Gridwatch France

Engineer Leo Smith developed the Gridwatch web resource to record UK power generation from various sources as reported by Balancing Mechanism (BM) reports. Power generation data for the UK are now available since 2009. Since November 2014, Gridwatch has also been recording generation data in France (thank you Leo) and this post is a first look at these data. The data cover only the period since November 20th, 2014 and are not always of top quality, but there’s enough information to provide some interesting insights.

First some basic stats on generation and installed capacity in France (data from the entso-e statistical factsheet). Note that 90% of France’s generation came from low carbon sources in 2013. The number increases to 101% when expressed relative to consumption:

Next some comparisons between France and the UK. Figure 1 shows electricity demand in the two countries over the four-week period between December 1 and December 28, 2014:

Figure 1:  Electricity demand in France and the UK, December 2014

France consumed significantly more electricity than UK over the period largely because it uses electric rather than gas heating, about which more later. Otherwise the demand curves ran closely parallel, with both show a daily range of +/-20MW and with peak demand occurring at more or less the same time (shortly after 6pm in France and shortly after 5pm in UK).

Figure 2 is a comparison of the amount of electricity the French grid says  it exported to the UK and the amount of electricity the UK grid says it received from France. This is basically a check of the veracity of the two data sets:

Figure 2:  French exports to UK versus UK imports from France, December 2014

The two should match, and if we ignore the French exports that exceed the ~2MW capacity of the IFA interconnector they more or less do. As can be seen, the French export/import data are not of the highest quality.

Third, wind generation. It’s been claimed that combining wind output over large areas smooths out fluctuations, and UK and French wind farms combined cover an area of somewhere around a million square kilometers. But adding French wind to British wind doesn’t smooth things out. If anything it makes the output even more spiky.

Figure 3:  Stacked bar chart, wind generation, UK and France, December 2014

Now on to the basic Gridwatch data. Figure 4 summarizes electricity supply and demand in France since November 20, 2014. The data are recorded at 15 minute intervals (UK data are recorded every 5 minutes) and the day markings on the X-axis correspond to ~1600 hours, which is approximately when peak demand in both countries occurs:

Figure 4:  Electricity supply and demand in France since November 20, 2014

Nuclear generation over this period overwhelmed other generation sources (which are plotted individually later). The problem is that it sometimes overwhelmed demand as well, even when other sources of load-following generation were presumably cranked down as far as they could go. As a result nuclear had to be cycled to follow load over ranges of up to 10MW during periods of low daily demand, such as between December 18th and 26th. Given that nuclear works best as baseload generation (and French nuclear plants were not designed with load-following in mind; more details here) the implication is that France has more nuclear capacity than it can efficiently use. The requirement to use nuclear in a partial load-following mode would certainly contribute to the low overall 73% load factor. (The nuclear load factor in the US in 2013 was 91%).

Yet the nuclear load factor over the 48-day period shown in the graph was 87%. How could it have been as low as 73% in 2013? The likely answer is provided by the graphic from é reproduced below in Figure 5. Average demand in France in the summer months is around 45,000MW, barely half the average winter demand. France’s 63,100MW of nuclear capacity could generate 45,000MW operating at a load factor of 71% and it could meet the 30,000MW average minimum summer demand operating at a load factor of only 47%. The load factors would be even lower in practice because there would still be a significant contribution from hydro and other peaking facilities.

Figure 5:  Weekly electricity consumption, France, 2001-2012

Figure 5 also shows winter peak demand increasing from ~70GW to over 100GW between 2001 and 2012 because of the rapid expansion of electric heating, which according to Renewables International increased French peak winter demand by up to 40GW in the winter of 2012. On February 8 heating demand in fact rose so high that the UK, which usually imports 2GW of power from France, had to export 2GW of power to France instead, as I discussed in this recent post . It seems that the skyrocketing growth in electric heating is beginning to create problems for France in meeting peak winter demand.

Now back to Figure 4. France is a net exporter of electricity (it exported 55.7 TWh in 2013). It was a net exporter during the period covered by the Gridwatch data, but overall it exported more when domestic demand was low – another indication that the French grid is becoming stressed during peak winter demand periods. More about exports later.

Now to the “other” generation sources. Presenting all of them on the same graph makes the data unreadable so I’m showing them in groups of two or three. Figure 6 shows hydro and pumped hydro, France’s second largest generation source:

Figure 6:  Hydro and pumped hydro generation since November 20, 2014

According to these results water in the pumped hydro facilities was only pumped uphill. One assumes that at some point some of it came back down again and that the power generated is included in “hydro”. Hydro was used to follow load but output bottoms out around 3GW, a limit presumably imposed by the need to maintain water flows below the dams.

Figure 7 shows the contributions from gas, coal and a negligible amount of oil. Both gas and to a lesser extent coal were used in load-following mode, with gas generation fluctuating between 7,500MW and a baseload level of about 2,000MW and coal between 3,500MW and zero.

Figure 7:  Gas, coal and oil generation since November 20, 2014

Figure 8 shows the contributions from wind, solar and biomass. The contributions from solar and biomass were negligible and wind generation was totally uncorrelated with demand (R squared = 0.003). The 29% load factor was, however, respectable.

Figure 8:  Wind, solar and biomass generation since November 20, 2014

One other aspect in which France differs from UK is in power exports and imports, which are becoming more important as Europe increasingly looks to interconnectors to balance wind and solar generation. UK has interconnector links with France, the Netherlands and Ireland with a total capacity of 4GW. France has interconnector links with Germany, UK, Belgium, Spain, Italy and Switzerland with a total capacity of around 15GW. Figure 9 shows flows over these interconnectors during the Gridwatch data period. (As noted earlier the French grid export-import data are not of the highest quality and I have had to throw out big chunks in the case of UK and Belgium. However, what remains is sufficient to show the basic picture):

Figure 9:  Interconnector flows between France and neighboring countries since November 20, 2014

I won’t comment on these results except to observe a) that December 7th and 29th, the only days on which France imported rather than exported power, were the coldest of the month and b) that Germany is the only country France fairly consistently imported power from. The few periods during which it exported power to Germany coincide with periods of low demand when nuclear had to be cycled down, so presumably the exported power was surplus nuclear. Figuring out how flows to and from one country balance against flows to and from another is nevertheless a complex exercise, and it becomes even more complex when we consider that interconnector flows between France and its neighbors are also affected by interconnector flows between France’s neighbors and other countries, such as between Germany and Scandinavia.

That’s as far as I’ve gone so far. Maybe a follow-up post later.

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49 Responses to Gridwatch France

  1. Willem Post says:

    As Europe interconnects the national grids, the national management of grids will become pass, just as state management is passed in the US.

    Grid management will become regional covering groups of countries. Read groups of states in the US.

    • Willem Post says:

      I was typing this on my iPad which suggests words, even wrong ones.

      pass should be passe.

      passed should be passe.

  2. Joe Clarkson says:

    Looks like net exports is also load following wind. They must be exporting to countries that don’t have much wind power and can back off on fuel consumption to accommodate wind imports. Switzerland looks like a prime example. Maybe Scotland should contact the Swiss.

  3. concernclub says:

    wanted to comment on the article about primary energy decline in Europe from last week
    but it seems closed to comments?

    Anyway, nuclear energy in Europe is not really what one should define as primary energy.
    100% of the uranium is imported.

    but otherwise the graph is great

    michael dittmar

    • Euan Mearns says:

      Michael, so you are arguing that nuclear electricity should accrue to the country that produces the uranium? And a logical extension of that would be that all wind power accrues to China that produces the Nd in the turbine magnets.

      With about 2% of the total cost of nuclear attributed to the fuel, it is traditional for energy analysts to attribute nuclear electricity to the country where it is generated, e.g. BP.

      To get on topic, if France were importing all of its electricity it would be even more bust than now, but its not because nuclear electricity is home grown.

      Not sure what post you couldn’t comment on Michael but comments are closed after 3 weeks.

      Best Euan

    • Leo Smith says:

      Surely your moniker should be ‘ConcernTroll’?

      primary energy is energy that is highest up the food chain as energy.

      I.e. nuclear coal gas wind and solar are all primary energy. Hydrogen and batteries are not. They use energy produced by something else.

      That’s my definition anyway.

      And in fact nuclear power has the lowest imported value of anything: most of the cost is in the consultants who are employed to quadruple check it meets regulations during construction, and the rest is nearly all the contractors who build it, most of whom are local to its construction.

      Fuel cost represents no more than 15% of energy cost and of that 16$, 95% is in the processing of raw and recycled uranium and plutoneiu7m, not in the cost of the actual yellow cake etc.

      Nuclear power is in fact the most energy secure power a nation can have. hundreds of years of uranium can be stockpiled safely. And the actual economics of nuclear power mean that in the limit, you could extract the uranium out of any granite rocks or sea water and still have a viable power industry. We dont do that because its cheaper to buy imported yellow cake etc, but its not impossible to survive without it.

  4. concernclub says:

    Dear Euan,

    if you count the “energy resource” gas as primary
    uranium is not different in my view and from first principles.
    (and as you well know, the “price” of uranium or gas is irrelevant here)

    wind or solar energy is the primary source and local

    lets be consistent.

    no uranium imports no electric energy from nukes
    no gas imports no electric energy in gas power plants in Germany as well.


    • concernclub says:

      Just to be clear:

      “Michael, so you are arguing that nuclear electricity should accrue to the country that produces the uranium?”

      no, I argue that any electric energy should be counted from the source
      and if the source is imported or not.

      I also argue that the factor 3 for the primary nuclear made electric energy is
      misleading. The waste heat is useless.

      The BP way of counting kWh(el) into MTOE is more consistent
      but also not perfect as they apply the 0.38 efficiency factor to all types and this
      ignores high and low value electric energy (produced when needed or when not really
      needed). Also, the average 38% efficiency for fossil power plants with oil equivalent is
      a little misleading as modern gas powered plants and even coal reach up to 45-50%

      but, the 38% BP way of doing things is reasonable and simple.


      • Leo Smith says:

        Waste heat isn’t useless at all. It is for example a great way to heat house or green houses.

        • concernclub says:

          yes, in principle waste heat can be used.
          But in the real existing nuclear power plants it is not
          used, because the outgoing temperature is too low
          (in other words the operating temperature of the reactor
          is too low)

          • Leo Smith says:

            Mm. You do have a problem with reality don’t you?

            The outflow heat from a classic steam turbine with condensers is around 60°C, well able to provide low grade heat for any biological process that needs it.

            The low thermal efficiency of a nuke is down to using water and the primary working fluid: water/steam much above 200°C is pretty hard to handle.

            Contrast a gas turbine where the working fluid is hot gas up to 1000°C, and you get the sorts of efficiencies a modern CCGT can achieve – and that also has its exhaust finally at around 60°C or so,.

            The basic limit is the initial temperature of the fluid in degrees absolute over the final in degrees absolute is what limits theoretical thermal efficiency.

            So if we use 60°c – (333° absolute) as the output of the condensers, then to achieve 37% efficiency – typical for a pure steam plant, 333°=0.63 of initial fluid temperatures putting those temperatures at 529° absolute or 255°C.

            To get 60% efficiency the primary working fluid has to be at 333°/0.4 or 560°C or so

            It is impractical to get efflux temperatures much below 60°C, as the condensing plant simply gets too large. However when used for space heating, the houses or factories themselves become a very large condenser, and it may be possible to reduce even that temperature

            But 60°C is more than enough for domestic heating – most heatpumps will simply outputs in the 40C range, and a ‘nice’ domestic temperature is around 20C or less. My own underfloor heating runs at a limited 50C to prevent screed cracking.

            Likewise with few tropical temperatures exceeding 30C in humid climates, there is no need to heat any greenhouse beyond that.

            Going back to your second error of understanding, it is not because the reactor temperature is too low, it is because the impracticalities of steam plant prevent the steam getting anywhere near as hot as the reactor. The reactor is very hot indeed. Or can be with gas as the primary coolant rather than water. A gas cooled nuclear reactor coupled to a gas turbine could be as much as 60% efficient – but what is the point? The British partially did that, with the AGR reactors but in the end the design was expensive and uranium was cheap. There is no particular economic driver to maximise the efficiency of uranium based power since the fuel is abundant and very very cheap. The drive was towards low cost of construction and operation, and conventional steam plant was therefore used with boiling water or pressurised water technologies.

            The same goes for breeder reactors that utilise more of the actual uranium. If the cost of the reactor is not offset by the resultant lower fuel costs, there is no (economic) point.

            In short the economics of nuclear power is dominated by the fact that the fuel is almost free at the point of mining and refining, but the technology to utilise it is very expensive, and the human input to meet insane regulatory burdens is 3-5 times higher than the direct capital cost of the plant in material and energy terms, beyond that.

            By rationalising regulatory overheads, governments could have nuclear power at one third or one quarter of the cost it is now, without impacting significantly on safety.

            squeezing a few percent more efficiency would cost more money than the extra power would generate.

      • Roberto says:

        ‘The waste heat is useless.’

        Waste heat of nuclear power plants is usually discarded, but could be used.. in fact it IS sometimes used, see Crocodile Farm and greenhouses near Tricastin, France.


    • Leo Smith says:

      You can breed uranium to plutonium and run on that.

      There is enough plutonium at Sellafield to guarantee power for at least ten years for nuclear reactors.

      That’s longer than a windmill will last, without imported bearings…and imported diesel to run the service trucks cranes and boats

      • concernclub says:

        I think you get the Plutonium numbers wrong.
        Go and get the right numbers for example from the

        • Roberto says:

          ‘Go and get the right numbers for example from the

          …interesting subject… I’ve done just that, found this:

          ‘On completion of reprocessing operations about 2016 the stockpile is expected to be 140 tonnes. Using all of UK’s plutonium in MOX fuel rather than immobilising it as waste is expected to yield a £700-1200 million resource cost saving to UK, along with 300 billion kWh of electricity (about one year’s UK supply). The civil plutonium stockpile could be consumed in two 1000 MWe light water reactors using 100% MOX fuel over 35 years, but other options are under consideration (see UK paper).’

          So: about one full year of uk electricity consumption… given the fraction of nuclear on the total generation in the UK I’d say that maybe 10 years is a bit of an exaggeration, but not a big one…


          • concernclub says:

            agreed, just a factor of 10 difference.
            (and well in theory and in practice is still different).


          • Leo Smith says:

            The ten years was a reflection on the amount of electricity generated by current nuclear reactors, not the total energy supply of the UK

          • roberto says:

            “agreed, just a factor of 10 difference.
            (and well in theory and in practice is still different).”

            No!… it’s NOT agreed at all!.. it is NOT a factor of 10, a lot smaller… and basically Leo is right and you are wrong.

            C’mon!… you are a respected physicist, put aside IDEOLOGY and use your math skills!


    • Roberto says:

      … no solar panels from China, no electricity… Dr dittmar, you are talking nonsense…


      • concernclub says:

        Dear Roberto,

        perhaps you can be a bit more clear when attacking.

        No nuclear power plants from France and no nuclear electric
        energy in UK?

        lets, stay on the topic of primary energy.


        • Euan Mearns says:

          Dear Concernclub

          The topic of this post is “Gridwatch France”. Since being afforded the privilege of commenting on Energy Matters just yesterday you have posted several comments, most of which are devoid of useful information and are simply adding noise. Below is a copy of our standard response to Green Trolls. One more uninformative off topic comment from you and you simply go onto the comment moderation list.

          You can answer a single question. Which country, or countries, should France’s primary nuclear electricity production be attributed to?

          We do not find the general standard of your comments to be contributing in a positive way to the discussion and your comments from now on will be subject to moderation. You can still post, but only your polite, on topic and informative comments will be published.

          • concernclub says:

            don’t know why you say so, but anyway
            here is the answer to your question:
            (origin of uranium resources for electric energy produced)

            the uranium numbers for Europe are very clear
            from the Euratom supply agency 2013 report
            page 25 onward
            page 28
            Natural uranium mined in the CIS (Russia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan) accounted for 7 349 tU, or 43 % of all natural uranium delivered to EU utilities, a 7 % decrease from the year before.

            Deliveries of uranium of North American origin totalled 3 536 tU (21 %), an increase of 2 % from 2012.
            Deliveries of uranium from Africa decreased by 29 %, down to 3083 tU from 4318 tU in 2012. Uranium extracted from Niger accounted for 2 235 tU and for 72 % of all African-origin uranium. A substantial decrease was reported in deliveries of uranium extracted in South Africa, Namibia and Malawi.
            Similarly, Australian-origin uranium totalled 2 011 tU. European uranium delivered to EU utilities originated in the Czech Republic and Romania and covered approximately 2 % of the EU’s total requirements (a total of 421 tU), which is no change compared to 2012.
            Small deliveries of re-enriched tails material were reported by EU utilities.

            France gets most likely equal shares from this mix.

          • Euan Mearns says:

            So you would allocate primary energy production from U to countries like Niger, Namibia and Malawi. Well I disagree with you and dare say that most of my readers would too. You are entitled to your opinion and you are not alone. David Mackay makes the same argument.

        • roberto says:

          I was clearly referring to your…

          “no uranium imports no electric energy from nukes
          no gas imports no electric energy in gas power plants in Germany as well.”

          .. so explain to me where my reasoning is wrong.


  5. Leo Smith says:

    Notes on Gridwatch France interconnector flows.

    It was hard to actually assign values to these: what is recorded is total imports and exports only, with figures for the pre-booked values of those flows. So what I had to do was look at what was booked, add it all up, look at total interconnector flows, and parcel it more or less in the ratio of the pre-booked flows.

    OT: I’ll just grind an axe of mine. The public pays for the maintenance of grids especially in a state controlled industry like in France. It is disgraceful that information that helps the public monitor the performance of state funded utilities is sparse, unreliable, or just plain missing. It is even worse when the government having taken your tax to pay for it, won’t let you have the information it does have, unless you pay for it AGAIN. I am thinking here of flood level and river level data.

    • Leo: Thanks for the explanation. Judging by my comparison of French exports with UK imports it seems you didn’t do too badly.

      And the total exports and imports are correct. 🙂

  6. Interconnector flows in Europe are designed basically to replace expensive power with cheap power in order to minimize overall generation costs, and to some extent this is going to result in power being shipped from countries where it’s relatively abundant to countries where it’s relatively scarce. But otherwise they do nothing to ensure security of supply. The assumption seems to be that there will always be enough power to go round.

    • Leo Smith says:

      I’d say that the actual effects of interconnectors is to make any shortfalls in power production a European wide problem rather than a localised one. 🙂

      On a more positive side is does enable nations with temporary surpluses to unload them at reasonable prices and vice versa. So ity adds to overall efficiency of the pan European grid, but he downside is a narrowing of capacity margins – a very real problem with renewable energy.

      What the overall picture shows is just how mad Hollande is when he says that France will become nuclear free and destroy its third largest export at the stroke of a green ministerial pen.

      Europe would not survive denuclearisation.

      • I’d say that the actual effects of interconnectors is to make any shortfalls in power production a European wide problem rather than a localised one

        I’d say you were right.

        So where do the lights go out first? 😉

  7. Nick Perrin says:

    Thanks Leo for the data and Roger for the analysis – please keep up the combo. A lot of interesting information. Top of my list is Fig 5. I consider that I see the increase in weekly consumption as less likely due to population growth (because summer usage has not tracked winter ?) and more due to climate/temperatures during winter. The winter weekly growth is enormous in my view.
    I do not have the the skills to extract the temperature data for France from good /several databases. I would very much like to see if the winter temperatures could be a significant reason: please can the comparison be prepared and posted.


  8. Lars says:

    France has recently placed restrictions on the use of firewood in Paris and all the major cities to reduce harmful emissions (as of January 1st 2015). The regulations are too complex to give in detail (and I don`t understand all that much French either) but essentially older stoves and open fire places will be banned especially in the Paris metropolitan area.

    Firewood for sure must be an important peaking heat source in France and I get the feeling this new law will not help the French grid much, although I suspect that with a repeat of the cold spell in February 2012 most citizens with a firewood stove etc. won`t care 🙂

    • Leo Smith says:

      France is special in many ways. It didn’t have ‘North sea gas’ so there was no impetus to use gas at all. It had hydro and a lot of cheap nuclear built before ‘regulatory ratcheting’ made it impossible to replace.

      Where the UK used gas where possible and oil where not, France simply soaked up surplus electricity for heating.

      Coal exists, but its a pretty filthy and impractical fuel for all but power station usage.

      The plan for France, such as it ever was, was nuclear baseload with hydro for peaking and load following. And a smattering of ‘other stuff’ to fill in the corners…

      It ought to be the standard European model. Countries that have used the hydro/nuclear mix are all the cleanest lowest emitters in Europe. If you think that low CO2 emissions is in any way to be lauded of course.

      The real problems of nuclear are political and psychological: Engineering wise it remains the ideal solution. But the regulatory burden is impossible to bear and so is the knee jerk paranoia from years of negative propaganda.

      France is the powerhouse of NW Europe. When it comes to electricity. And its 90% nuclear power that runs all those holier than thou ‘we are nuclear free’ nations like Italy..

      • The engineering problem with France’s nuclear plants is that they’re not good at load-following. But one of the few smart things the EU has done is to mandate that all new nukes must have load-following capability. Nukes with load-following capability and adequate ramping rates could meet all of a country’s electricity demand if the country didn’t mind putting all its eggs in one basket.

        • Leo Smith says:

          its all a matter of cost. Underusing a nuke may be more expensive than having a bit of spare fossil generation ready to go once a year..

          That was the theory behind Dinorwig: one pumped station saved one extra nuke at one third the cost..

          • its all a matter of cost

            Not any more it isn’t. The push now is to cut CO2 emissions, apparently at any cost. We’ve already spent over $2 trillion on wind and solar with precious little to show for it. $2 trillion worth of underutilized nukes would have given us at least some bang for our buck.

          • Willem Post says:


            At end 2013 about 318,000 MW of wind turbines was installed throughout the world.

            The invested capital was about $636 billion, at about $2,000,000/MW.

            What do we have to show for it after 12 years? Wind energy increased from 0.3% to 2.7%!!!!

            Worldwide RE Investments and RE Generation:

            The below, recently issued report presents an overview of worldwide renewable energy (RE) investments from 2002 to 2013.

            As a result of RE build-out investments of about $1,700 billion from 2002 to 2013 (excluding mostly “socialized” investments for grid adequacy, capacity adequacy, etc., of about $400 billion not mentioned in the report), worldwide RE generation increased from 1.6% to 5.3%, a 3.8% addition, of which:

            – Wind increased from 0.3% to 2.7%
            – Biomass from 0.9% to 1.8%

            – Solar (PV + CSP) from 0.0% to 0.5%

            – Geo from 0.3% to 0.3%

            – Marine from 0% to 0%

            Thus, the total generation (excluding nuclear) of Hydro + RE increased from 16.7 + 1.6 = 18.3% in 2002 to 16.4 + 5.3 = 21.7% in 2013. The 3.8% addition of worldwide RE generation required investments of 1.7 + 0.4 = $2.1 TRILLION from 2002 to 2013. The report data shows, the 12 – year trend of RE investments to reduce fossil energy generation and replace it with renewable energy generation would take many decades.


  9. concernclub says:

    no, I follow the BP line of arguments and convert KWhe into MTOE primary equivalent
    (and thus on equal footing with gas from Russia, Nigeria etc).

    If the uranium or Plutonium would come from France or the UK it is different of course.
    But uranium mining has essentially stopped in Western Europe/EU around the year 2000.

    I am just saying that one should be consistent. Glad that D. Mackay makes the same argument.

    Euan Mearns says:
    January 15, 2015 at 3:12 pm
    So you would allocate primary energy production from U to countries like Niger, Namibia and Malawi. Well I disagree with you and dare say that most of my readers would too. You are entitled to your opinion and you are not alone. David Mackay makes the same argument.

    • Leo Smith says:

      But uranium mining has essentially stopped in Western Europe/EU around the year 2000.

      simply not cost effective. Could easily be restarted though.

      Meanwhile in addition to plutonium there is loads of depleted uranium left over that could be bred to plutonium if for some reason Australia etc. stopped selling Uranium.

      • concernclub says:

        I think people in France, Germany etc would disagree with you about
        “easily” and related to cost effective uranium mining.
        Actually right now nuclear kWh does not appear to be cost effective either in Germany and most likely not in France.
        But, as it is a half state owned company (profits private losses public)
        we will learn only later.

        So, as long a uranium and gas is imported it seems more logic to put
        things in the same basket of energy resources and
        oil equivalent.

        • roberto says:

          “Actually right now nuclear kWh does not appear to be cost effective either in Germany and most likely not in France.”

          This is (asking permission to Euan) utter BS of the finest kind!

          Most likely not where???? France generates 400+ TWh of CO2 (and particulate, and heavy metal)- free electricity at around 5 Eurocents/kWh… see for instance the very detailed report by the Cour des Comptes of January 2013… linked here…

          … and could easily keep on replacing its reactors and continuing at the present level of production with minimal economical resources… that’s also well explicitated in the said document.
          This in contrast to the mithical and ridiculous “Energiewende”, which has inflated the cost of electricity for German households and increased as well the production of coal/lignite… so, please, Dr. Dittmar, use the part of your brain which is deputed to making logical statements, and not the one devoted to ideology, at least on this respected energy blog.

          Cheers, and have a nice day.


          P.S.: just to put things and my comments’ tone in the right context… I am the person who questioned you A LOT during your recent visit to CERN to advertise/discuss the latest book of Ugo Bardi “Extracted”, of which you have written the chapter on uranium:

          • Euan Mearns says:

            Off topic, but I’m interested to know what a low vacuum is at CERN or ITER? The Mass Specs I used to run got down to 10^-9 Torr.

            I’m also very interested in a guest post on the state of fusion – history, milestones and is there a real prospect of commercialisation?

            Its also impossible to change the “minds” of Trolls that tend to be set in stone. But it is worthwhile trying to keep the record straight.

          • roberto says:

            “Off topic, but I’m interested to know what a low vacuum is at CERN or ITER? The Mass Specs I used to run got down to 10^-9 Torr.”

            Depends where at CERN: in the ExtraLow Energy Antiproton Decelerator ELENA an average pressure of better than 4E-12 mbar is mandatory, in the LHC cryogenically-cooled arcs the base pressure without beam is almost unmeasurable (10E-15 mbar), the Penning traps from trapping anti-protons and making anti-matter (after recombination with positrons, aka anti-electrons) needs to be of the order of 10E-16 mbar, and it can be inferred only by counting the number of antiproton annihilations vs time. On the other hand other accelerators need only a pressure of 10E-8 mbar, good enough for non-storage rings, where the beams transit during a short time.

            “I’m also very interested in a guest post on the state of fusion – history, milestones and is there a real prospect of commercialisation?”

            Commercialisation in our lifetime? Zero.
            Status of fusion? It is done daily, problem is to take out at least 10x as much energy as it is put in, the Q=10 to which ITER aims.
            Contrary to popular galore, there is not enough money in this field, and too much bureaucracy in the EU, the only hope is China, or Russia.


          • roberto says:

            … forgot, vacuum at ITER… it’s a “bad” vacuum, in fact it is not even in molecular flow regime (which is when molecules rarely collide with each other)… in the 10-3 mbar. The power density of ITER is expected to be a fraction of a W/cm3… which makes the 500 MW for the 800 m3 plasma volume. Notice that this power density is much higher than the mW/cm3 of the sun’s nucleus… so it is not a small feat to obtain it… not to mention the 150 million K for the DT reaction instead of the 15 million of the pp chain in the sun.

          • concernclub says:

            an I was afraid that you disappeared as you didn’t
            show up afterwards.

            Good that you are still existing and arguing.
            Looking forward to meet you at the next CERN
            meeting and you are invited to present all you
            great knowledge in our club.
            For sure we can learn a lot.

            regards Michael

  10. clivebest says:

    I do not understand this statement concerning the demand curve.

    France consumed significantly more electricity than UK over the period largely because it uses electric rather than gas heating, about which more later. Otherwise the demand curves ran closely parallel, with both show a daily range of +/-20MW and with peak demand occurring at more or less the same time (shortly after 6pm in France and shortly after 5pm in UK).

    In that case I would have expected the daily range of the French demand curve to be the same percentage as the UK NOT the same absolute absolute range ± 20 GW !

    Why are the night/day variations the same in both countries ? Is it jperhaps ust free nuclear power at night ?

    • Thanks Roberto. A lot of information in there.

      One particular graphic caught my eye. Some commenters were wondering how much impact falling temperature had on demand, and it gives the answer – add 2.4GW for each 1C decrease in temperature below 15C:

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