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she might have made a strategic décision to keep German nuclear power, rather than relying so heavily on gas from the east?

In Germany gas is mainly used for heating, then for industrial purposes and only 10.5% (2021) for generating power. Why this focus on "keeping nuclear power" then? Merkel killed the German wind and solar industries. That is the strategic decision she must be blamed for, but not for the decision to eventually end nuclear power when there was a large majority demanding this end. Even before Fukushima there was a lot of fury in the environmentalist movement when she tried to prolong the lives of nukes. The movement built up rapidly. There was a lot of creativity spent on actions against nukes. It was lovely to see the growth of resistance against her decision. We expected to have a lot of fun and a lot of success. Ha! Then Fukushima... Only a complete idiot would have prolonged nuclear power generation after that, and she is not an idiot.

All this has nothing whatsoever to do with Russia or with German foreign policy, by the way.

by Katrin on Sun Jun 12th, 2022 at 08:43:18 PM EST
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To clarify (I put that ambiguously): only 10.5 % of electric power is generated by gas plants.
by Katrin on Sun Jun 12th, 2022 at 08:44:53 PM EST
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To add to your points, the importance of gas for electricity is as topload - the regulating source of power. You can easily increase and decrease amount of gas burned. Similar with hydro, where you can easily increase and decrease amount of water flowing, and thus balance the load.

This isn't true for wind or solar, but neither is it for nuclear.

by fjallstrom on Fri Jun 17th, 2022 at 09:15:34 AM EST
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In the case of wind and solar, you over-provision to enable dispatching. There's plenty of curtailment of wind turbines (in the US, at least) due to limitations of grid or lack of sufficient demand. Obviously it doesn't work if the wind's not blowing or the Sun's not shining.

Similarly, nukes get curtailed when the weather is hot and their cooling systems become the limiting factor. And coal plants are notorious for going off line just when you need them.

"Dispatchable power" is a slippery term.

by asdf on Fri Jun 17th, 2022 at 03:50:10 PM EST
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While power generation from solar and wind has grown, Alison Silverstein, an electric system reliability consultant and researcher, said insufficient transmission and infrastructure makes it harder for consumers to receive energy from renewables.

A lack of transmission causes bottlenecks on the grid, affecting available energy produced by low cost wind and solar generation, boosting energy costs. And the impact is greater on renewables than on thermal power generators, she said.

Texas ERCOT getting bailed out by wind and solar.

by asdf on Fri Jun 17th, 2022 at 03:54:00 PM EST
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This is undoubtedly true in the USA. However, it is becoming a matter of the past in the EU, as trans-border links allow dispatching of Scandinavian wind or Iberian sun.

EU states are more integrated in this respect than the United ones of America, or is that just a superficial impression?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Jun 21st, 2022 at 11:49:03 AM EST
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 "Similarly, nukes get curtailed when the weather is hot and their cooling systems become the limiting factor. "

Indeed. The minority of French nukes that was technically still able to operate now mostly has been shut due to the heat wave, but we must talk about how renewables, and only renewables, depend on the weather.

by Katrin on Fri Jun 17th, 2022 at 07:43:08 PM EST
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