The Green Energies Of Instability…Swiss Power Grid Requires 200 Fold More Intervention Than 8 Years Ago!

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Switzerland’s power grid operator, Swissgrid, seems to have its hands full nowadays.

Just less than 10 years ago, Switzerland’s power grid was among the most stable worldwide, operating with the same efficiency as its famous Swiss-made watches.

Today however, thanks to green energies like wind and sun, this is no longer the case, so reports the country’s Baseler Allgemeine Zeitung (BAZ).

According to the BAZ, “In 2011 Swissgrid, the operator of the Swiss electricity grid, only intervened twice in the electricity grid to prevent major problems.”

But last year, in order to keep the power supply stable, “these interventions reached a new record number with 382 interventions.”

In other words, on average more than once a day. Hence the article by the BAZ is titled: “The power grid is fluctuating like never before.”

The number of interventions needed to keep the Swiss power grid stable jumped from just 2 in 2011 to 382 last year, a new record. Chart source: Swissgrid, via BAZ.

Stabilizing the Swiss grid can mean throttling one or more of its dozen power plants, says the BAZ. Power fluctuations in the grid not only heighten the risk of overload and blackouts, but also threaten sensitive production equipment which rely on a steady supply of power for critical process control.

The BAZ adds that the problem is not only getting worse in Switzerland, but also in all the grids in neighboring countries, such Germany, France, Austria and Italy.

What’s the reason for all the instability? The BAZ reports:

With more and more electricity from the sun and wind, whose production depends on the weather changing at short notice, it is becoming increasingly difficult to ensure an even supply. The production of these renewable electricity producers is much higher than consumption in wind and sunshine, but too low at night and when there is no wind.”

The BAZ also notes that Switzerland is sorely lacking in energy storage systems to balance out the peaks that are seen in sun and wind power production.

“Customers bearing the costs”

The Swiss daily also writes that the country’s power grid at times is so unstable that on July 2 (2018) alone, Swissgrid “had to throttle power plants eight times or have them started up so that grid operation was not endangered.”

In Switzerland, whenever a power plant is asked to throttle its power production in order to keep the green-energy-flooded grid stable, it is entitled to financial compensation. No problem here: The power consumers pick up the tab, reports the BAZ.

When asked why the grid has become increasingly unstable with each passing year, Swissgrid replied that it was “due to sun and wind energy”, the BAZ reports.

Europe dodged a bullet two weeks ago

Not only the Swiss power grid has been rickety and unstable, but so has the entire European grid, writes the BAZ. An example of this occurred recently, Swissgrid here reported in a press release:

A drop in frequency on the synchronously interconnected Continental Europe system was registered on 10 January 2019 at around 21.00.

The causes of this drop are still under investigation by the transmission system operators (TSOs) of ENTSO-E Regional Group Continental Europe.

A mismeasurement on lines between Germany and Austria was identified and corrected by TenneT Germany. However, this mismeasurement cannot explain the entire frequency drop on 10 January. The investigation, which is still on-going, is reviewing the significant variation in European production around 21.00 which coincided with changes in trade between different countries.

The frequency drop was sufficient to alert the TSOs but did not at any moment endanger security of supply.

TSOs of ENTSO-E Continental Europe Regional Group are taking collective actions to restore frequency as foreseen in such cases and continue their technical analysis of the incident.”

Next time Europeans may not be so lucky.

Unfortunately it may just take a widespread blackout to get European leaders back to their senses. But even then, don’t count on it. Some policymakers are in fact insisting that the grid instability problems can be solved by “adding more wind and solar power.”

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24 responses to “The Green Energies Of Instability…Swiss Power Grid Requires 200 Fold More Intervention Than 8 Years Ago!”

  1. Robin Pittwood

    Hi Pierre, a couple of years ago I did a few of posts on the maths and science behind power system stability. Some of your more ‘engineering’ inclined readers might be interested. The series starts here:
    Happy new year,

  2. Flying Fox
  3. RickWill

    Victoria, Australia had rolling blackouts across the State on Friday. The reason was lack of available reserve at the time of a coal fired boiler suffering leaks and being throttled back.

    At the critical time, the rest of the 40 to 50 year old coal fired steam plant kept going to achieve above 80% of installed capacity. By comparison the installed wind capacity managed 20% of capacity and solar 70% of capacity.

    The State energy minister views this as wind and solar saving the state from more blackouts and says the plan to install more wind generators will avoid the problem in the future:

    Just to counter the point about Climate Change being a factor, the first time Melbourne recorded a temperature in excess of 42C was in 1857:

    The reliability standard for the State power supply is now third world where typical summer temperatures result in rolling blackouts.

  4. Kurt in Switzerland

    Hey Pierre –

    Thank you for continuing to remind us (Seb & friends included) of the problems associated with increased dependence on so-called “renewables”. These should be called “intermittents” instead.

    By the way, BaZ stands for Basler Zeitung, Full stop. Not Baseler, not Allgemeine.

  5. Yonason
    1. Bitter&twisted

      That means Seb, then.

      1. Yonason

        Naturally. //;o)

      2. Yonason
      3. Yonason

        I just came across this

        The first 7 pages are of quotes by globalists who couldn’t care less about the climate, but just want money and power, and to control ever aspect of the life of every citizen of earth.

        And judging by the consequences of their actions to date, that would be a very very bad thing if it happened.

        1. tom0mason


          Very good find that 7 pages of quote from the anti-humans.

          1. Yonason


            My takehome from that is: There are still gems out there, just waiting to be found.

          2. tom0mason

            Well Yonason,

            Obviously your linked document is too close to the mark as for the anti-science guy. He has dismissed it out of hand just as he does to the science papers and their authors here.
            So by that measure it appears you and your link are in the same ‘dismiss’ bucket as some very esteemed scientists by the anti-science guy. 🙂
            You should feel honored. 😉

    2. SebastianH

      OMG, when you guys discuss amongst yourselves you are even worse than when you have someone to bark at. How do you guys even find those ridiculous links and stories? If those things have a way to reach you, maybe consider you are living in a bubble that prevents you from getting the real news. No wonder you feel like you are constantly being lied to … you are.

  6. Yonason

    “Swiss Power Grid Requires 200 Fold More Intervention Than 8 Years Ago!”

    Looks like we found some more of those “green jobs” they want us to be so excited about.

  7. Yonason

    Useless, wasteful, harmful junk.

    Please note that the Boston Globe is NOT a Conservative paper.

  8. Dan Pangburn

    The irony is that renewable energy will have no effect on climate. It is a mistaken perception that CO2 from burning fossil fuels is causing global warming. Increasing water vapor, a result of increased irrigation, contributed to the warming and the increase in water vapor has essentially ended.

    All reporting agencies continue to agree there has been little or no sustained increase in average global temperature since about 2002-2005.
    CO2 has increased since 2002 by 40% of the increase 1800 to 2002

    Apparently CO2 has little if any effect on average global temperature (or any other aspect of climate)

    1. Yonason

      Right, Dan. And, even IF the rise in CO2 is human caused, it would still not be a problem at all.

      With each passing year, experimental observations further undermine the claim of a large positive feedback from water. In fact, observations suggest that the feedback is close to zero and may even be negative. – Will Happer (PhD physicist, Princeton U.)

      So, why all the fuss? As he says…

      No chemical compound in the atmosphere has a worse reputation than CO2, thanks to the single-minded demonization of this natural and essential atmospheric gas by advocates of government control and energy production. The incredible list of supposed horrors that increasing carbon dioxide will bring the world is pure belief disguised as science

      cAGW is a nothingburger!

      More here.

      1. spike55

        Thank goodness Happer is one of Trump’s chief science advisors 🙂

        1. Yonason


  9. Australia on the German green energy road – triple failure | Catallaxy Files

    […] have precise numbers for the many hundreds of interventions by the German grid management but these figures for Switzerland indicate the way things go when unreliable energy is corrupting the system. Annual interventions […]

  10. Yonason

    Australia was sold a pig in a poke with that “renewable” energy scam.

    Troll approved greenie wealth-dstroying ruinable energy – a globalist’s dream come true.

  11. Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #346 | Watts Up With That?
  12. Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #346 - Sciencetells

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