 euros/MWh. Same thing in Denmark, however for much higher prices, around 300 euros/MWh and a wind penetration increase from 30 to 45 %. But for Ireland , Germany, Portugal, Spain, Ireland , increases of share and increases of prices are well correlated during this period . Have this countries equipped themselves with obsolete materials ?
        The decorrelation in Sweden and Denmark is more likely due to a more and more efficient use of dams which are already paid off in Sweden, but also in Norway, as storages for wind power, and to the development of more powerful interconnections between these countries.
        A statistical increase of electricity prices with the increase of installed capacities of wind and solar is clearly observed in Europe. It is logical: as long as storage is insufficient, you cannot significantly get rid of back-up power stations. Therefore you have more or less to double the CAPEX for the power system. This is very clear for Germany, where there has been no decrease of conventional capacities since 2000, while wind+solar capacities have increased by nearly 90 GW! But you also have to add the increase of price of conventionnal power, because of a lowered load factor of the power stations, and the cost of new developments of the grid. This means that, even if the cost of wind and solar electricity became very low, this would not result in a decrease of the price of electricity, but only in a lesser increase.
        There is no hope that massive storage could result in a lowering of electricity prices : you would just replace conventional power stations by more expensive massive storages. Moreover, you would loose a lot of electricity in the system, and a correlative increase in wind + solar capacities (and also in destructions of the environment) would therefore be necessary.
        This is a big but a very common and often volontarily mistake, to compare only the prices of the different components of an electricity mix, without looking at the price of the mix which results from their association.
        The hidden costs of wind+solar are enormous, and for the moment they are conscienciously hidden by the Greens with the help of medias. A new trick in France is to put a part of the bill on fossil fuels, so as to stabilize the price of electricity. I guess this is also the case elsewhere in Europe.

        • gweberbv says:

          Bernard,

          the possibility to follow the residual load (actual load minus wind production) with hydro power without loss of efficiency of the plants and also with high ramp rates is a big advantage in Sweden. But it is not the main cause of the low RE costs. When you compare with Germany a big difference is the capacity factor of wind. Sweden seems to be close to 30% even with relatively cheap onshore wind farms, whereas onshore wind in Germany is now – after a lot of modern, high efficiency turbines were added – around 20%. A few years back it was more like 17%, if I remember correctly. This is a huge difference because it transaltes nearly one-to-one to the costs of wind power in the both countries (turbines that have a higher capacity factor should also have a little bit more wear and tear, but I guess this is not significant).

          Moreover, Germany installed a lot of PV when it was expensive – three times the costs that we see today. Just to get an idea: The 7 GWp PV added in 2010 receive about 30 Eurocents/kWh. The difference to the wholesale price is about 27 Eurocents/kWh now. Wind power in Sweden should work for 5 Eurocents/kWh. So the difference is only about 2 Eurocents/kWh. 1 GW of German PV produces about 1/3 of 1 GW of wind power in Sweden. So, for the costs of 1 GW PV in Germany from 2010 Sweden could have 4 to 5 GW of onshore wind power.

          Last but not least the German renewables surcharge is not paid by all customers. More than 1/4 of consumption is exempted to improve competetiveness of the industry (which already profits from a decline of wholesale electricity prices by nearly a factor of 2 in the last few years).

          The idea that you need to double the CAPEX of PV or wind to account for the system integration costs is nonesense if you do not state the penetration. Running a country with no hydro ressources 50% on wind power will be expensive in terms of integration of course. Doing so at 15% much less.

          • GW

            The vast majority of German solar was installed after 2009. The price differential of German solar producers since then has been declining but not dramatically. Same of chinese producers.

          • gweberbv says:

            don,

            here you find the PV installation numbers for 2010 to 214 together with the feed-in tariff for small-scale installations: http://strom-report.de/medien/photovoltaik-ausbau-verguetung.png

          • robertok06 says:

            @guenter

            “don,

            here you find the PV installation numbers for 2010 to 214 together with the feed-in tariff for small-scale installations”

            GUenter!… leave your “green” eyes away, and use the “physicist” ones… do you see any correlation in your plot?

            It seems to me that in spite of a much lower price for the Wp the amount installed has dramatically fallen close to zero… how come?…

            Do you think that the null hypothesis “most Germans in the past have installed PV on their rooftops only/mainly because it was a good financial investment” would pass the test?

            Let me know, please.

            Cheers.

          • Bernard Durand says:

            @ gweverbv, load factor of Swedish wind should be higher than the German one, for the reasons you said. In fact it is not true: at least in 2014(I have no more recent figures), Sweden produced 7,3 % of its mix with a capacity of 559 W/capita, and Germany 9,1 % with a capacity of 450 W/capita.
            Of course the increase in CAPEX depends on the penetration rate, but capacities in Germany increased from 104 GW in 2000 with still little wind+solar, to 188 GW including 82 GW of wind+solar in 2014, for a penetration rate of 14 ,8, and the electricity price for households was doubled with a very nice correlation of 6,4 % of price per added % of penetration of W+PV. The Greens in France explain that energiewende in Germany is a fantastic success and that we imperatively have to follow this example. This is terrorism !

  8. Alex says:

    “The relative uniformity of price throughout The Common Market presumably discourages motorists crossing borders bargain hunting.”

    I live on the Swiss German border. There aren’t many fuel stations on the German side, but the local Swiss village has six. They only sell petrol, as diesel is “relatively subsidised” in Germany.

    Driving to the UK, I usually stop in Luxembourg to fuel up. It has the four highest selling petrol stations in Europe. Whilst car drivers don’t drive more than 30km to seek cheaper fuel, lorry drivers will. This is one reason why the UK has introduced a day charge for foreign lorries – they would fill up in Calais, drive to Manchester and back degrading the motorways, and contribute a penny to UK roads (other than the Dartford Crossing charge).

    It’s also one of the reasons why Germany and others have introduced HGV tolls. Yes, it would be easier to just raise diesel prices. But if foreign lorry drivers then fill up in Poland or Luxembourg, they avoid that tax.

  9. paulclim says:

    Thank you for your work, Euan. Again a very interesting article.

    I would like to comment on the issue of renewables/costs. Obviously, electricity costs are rising with the content of renewables. It is good to draw conclusions in numbers, like Willem Post above did by saying “So about 1 p/kWh increase per 100 watt/capita”.

    But I think it is still too early to do so because the reality might be far worse than that. The reason is that the renewables like wind/solar currently profit from the grid where coal/gas/nuclear provide the base capacity which fills the renewable holes. Without this base capacity it would be necessary to install energy storage systems which in turn would drive the total costs of renewables much higher than it is right now.

    Thus the main costs of renewables are still hidden, at least in Germany, where I live, because we nearly have a 100% coal & gas backup and wind/solar is just around 20%. Once the “Energiewende” would be accomplished the total costs will appear much clearer. In case of Denmark it is the european grid that it can use as a buffer due to the neglible energy demand that comes from there. Were there neigbouring countries with the same one sided energy structure Denmark would not be able to export the surplus of wind generated energy nor would it be able to import electricity when there is no wind.

    Everything is connected and we are only at the very beginning of the problems. Hopefully there will be a halt soon to rethink the policy.

    And finally: Just imagine that someday in the distant future 50% of global energy demand had to be supplied by wind. How strongly would that reduce the wind speed all over the planet? Maybe the temperature rise from that reduction would be higher than that of the additional CO2 (see link below). Not to mention the ugly picture of wind farms all over every landscape.

    http://www.earth-syst-dynam.net/2/1/2011/esd-2-1-2011.html

    • gweberbv says:

      Paul,

      don’t be afraid of the wind coming to rest due to wind farms. One of the big hurricanes contains an amount of energy similar to the annual world consumption.

      And our coal and gas backup plants will of course stay forever. Only their usage will decrease (very slowly) over the next decades.
      We are also far away from true overproduction problems. Over the holidays I downloaded the quarter-hourly load and production data for 2015. The following scenario would lead to a 55% RE coverage with less than 4% RE overproduction:

      – 90 GWp PV
      – 70 GWp Wind Onshore
      – 15 GWp Wind Offshore
      – 10 GW Fossil Fuel must-run (=baseload)
      – 5.25 GW Biomass, of which 50% is flexible with two 4 hour production shifts per day
      – Water power as in 2015
      – no export, no import
      – 6.6 GW of Pumped Hydro Storage with 40 GWh capacity

      (This is just a fun project. So take it with a grain of salt. But when you have the time series, there is not much you can do wrong.)

      Such a RE fleet is not to be expected before 2030.

      • jacobress says:

        “One of the big hurricanes contains an amount of energy…” only when the wind blows too strong (big hurricane) wind turbines are turned off and closed down, to avoid damage.

        • gweberbv says:

          My comment is not about wind output during hurricanes. I just wanted to demonstrate that there are huge amounts of energy present/dissipated in the atmosphere. A few wind turbines on the surface of the planet will not deplete this reservoir (=reduce wind speeds on a global level).

          • robertok06 says:

            Guenter:

            you never give up dreaming, do you?

            Who cares if some purpose-made turbines could generate some electricity during a huge hurricane?… when an hurrican hits the power network is down most of the time in a matter of minutes, and… most of all.. the DEMAND of electricity drops to a virtual zero, as people leave their homes, close down airport, commerce, etc…

          • gweberbv says:

            Roberto,

            read my comment again. In particular this part: My comment is not about wind output during hurricanes.

          • robertok06 says:

            @guenter

            “A few wind turbines on the surface of the planet will not deplete this reservoir (=reduce wind speeds on a global level).”

            “A few” certainly not, but when “a few” is followed by “millions” then it can.
            This is a well documented fact, and Paulclim has linked to you just one of the many papers demostrating this.
            Remember: in a closed system energy must be conserved… if you extract it from the atmosphere the total amount in the atmosphere must decrease, and this in turn reduces dramatically the output of the other, let alone a suite of other problems.
            Read the paper!

            Your line of reasoning is the classical one, based on greenspin, the so called “bottom up” one: you take the power generated by the average turbine, and then multiply by the number of turbines that you need in your model in order to come up with the amount of energy that you need.
            In reality, and as well explained in the linked paper above, or in DeCastro et al, Energy Policy… mentioned many times here, once you remove the land that is not suitable, the one that cannot be touched, the one which is too far away (same for seas), etc… i.e. once you apply a “top down” analysis, you are left with a lot, but really a lot less than the potential energy which could be generated by wind (and PV alike).
            Sorry, but dreams become reality only in kids’ tales.

            R.

          • gweberbv says:

            Roberto,

            one of the basic assumptions in DeCastro’s paper is nonesense: That you need to take into account only the energy/power being present in the first 200 m of the atmosphere. You are a physicist, you should understand the principle of equilibrium. If you deplete the kinetic energy in the first 200 m, do you really think that there the air there will stand still/slow down significantly, while right above the 200 m mark everything will be the same? Can you also cool down only the first 2 cm in a cup of hot coffee?

            DeCastro implicitly touches this problem in his paper when he describes the first of the three methods to estimate the power available in the first 200 m of atmosphere. Due to friction energy dissipation is much higher near the ground. But with huge forests of wind farms, the effective surface moves to where the rotors operate. Thus, you would expect an increased energy dissipation in the layer above the 200 m zone. Because this layer is now nearer to the ‘new ground’ which is defined by the wind turbines.

            Without a model how the atmosphere reacts to wind farms of a size that changes the regional wind patterns, you are lost in the woods. Just my two cents.

          • robertok06 says:

            @guenter

            “But with huge forests of wind farms, the effective surface moves to where the rotors operate. Thus, you would expect an increased energy dissipation in the layer above the 200 m zone. Because this layer is now nearer to the ‘new ground’ which is defined by the wind turbines.

            Without a model how the atmosphere reacts to wind farms of a size that changes the regional wind patterns, you are lost in the woods. Just my two cents.”

            GUenter, your 2 cents are worth nothing.
            The paper linked above, on the journal earth dynamics, explains why it is so, that the lower layer of the atmosphere gets “depleted” of energy which only partially gets replenished.

            Do yourself a favour: read this one… it’s from Max Planck in Jena, your home town, right? 🙂

            https://www.mpg.de/9389067/wind-energy-wind-electricity

            “Turbines weaken wind energy

            Large wind farms with a high density of installed capacity slow down the wind and generate less electricity than previously thought

            Less energy can be withdrawn from wind than was assumed up to now.

            For example, a previous prediction from a 2013 study by the German Federal Environmental Agency concluded that almost seven watts of electrical power per square metre could be generated from wind energy.

            However, an international research team led by scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry in Jena has now shown that the amount of energy actually possible from wind power is considerably lower. ”

            CONSIDERABLY lower, Guenter! 🙂

            “As the wind would be significantly reduced if the installed capacity of the wind turbines in Kansas were to increase substantially, the generation of electricity would be limited to a maximum of 1.1 watts. This maximum energy yield is considerably lower than suggested in previous estimates, such as the one by the Federal Environment Agency, as these do not take the slowdown effect of the turbines into account.”

          • gweberbv says:

            Roberto,
            you are not consistent. First you are pointing towards the DeCastro paper that ends up with an upper physical potential for wind power of 1 TWe = 8.7 PWh. When confronted with critic of the DeCastro assumptions, you point to the next paper (miller et al.) that states a limit of 1 MWe/km^2. Thus, if you find 1,000,000 km^2 on the whole planet (including offshore areas) that is accessible and adequate to wind power, you already reach the 1 TWe. But DeCastro assumes that *all* areas of wind class 3 and higher that are not over the sea or in antartica are accessible. So, the US alone would offer more than the 1,000,000 km^2, see here: https://www.nap.edu/openbook/12091/xhtml/images/p20019b24g275001.jpg
            Therefore, DeCastro is off by an order of magnitude at least (if we take the Miller paper at face value).

          • robertok06 says:

            @guenter

            “Roberto,
            you are not consistent. ”

            Not at all!… it simply is that YOU don’t make any effort to understand the nature of things, because you are blind due to ideology.

            The deCastro et al paper takes into account NOT ONLY the decreased extractability of the energy from the lowest part of the atmosphere, while the other paper, that I have linked after your reply, takes into account only that.

            Read again, and come back, in case, OK?

            R.

      • robertok06 says:

        @guenter

        “The following scenario would lead to a 55% RE coverage with less than 4% RE overproduction:

        – 90 GWp PV
        – 70 GWp Wind Onshore
        – 15 GWp Wind Offshore
        – 10 GW Fossil Fuel must-run (=baseload)
        – 5.25 GW Biomass, of which 50% is flexible with two 4 hour ”

        55% of 560 TWh?… or 310 TWh?… 46 GW nuclear…. 12 power stations covering each 1 km2, with 4x 1 GWe reactors?

        So 190+ GW of non-reliable, mostly intermittent renewables, some of which are NOT emission-free at production, covering an endless amount of land and landscape… vs… 12 km2, baseload.

        Cherchez l’erreur.

        • gweberbv says:

          Roberto,

          this is a futile discussion. Nuclear power has no future in Germany (at least for some decades).

          And the landscape will not change too much when going from 40 GW PV to 90 GW or for onshore wind from 45 GW to 70 GW. A good portion of the old wind fleet will simply be replaced by better turbines with a higher nameplate capacity (and capacity factor).

          • paulclim says:

            Nuclear power might be dead in the current political landscape of Germany. The assumption that this state will be constant for decades is more than speculative. Latest when even higher energy prices collide with a political change, nuclear power will be on the table again.

          • robertok06 says:

            I agree with you, Guenter… mine is only a futile discussion… but I get a kick every time I can show, using DATA and logical reasoning, that the mithical Energiewende is a bogus plan.

          • Alex says:

            Nuclear power has no future in Germany until we build the 8GW molten salt reactor islands in Polish waters in the Baltic.

      • robertok06 says:

        @guenter

        “But when you have the time series, there is not much you can do wrong”

        ??? with zero import and zero export you can balance each 1/4 hour load datum?… I do not believe you, sorry… there MUST be something wrong in your calculation, guenter.

        Show the excel spreadsheet, if you’ve used such a program, please.

        Cheers.

    • disdaniel says:

      Wind is driven/caused by a temperature differential. That temperature differential does not go away if a wind turbine is built (or if a million are). Therefore you need not fear turbines “killing” the wind. Buildings/walls pose a far greater impediment to the flow of wind than all the turbines that will ever be built–yet we still have wind!

      • robertok06 says:

        @disdaniel

        “Buildings/walls pose a far greater impediment to the flow of wind than all the turbines that will ever be built–yet we still have wind!”

        How is it to live in a house (a castle maybe?) with 150 m tall walls?

        Go troll elsewhere, please.

  10. robertok06 says:

    Hi:

    interesting piece, thanks!…

    The header of the last figure reads…

    “…. power rates stable since 2013 although renewables increase by 1/3”

    I can’t see how renewables in Germany may have increased production by 1/3 in 3 years!… anyone has an idea or, better, data on this? I’d say it can’t be true/correct.

    Cheers, and thanks in advance.

    • robertok06 says:

      … OK, found the answer by myself…

      http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=26372

      …and…

      https://www.ise.fraunhofer.de/en/downloads-englisch/pdf-files-englisch/data-nivc-/power-generation-from-renewable-energies-in-germany-2016.pdf

      … which says things like these:

      “In 2016, roughly 37.6 TWh of electricity from photovoltaic arrays was fed into the grid.

      Production thus is 1.2 TWh or 3.3% lower than in 2015.

      The slight decrease compared to previous year is due to the different weather conditions and the small installation rate of only 1.2 GW.

      The target of the government was 2.5 GW. At the end of 2016, 40.8 GW PV were installed. Solar power production peaked at 28.5 GW and 47% of total electricity generation on 08 May 2016 at 1:00 PM.

      In May 2016, the monthly electricity production of PV systems was higher than that of nuclear power plants. < — No shit! —- :-)… "forgot" to say that in May (and April) some nuclear power plants were off-line most of the time… what a joke!

      78 TWh were generated from wind in total, 1.2 TWh less compared to 2015. " <— LESS???

      Less in spite of the wunderbar off-shore which has come on line during the year??? How come? How is it possible? 🙂

      So, to summarise… as foreseen, it was a lie… electricity production by renewables has NOT increased by 33% between 2013 and 2016. No way.

      This energytransition.de is just a bullshit website… not worth a dime.

      Cheers.

      • gweberbv says:

        Roberto, look here: http://www.ag-energiebilanzen.de/index.php?article_id=29&fileName=20161216_brd_stromerzeugung1990-2016.pdf
        (6th line).

        2012: 142 TWh
        2016: 191 TWh

        And then be a man and apologize.

        • robertok06 says:

          2013 MAN!!!!… not 2012!.. read the caption of the last figure I’ve cited, guenter!

          … and now it is YOUR time to apologize (just kidding, no need to do it). 🙂

          Cheerio.

        • robertok06 says:

          @guenter

          Anyway… thanks really a lot for this nice table, Guenter… you are really a friend. I’m sure I’ll peruse it.

          What it basically shows is that:

          1) The Energiewende will NEVER materialize… you’ve got 4 extra TWh from the whole Erneuerbare compound with respect to a year before… while you need/dream to decarbonize 340 TWh of fossil fueled power stations, and… most of all… 85 additional terribly dangerous nuclear (let’s not forget the risk of tsunamis in the Rhine valley, please);

          2) It confirms that the BS theory of Herr M. Dittmar is just a theory.. electricity consumption has gone UP in the recent years, after the 2008/9 financial/economic crash… so long for his “lets’ reduce the consumption” bogus theory…

          3) 8 (9?) reactors still generate more electricity (but baseload and dispatchable, not intermittent) than a forest of wind turbines, and more than twice as much as 39 GWp…. or 245 km2 of useless PV panels!… which have cost something like 120 billion Euros, if not more????… cheap PV, right Guenter?… not to mention the 11+ BEuros in “incentives”… every year for 20 years.

          Thanks, thanks, and more thanks, Guenter. 🙂

          • gweberbv says:

            Roberto,

            domestic electricity consumption is “Brutto-Inlandsverbrauch”. I would not claim that this number is really going down the last years, but it is definitely not going up.

            And PV is cheap now. Who cares what it costed in 2010 or 1970? Historians?

          • robertok06 says:

            @guenter

            “And PV is cheap now. Who cares what it costed in 2010 or 1970? Historians?”

            Guenter: PV is DEFINITELY –NOT– and I repeat — NOT — cheap now.
            It is true that the cost of the cells/modules/panels has decreased dramatically, but even at 2 Euro/Wp electricity from PV in Germany is more expensive than most of the alternatives.

            Just try this:

            http://www.nrel.gov/analysis/tech_lcoe.html

            … set 2 $/Wp, 10% CF… 5% financing costs Fuel cost 0

            … what do you get?

            21 cEuro/kWh.

            So, is this “cheap”? At best… you can say “it is not outrageously expensive as it used to be”… but, pliiiz!… 21 cEuro/kWh BEFORE adding the costs of balancing, storage, transport, etc?….

            Repent thyself! 🙂

      • Roberto

        According to Development of Renewable Energy Sources in Germany 2015 from the federal ministry for economic affairs and energy

        The large offshore projects came online 2015. In 2014 wind generated about 57.4 BkWh and 2015 79.2 BkWh. The capacity additions for this jump stated in 2013. A small amount came on line in 2014.

        It is not unusual for Germany to have flat periods for wind generation. For example from start of 2007 to end 2010, generation was flat or declining despite capacity increasing. I suspect this capacity had not been connected. In 2011 we see another large jump as this capacity comes onto the grid.

        • robertok06 says:

          HI: a reduced generation from PV and wind is common to Spain and Italy as well (not wind, but PV yes)… and it has to do with a reduced solar irradiation (well documented) and also meteorological conditions adverse to wind generation… which, as far as I understand mean that in winter (higher wind production period)there has been many days of high pressure with little/no wind, and little/no PV even with clear skies since PV in Europe produces very little during Nov-Feb period because of the short days and low sun trajectory in the sky.

          Cheers.

      • paulclim says:

        There are only proponents of the RE cited in this article. I have a word for stuff like that but don’t want to use it here. I only refer to its claim that Energy prices will not rise any further in Germany even if more RE is added. That is apparently wrong. The RE subsidy is rising more than 8 percent in 2017. price per kWh is supposed to rise 3.5 percent in 2017. These numbers are significantly different from the claimed zero. And still, the usage of the coal/gas plants as buffers for RE is not yet accounted for in the production costs of the RE. Thus their costs are artificially low which leads the author to the second wrong claim of proven competitiveness of RE.

        • gweberbv says:

          Paul,

          it all depends on the price level of the whole sale market. If we have 25 Euro/MWh also for the upcoming years, the renewables surcharge will peak in 2020 at about 8 Eurocents/kWh. After that time a lot of wind power will drop out of the system or at least will switch to reduced feed-in tariffs. So, we would need a real surge of new installations to not see a decline in the surcharge.

          Here is a very nice calculator for the “EEG Umlage”: https://www.agora-energiewende.de/de/themen/-agothem-/Produkt/produkt/130/Online+EEG-Rechner/

          • paulclim says:

            Gweberbv

            I do not support this kind of calculations. The thing is that you do not and cannot know, how the political and market conditions will evolve in the future. Thus it doesn’t make sense to calculate something based on present conditions. E. g. If the the subsidies will be shortened but will still be big enough to justify a replacement of a turbine, that has just exited the system, by two new ones, you will have the surge that nobody is anticipating right now. This theoretical doubling of the capacity will drive market prices further downwards and cause the need for even more subsidies in order to not let die the whole RE industry.

            Stop subsidies immediately. There is no urgent need to act and risk our wealth and stability. RE is either competitive without subsidies and can supply enough energy or it is the wrong path to our future. That’s it basically.

          • robertok06 says:

            “If we have 25 Euro/MWh also for the upcoming years, the renewables surcharge will peak in 2020 at about 8 Eurocents/kWh. ”

            Great!… the surcharge due to a SMALL fraction of the total electricity generation is more than 3 TIMES the value of the MWh on the market.

            What better proof of the inutility/counteproductivity of RENs in Germany?

            CHeers.

          • paulclim says:

            Exactly, Roberto. What the RE proponents do not grasp, is that a physically senseless system will never be economically successful in a broad scale. If you have an EROI of 1 or 1.6 it will never ever be sustainable. But that doesn’t convince them. So they change the numbers into 5 and believe that’s going to work. It is a shame that we let them go this far. Maybe you will be more successful in the UK to keep theses Ideologists away from power.

          • gweberbv says:

            Roberto,

            believe me, we will see the day when written-off (utility-size) PV plants will be happy with 40 Euros/MWh for the decades to come in Germany (and less in southern France).

            Look at this: https://cleantechnica.com/files/2015/04/Les-Mees-in-France.jpeg
            With a few days of training a bunch of farmer boys from Ukraine will do the service for this plant after the raspberry picking season.
            If you have to replace a few PV panels, you get them for around 300 bucks/kW shipped to Rotterdam et al. Inverters will be around 75 bucks/kW. The main working force that looks after the plant once in a year consists of a few experienced electricians and the already mentioned farmer boys from the east. Type this in your LCOE calculator of choice and start thinking.

            (Nobody will care if it took a hundred billion of ‘stupid German money’ to reach this point.)

          • paulclim says:

            PV has an EROI of 1 to 1.6 in northern latitudes like Germany or Ukraine. That means it nearly takes as much energy to produce, install, operate and maintain a PV system as you get as an output. In fact you are doing nothing else than installing a few tons dirty chinese coal power on the roof or, like in this case, on a field.

            The fact that it doesn’t emit anything may look nicely to green ideologists but at the end of a day it is worse than buying power from a modern and clean local coal power plant.

            On top of that: The PV modules are so cheap as they are because they are produced with cheap chinese coal power. Would China also decarbonize and theoretically completely switch to PV then a PV module would just produce its successor. The price for it would be infinitely high. What else than stupid is this?

            Whereas I admit that in some cases, e.g. when you have no access to the power network, something like this could make sense, the standard PV application is completely senseless. The proof is that nearly nobody is doing it without tremendous subsidies, although the systems are produced under ideal conditions.

          • robertok06 says:

            @guenter

            “Roberto,

            believe me, we will see the day when written-off (utility-size) PV plants will be happy with 40 Euros/MWh for the decades to come in Germany (and less in southern France).”

            YOu don’t get it, do you?
            Of course they “will be happy”!… they will literally vomit the power they produce regardless of what the market wants, and then it will stay on someone else’s shoulders the burden to throttle down their plants and balance the intermittency.

            What is it that you can’t understand in “it is physically impossible to run a modern industrialized country on intermittent renewables”, guenter?

            “With a few days of training a bunch of farmer boys from Ukraine will do the service for this plant after the raspberry picking season.”

            Yeah!… exactly.. this is the “huge number of jobs” which PV technology brings to society, right? WOW! 🙂

            “If you have to replace a few PV panels, you get them for around 300 bucks/kW shipped to Rotterdam et al.”

            Sure! Made in China… using electricity 70% from (mostly) chinese dirty coal, which kills (chinese people, so guenter doesn’t see them) to the tune of 100/TWhe… do the math, Guenter, you are capable of doing it.

            “Inverters will be around 75 bucks/kW. The main working force that looks after the plant once in a year consists of a few experienced electricians and the already mentioned farmer boys from the east. Type this in your LCOE calculator of choice and start thinking.”

            I don’t see “balancing costs”;
            I don’t see “storage costs”;
            How come, guenter?

            Anyway… LCOE calculator above… 800 Euro/kWp… 11% CF, 5% interest rate… 17.4 cEuro/kWh, baby!!! Try it yourself.

            The Les Mees PV plant… I know it very well, I drive in that area every 2 weeks, as I have an apartment in Aix en Provence. it is in the north of the Durance valley, Alpes de Haute Provence department, 30″ drive north of the ITER site in Cadarache, where I’ve spent several years.
            There are at least 3 more such ridiculous PV installations along the same valley, near Manosque and before it (coming from Aix en Provence).
            This one is a 18.2 MWp which has a cost of…. SEVENTY million Euros!… i.e. 3.85 Euro/Wp… for an LCOE of…?…

            27.2 cEuro/kWh even with a low 3% borrowing interest and 17% CF!… and this compared to the 5 cEuro/kWh of the nuclear fleet?????…. what the f are you talking about man! 🙁

            https://fr.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parc_de_centrales_photovoltaïques_de_la_Colle_des_Mées

            There is absolutely no way to grow anything around the panels, as they are placed right on the ground.

            Turists flock to this area to see endless fields of lavender and breathtaking landscapes…. now they see this:

            http://www.batiactu.com/edito/un-parc-photovoltaique-titanesque-au-milieu-champs-29061.php

            The day there will be a lot of PV in France it will force emission-free nuclear power plants to load follow and reduce their output, while gas plants will still be used for following the short time intermittency of PV (and wind)… illogical and certainly much more expensive than the present situation. That’s physics with a modicum of logic, baby!

            You are talking about large plants placed in the countryside… but the “green revolution” calls for de-localized “prosumers” each with its own little (few kWp) PV system on the roof of their house… i.e. doubled costs, no ukrainian farmers taking care of it, and reduced CF (unless future houses’ roofs will be rigorously aligned to the sun path).

            Get real, man!… you argument like a GreenPiss apparatchik, not a physicist.

            Cheers.

          • paulclim says:

            @roberto

            Very nice post. You brought the same arguments as I did but filled it with real life.

            I also like the Provence and it is a pity that they install silly PV plants in this beautiful place.

            What I really do not understand in this ideology is: why the heck aren’t they installing solar thermal plants in Africa rather than inefficient PV plants in Ukraine? That would help poor people as well and it would be 9 times as efficient as PV. I really don’t get it.

          • gweberbv says:

            Roberto,

            regarding your LCOE calculation of “17.4 cEuro/kWh, baby!”. When you look at the feed-in tariffs and PPA in Europa don’t you wonder if your number might be slightly too high? Maybe a factor 2 to 3?

            And that is just for the first 20 years. What happends then? The fence around the plant and the mounting of the modules are good for 100 years. Most of the cables might work 50 years if not directly exposed to sunlight. So, you end up with replacing from time to time modules and inverters. Which are cheap already now.

            I talk about the future. You worry about 30 Eurocents/kWh negotiated probably around 2010. In terms of costs of PV the year 2010 is very far in the past. Will you also bother me with your mobile phone rate of 1995?

          • robertok06 says:

            @myself, on the French Les Mees PV plant:

            “This one is a 18.2 MWp which has a cost of…. SEVENTY million Euros!… i.e. 3.85 Euro/Wp… for an LCOE of…?…”

            … to be precise the 18.2 MWp refers only to the first installation, covering 36 hectares… subsequently they have made it bigger, at lower costs, reaching 100 MWp on 200 hectares of beautiful land… 2 km2.

            100 MWp at 17% CF correspond to 1/40.6 times the energy generated by one small 920 MWe EdF reactor at 75% CF.
            This means that just to replace the electricity of one small reactor one would need to cover 81 km2 in this high-insolation area (300 days/year of blue skies, equivalent to southern Italy).

            Cheers.

          • robertok06 says:

            @guenter

            “When you look at the feed-in tariffs and PPA in Europa don’t you wonder if your number might be slightly too high? Maybe a factor 2 to 3?”

            No. Because the PPA in Europe are affected by “under the table”/undisclosed tax discounts/loopholes, land given for free by gung-ho local city administrator leaning on the green side… etc…

            The LCOE is a mathematically precisely defined formula (OK, the one on the NREL site is simplified, but fairlyt accurate)… so what’s the problem PHYSICIST Guenter to understand it?

            Look at the formula, scientist Guenter!… look at it… here it is:

            http://mercomcapital.com/what-is-inside-your-lcoe-assumptions

            … play around with it, analyse it… there is no way to get low prices with capacity factors in the range of 0.1 to 0.14… which is what you get between UK (low) and average for Italy (high).

            Time to go back to class, Guenter!… tomorrow I’ll check out your preparation, OK? 🙂

          • gweberbv says:

            Roberto,

            just have a look: http://imgur.com/8n8vhrz

            These are the costs of utility-size PV now.

          • Thinkstoomuch says:

            gweberbv,

            “just have a look: http://imgur.com/8n8vhrz

            These are the costs of utility-size PV now.”

            .12 Euro/MWh if I am understanding it right.

            From the posted reference page 6: https://www.ise.fraunhofer.de/en/downloads-englisch/pdf-files-englisch/data-nivc-/power-generation-from-renewable-energies-in-germany-2016.pdf

            German exports Jan-Oct 2016 35.30 Euro/MWh

            German imports Jan-Oct 2016 37.24 Euro/MWh

            T2M

          • robertok06 says:

            @Guenter

            “Roberto,

            just have a look: http://imgur.com/8n8vhrz

            These are the costs of utility-size PV now.”

            NoW??? You mean that one can build NOW a utility-sized PV plant with 400 dollars/kWp?

            Now you are becoming a liar… why is it that, Guenter?

            Anyway… LCOE means the cost of each kWh that in the time frame of (your choice) 20 years makes even the cost incurred by the owner and the money cashed by him… so when electricity is sold at the LCOE price the owner gets even after 20 years… no financial gain at all.

            Question 1: would you, guenter, as an “investor” be happy to go even after 20 years or not?

            Question 2: where’s the storage and balancing cost part, Guenter?

            Nice try… but no more cheap lies, please.

          • gweberbv says:

            Roberto,

            try to read the text above both LCOE calculations. 400 bucks/kW would be roughly todays costs to make an existing written-off PV plant good to go another few decades. Because – you know – if the PV plant is already there, you don’t have to build a new one from scratch.

          • robertok06 says:

            @guenter

            “Roberto,

            try to read the text above both LCOE calculations. 400 bucks/kW would be roughly todays costs to make an existing written-off PV plant good to go another few decades. Because – you know – if the PV plant is already there, you don’t have to build a new one from scratch.”

            There is no such a thing as an already “written off” PV plant, Guenter!…. the whole comedy story of PV at 10% CF in Germany saving the world and replacing baseload nuclear (that IS written off!) at 90% CF has started for good in the second part of the first decade of this millennium… and all such plants have been “incentivised” for TWENTY years…. so take your comment above, store it somewhere, and come back around 2025-2030… and then we’ll discuss, OK?

            Not a nice try this time, it was too easy to debunk.

            R.

          • robertok06 says:

            @guenter

            “Will you also bother me with your mobile phone rate of 1995?”

            No, and that’s because in 1995 I did not sign a contract fixing FOR TWENTY YEARS my rate.

            In Germany you’ll keep on paying PV rates of more than 50 cEuro/kWh until 2027!… for the early installations… open upyour eyes, GUenter!…. 11+ billion Euro/year until 2023 or something like that!… to produce 35 TWh or so/year….

            How lousy are your comments becoming, poor Guenter.

  11. Syndroma says:

    Just FYI prices in Russia.
    Petrol: 50 p/litre
    Diesel: 47 p/litre
    Natural gas industrial: 0.5 p/kWh
    Natural gas domestic: 0.6-1.0 p/kWh
    Electricity industrial: 1-2 p/kWh
    Electricity domestic: 4-8 p/kWh

    • Grigoriev Albert says:

      Most russian industrial consumers pay 7-8 p/kWh for 6 or 10 KV electricity.
      One should take into account that an average salary in Russia is about GBP500

  12. Euan

    Last figure: according to Development of Renewable Energy Sources in Germany 2015 from the federal ministry for economic affairs and energy.

    The price jump in 2012-2013 was attributed across the board with increases in capacity for biomass, solar and wind (also incineration but ignore). 0.2 MkW (biomass) and 2.5-3.5 MkW of capacity was installed. Increased generation occurred though not perhaps for wind.

    However no price jump thereafter. Solar from 2013 to 2015 was steadily increasing generation and generation declined in 2016. Biomass was similar. Wind increase in generation largely occurs in 2014 to 2015.

    So what has changed in 2012/2013 and 2014-2016? The problem is “energy provision” and what that term means.

    Further exports complicate the picture. I noticed an unusual coincidence. In Robertos link (power-generation-from-renewable-energies-in-germany-2016.pdf) you can see exports increasing by ~13 TWh from 2014 to 2015. Wind in this period increased by just under 22 TWh with biomass and solar ~+ 2 TWh each. It would seem that there is trouble accommodating half of the developed energies!!

    • gweberbv says:

      You do not need to make wild guesses. Wind production has big fluctuations from year to year. Deviations up to +-10% of the average production are no surprise.

    • paulclim says:

      The reasons for stable prices between 2013 an 2016 are various but the biggest effect is the merit order effect. That means by setting RE in a preferred position of the energy share the energy source with highest costs will lose. This was gas which was replaced by lignite due to costs during that time frame. Coal partly took its place as standby buffer. Thus the production costs could be reduced. That might happen in the future again when people get angry because of rising costs. At the end of the day Germany is decarbonizing by replacing highly CO2 efficient gas through dirty coal. At least nobody is asking questions why CO2 emissions are not falling. I call this consistently stupid which I am allowed to say as a German. 🙂

      Of course there are other factors as well, as e.g. the change in subsidy legislation in 2012 or the huge price increase a year before.

      • Thanks Paul

        “This was gas which was replaced by lignite due to costs during that time frame. Coal partly took its place as standby buffer.”

        I did not realise this. So it might be argued that prices have stayed stable due to lignite. If we had used gas, we would see a similar price jump as in 2011/2012.

        “At least nobody is asking questions why CO2 emissions are not falling. I call this consistently stupid which I am allowed to say as a German.”

        I have asked this several times. Something I wrote some time ago elsewhere (shortened; links not included). Germany is often held as a model for the future of electricity generation. The main data is from Agora institute and shows CO2 emissions generated by the electricity sector from 1990 to 2014. We will break down the data into different periods to show the changes.

        The first period is the early 1990’s. Using AGEB data the main reason is reduced lignite power generation. There was very little wind or solar. Natural gas starts to grow. The second period sees CO2 levels plateau until 1996. Renewable additions were not significant but were climbing.

        The third period is from 1997 to 2000. These years give the minimum CO2 emissions while using a ‘more or less’ traditional grid with CO2 ~ 316 Mt. A decrease in lignite use due to increases in nuclear and gas and wind occurs. Wind was generating around 5-10,000 GWh so still a very small part of the grid. The traditional mix of energy sources dominated.

        The fourth period through to 2006 shows small increasing CO2 emissions. Coal is not the culprit for emissions and natural gas cannot account for all. Wind and biomass are rapidly increasing generation. For wind, ~75% of 2014 levels of generation were online. Solar was still insignificant. The fifth period 2006-2007; the first round of nuclear closures driving increased hard coal use and emissions. The sixth period is all about recession, to 2010. EEA reports at the time gave reduced economic output as the cause of the CO2 emissions decline, along with a move away from coal to gas.

        The seventh period to 2014. Emissions are recovering and achieve similar levels to that in 1997-2000, mainly lignite. The dip in 2014 was primarily caused by the warm winter according to AGEB. We can see that emissions are on average ~309 Mt.

        While the build out of W+S mainly occurred after 2000, emissions levels have only slightly declined 2000. On average around 1999, emissions were 316 Mt. At best the final period shows an average of 309 Mt.

        • paulclim says:

          Hi Donough

          You are correct. No CO2 improvement. The RE proponents might argue that some nuclear power plants could be replaced by RE. While that is true I argue against it that those RE installations increased the CO2 emissions elsewhere, e.g PV modules in China or where the cement is being made for the wind turbines, probably also in China.

          Welcome to wonderland.

        • paulclim says:

          And: you have to consider that politics, media and lobbying groups in Germany are all following this ideology. You will hardly find pure data against it. The green propaganda has full control of the public. There is no opposition and nearly no unbiased information available. So nearly everyone agrees on the agenda and everyone believes to do something necessary and good. The only party that opposes is a racist party (AFD). Thus most people are even more convinced that the green ideology is right. So on the first view this pretty much looks like green wonderland. But the people do not grasp that this is the ideal way to credit the extreme right in the long run.

    • paulclim says:

      A few further figures to bring some real facts from wonderland:

      Electricity prices in Germany have more than doubled in the past 16 years. They are going to rise another 3.5% this year, whereas the highest increase will be in parts of Bavaria with more than 15%.

      Redispatch operations have doubled in 2015 which is why grid surcharges are rising up to 25% in 2017. The rise in RE subsidy plus the rise in grid surcharges are the main reasons for the 3.5% price increase.

      Supply shutdowns due to unpaid electricity bills have risen 12% in the last 5 years. Currently more than 6 million households (around 14%) are threatened to get a cutoff from electricity supply because of unpaid bills of around 120€.

      You can imagine what the next price increases will cause.

      But of course we will stand as a wall to save the planet. This is just a transition to the bright future. Apparently, some will not be able to make that transition.

      Unfortunately I only have a source in german and I don’t know how to post a picture here. http://strom-report.de/strompreise/#strompreise-stromsperren

      Regards from wonderland where you won’t find those figures in the news which is probably the reason why other countries love to show Germany as the good example for a successful green transition. It’s just that nobody is looking at the bill. But that might change this year.

  13. robertok06 says:

    German greenspin

    https://www.siemens.com/innovation/en/home/pictures-of-the-future/mobility-and-motors/electric-mobility-green-boat-canale-grande.html

    … so the “Scossa” boat re-charges its batteries using….its diesel engines.

    Question for Guenter (or anybody else willing to answer/comment): what emission rates should one apply to the electric-only part of the journey?

    Cheers!

  14. paulclim says:

    Let me guess: minus 200g/km because that is green biodiesel out of tropical rainforests.

  15. Climate Otter says:

    Good morning Euan and Happy New Year!

    Permission, please, to repost your report to another site – Deviantart.com – an art site but lots of (political) material on climate and energy. I will of course link back to this article and your site overall.

  16. GeoffM says:

    Has anyone else noticed how, especially when you’re reading these articles at 5am, that the word “subsidy” looks like “stupidity” ?

  17. Paul Gardner says:

    Straw boat.
    The environmental credentials this article is claiming are reduction in noise and diesel fumes in the crowded central part of Venice, not any CO2 reductions or cost reductions. This is obvious from the headline and article.

  18. dylan says:

    Hi thanks for the interesting posts and comments.
    I thought you guys might like this map.
    http://electricitymap.tmrow.co/

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