Mild Winters & Low Heating Bills Are A Thing Of The Past – “Rare And Exciting” In The Future

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Click on donnerwetter link for full size chart.

At least in Germany,  that is if the current string of harsh winters doesn’t stop. And according to Dr Karsten Brandt’s latest winter forecast for 2011/12 at donnerwetter.de, this coming winter is projected to be yet another harsh one. No let-up in sight.

That would make it Germany’s 4th consecutive harsh winter in a row. Brandt already calls 3 harsh winters in a row “unusual”.

The bulk of the cold will occur in December and January, with both months being interrupted by brief mild spells. November will start off mild, but will then fall sharply into a cold spell, with snow likely. Brandt reminds us that this a probable forecast. Things of course could develop differently.

As Brandt mentions, energy prices in Germany have surged over the years, and so many households are going to be taking another real battering with the heating costs.

Indeed today much of Germany’s inflation is driven by spiralling energy costs, due in large part to Germany’s mandatory energy feed-in laws, which require power companies to buy up renewable energies at fixed, sky-high prices and to sell it to consumers as “green” power. Power companies have no choice but to pass the high prices along to the defenceless consumers. Gas, heating oil and electricity prices are are all coupled. The only consolation consumers get, ironically, is the false belief they are helping to keep the planet from getting warmer.

Some power companies figured out creative ways of exploiting the system. According to one story I’ve heard, one Swiss or Austrian company was buying cheap French nuclear power for 3 cents a kwh, used the power to pump water in to a high-elevation pump-storage reservoir, then ran the water through hydroelectric turbines and sold the energy as green power at exorbitant prices. I have no idea how true that story is, but it would not surprise me. After all, we do know that there is no shortage of climate scams.

 

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17 responses to “Mild Winters & Low Heating Bills Are A Thing Of The Past – “Rare And Exciting” In The Future”

  1. Ike

    “one Swiss or Austrian company was buying cheap French nuclear power for 3 cents a kwh, used the power to pump water in to a high-elevation pump-storage reservoir, then ran the water through hydroelectric turbines and sold the energy as green power at exorbitant prices.”

    I heard that also, but little bit different. I was told its an Austrian company which is buying cheap slowakian nuclear power during nighttime for pumping water back up in its reservoir.

    Ike

  2. Otto Weinzierl

    It was not French nuclear power but free German “windmill” energy, that Austrian pump storages used. But they have been doing this for 40 years or so, so that you can’t call it a scam. This plants produce (expensive) peek energy when needed and recharge when electricity is cheap or free, thanks to wind energy, during the night.

  3. R. de Haan

    Austrian companies did the same with electricity from coal bought in Germany.

    This all goes well until the water freezes over.
    Norway and Sweden closed down several hydro power plants last winter for that reason.

    Now look at the big plan.

    Wind parks pump water into high elevated lakes to generate electricity when needed.

    Now imagine a ig high pressure area leaving the wind farms idle and the hydro turbine intakes frozen.

    Don’t you love the centralized green scheme planning of the EU Commission their obedient servants?

    You better move to the tropics where winters are non existing, life is still cheap
    and people are friendly.

  4. DirkH

    Using pumped hydro to turn coal or nuclear electricity into green electricity; this MUST naturally happen in a market where a lot of customers voluntarily buy only green electricity – it leaves a glut of coal and nuclear energy on the market; and pumped hydro will use any mix they can get, they only care for the price. I don’t even suspect that somebody came up with a plan for this greenwashing, it was probably observed after the fact.

    1. DirkH

      After Fukushima, many customers switched to green electricity providers in Germany, paying a premium. I didn’t. This way, two different market prices must exist, a higher one for the scarcer renewable stuff, a lower one for the conventional stuff. So the spending power of our gullible green followers dampens the electricity price rise for the rest of us.

      Probably that’s why the EEG fee didn’t rise much for next year (will go from 3.5 to 3.6 cent/kWh) even though a 50% increase in installed solar capacity happened this year.

    2. Billy

      Dirk;

      If a coal or nuke plant is used for load following or peaking it has to be continuously over-fired so that it can throttle up quickly without losing pressure. The surplus steam has to be wasted in the cooling tower.

      If the operator can generate and sell the surplus to a customer on an interruptible basis for any price it lowers his costs. Buying up surplus and upgrading it to peaking through storage is good business. It helps the producer and the consumer.

      Wind and solar generation increases the demand for peaking capacity in a system as they are unpredictable. Ontario Hydro sometimes pays US utilities to take wind energy due to a lack of peaking capacity in their system. If you use wind power you have to have the capacity to pick up the load immediately when the wind drops out. Otherwise the whole grid can crash out.

  5. Pascvaks

    The Nuc to Hydro TransferSystem you describe is at least penny wise. I understand the in the UK their considering developing a system to increase their green wind power by blowing electric fans at wind turbines during the evening and nighttime periods, this sounds a might pound foolish to me.(SarcOff;-)

  6. DirkH

    Attac tries to revive itself by clinching on to the “occupy” movement. Was about time. Taxpayer funded media dutifully interviews Attactivist:

    http://www.tagesschau.de/wirtschaft/giegold110.html

  7. R. de Haan

    If the Occupy Movement protests are directed against high fuel, energy and food prices, against
    Globalism, wind and solar energy and the conversion of food crops into bio fuel I join them.

    For now they are a bunch of clueless idiots.

    1. DirkH

      R. de Haan, watch Breitbart; he says he’s got some e-mails from the planning phase of OWS.

      In other news, and h/t R. Gates; he pointed me to a paper by PIK/Rahmstorff 2010 about the warmist understanding of a Grand Minimum. They ran their own model to see what a Grand Minimum does

      http://www.pik-potsdam.de/~stefan/Publications/Journals/feulner_rahmstorf_2010.pdf

      (not much they say) BUT they admit themselves that they don’t account for variations in solar UV output. AND such a fluctuation has been hypothesized at least since 1997 – no reason to build it into a model, eh? Quite the geniusses.

      “Variations of solar activity do not only change the
      total solar irradiance, but also its frequency distribution. The
      amplitude of the associated irradiance variations in the
      ultraviolet, for example, is much larger than in the optical,
      and it has long been suspected that these could have a
      discernible climate influence via, at present, inadequately
      understood feedback mechanism [e.g., Lean, 1997]. This
      kind of feedback is not represented in our climate model and
      could, in principle, lead to an underestimate of the climate
      response associated with solar variability.”

  8. Billy

    The Austrian pumped storage is a useful and practical way of providing peaking capacity to the system. Cheap energy from any source can be stored and delivered with moderate losses. It is not a scam. It is good that you have it.

    The problem is that you really need 1000 times more capacity to really cover extended low output periods. These are being used, as far as I can tell, for daily peaking.

    There is very little opportunity for expansion due to geography, availability of water and high capital cost. Greens would scream if you flooded a valley and pumped a river dry for hydraulic storage. It is almost impossible to build even a conventional hydro dam anymore.

  9. Edward

    Quote:

    […] That would make it Germany’s 4th consecutive harsh winter in a row. Brandt already calls 3 harsh winters in a row ”unusual”. […]

    No! ‘Tis t’other way round, during recent years [pre 07/08]: the run of mild winters was ‘unusual’ and now it’s back to normal.

  10. Asmilwho

    The story about the Austrian pumped storage plans involving a Czech nuclear reactor was published in Spiegel a couple of weeks back:

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/business/0,1518,786048,00.html

    To their credit ( and I’m no fan of the usually on-message Spiegel) they do seem to have grasped the nettle and realised that the fantasy of Atomausstieg just ain’t going to work without severe consequences for Germany

    1. Bernd Felsche

      Pumped storage in alpine regions is only reliable in the warmer months of the year when there is little risk of them freezing over.

      If e.g. Switzerland decides to turn the Obermatt valley into a pumped storage reservoir system with an upper level at say 2400 m down to as low as 700 m (in stages .. you don’t build 1700 metre-high dam walls – the practical limit is about 300m) near Wassnerwald. A dam of similar scale is Grande Dixence Dam. The advantage of altitude is that using the right pipes, one has an enormous pressure-head at the turbines so, even though the total water volume is “small”, one can store a great deal of energy.

      But the reserve would only work well for about 8 months a year. Alas, having nearly zero reserve available in late winter. One would want to drain the upper reservoirs as much as possible before they freeze in winter (allowing them to fill with snow and spring melt), competing against e.g. wind power which would then typically be at peak output for the year.

      Don’t you love it when a “plan” falls to pieces as it meets reality?

  11. DirkH

    UCS and Starbucks warn that coffee is threatened by Global Warming.
    http://www.katu.com/news/business/131921038.html

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