A clear blue sky, sub zero temperatures and zero wind - not a good combination for a nation relant on power from wind turbines (Picture: Daily Mail)
As the sanction on imports of oil and gas from Russia, imposed in March 2022 with the aim of 'bringing the Russian economy to its knees' in retribution for the invasion of Ukraine, have in fact achieved the opposite of what was intended with the Russian economy sustained by sales of its hydrocarbons to China, India, South East Asia, Africa and South America, while Europe struggles with rocketing energy prices and fuel shortages, the combined effect of those ill - considered sanctions and the loonytoons 'net zero' energy policies are about to bite even harder.
So far the autumn of 2022 has been unusually mild which has had the eco-warriors and CO2phobes geting very worked up and gluing their arses to motorways and airport runways in support of their demand that we stop using oil immediately. However winter temperatures across Europe predictably dropped sharply in late November and through most of December to date have been positively arctic.
Scientists have offered the utterly amazing opinion that in view of this cold weather spell the ongoing European gas crisis is now “likely” to worsen significantly as a winter progresses and more usual seasonal weather spreads across the northern half of the continent, bringing with it an increased need for domestic heating.
Polictians and the media are placing all the blame for shortages and soaring rices on Russia, but a large part of the blame lies with our spineless politicians who for the sake of 'green' virtue signalling made Europe almost entirely reliant on extremely reliant on Russian gas and oil exports while they pursued the idiotic policies like 'net zero' and a complete transition to sustainable sources of energy for electricity generation. While leaders have been appeasing the noisy but unrepresentative green lobby, Europe has been struggling with serious energy shortfalls issues since the start of the Ukraine war earlier this year. It seems neither the politicians, the ecoloons, not the climate scientists can get their extremely thick skulls around the fact that wind turbines do not generate a single watt of power when the wind blows as less than 16Kmph or above 45 Kmph. And solar panels are useless on average 12 hours per day throughout the year.
has put together a nice graphic showing the problem with relying on wind power. While supporters of wind power like to claim that wind turbines now generate over 50% of our electricity, by cherry picking the days with the best wind conditions and highlighting them, this graph shows that while UK energy demand is a steady 40 Gw, in the first full week of December 2022, when the days were almost windless and temperatures stayed below freezing night and day, wind turbines generated a mere 2% of that 40 Gw.
Graphs show power as percentage of total demand
Wind power output for November 2022. Apart from the fact that winds contribution to our electricity supply is a lot lower than the green loons in parliament and media would have us believe, the two things to note are the alarming troughs in output during periods of low wind and the way output drops just as the weather turns significantly colder towards the end of the month.
The unseasonably warm weather in Autumn 2022 up until recently has so far helped reduce the need to burn ever-costlier gas to heat homes, temperatures across northern Europe have now dropped significantly as a result of an arctic air blast.
According to a report in The Guardian, the UK has seen temperatures plunger to below zero, with freezing fog, ice and snow causing problems throughout the country, while similar warnings have also been issued in neighbouring Ireland. This not unusual December weather pattern is likely to drive energy usage up significantly across the north of the continent over the coming days. We can only hope the government and energy companies have a few North Sea gas platforms ready to bring back into production, to hell with Extinction Rebellion, Greta Thunberg & Co.
As of Friday 9 December, EU gas storage was about 85% full, and being drawn down at 0.5% a day. That will almost certainly increase during the week on a combination of more use for heating and more use for power generation as the wind stays still in a period of cold Dunkelflaute affecting most of the Continent. The European Union still hopes to reach its goal of having at least 90% of its gas storage capacity filled by the end of the year. However, even at those storage levels, that’s only around 22.5% of its annual consumption.
With gas supplies so uncertain the immediate problem becomes electricity supply. The UK, which gets around 50% of its electricity fron gas powered turbines is forecasting a shortfall of over 1.5GW for the coming week at the moment. Reducing that will depend on being able to secure imports from the Continent. It starts to become an interesting question as to how much will be available. Meanwhile in Sweden, the unexpected shutdown of a big nuclear plant is leading to threats of shortage that may be difficult to cover by imports. In slightly better news, some French nuclear plants have returned to operation following maintenance. But they are still a long way down on normal.The arrival of winter is also extremely bad news for Germany, where gas rationing has been in force in some areas for several months. The government has already been warned that it could completely run out of gas by the end of next February should extremely cold temperatures interfere with its aim to cut gas consumption by one-fifth compared to last year
It is acknowledged that the country is unlikely to get through this winter without more rationing measures and rolling blackouts, and German business groups say the impact of the energy crisis is likely to last years, and could possibly result in the destruction of German manufacturing.
While some of Europe’s wealthier people may be able to jet off to the ski slopes to enjoy the cold weather, the sudden shift towards below-freezing temperatures will likely result in serious hardship for many less well off people. With huge numbers across the continent already struggling under increased heating, electricity and food costs, the decrease in temperature is likely to require them to either turn up their thermostats at the expense of their wallets or risk freezing in order to stay fed. Over half of households in the United Kingdom reported to have already cut back on the number of meals they eat per day.