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Western Europe Power Mix In January

February 3, 2019

By Paul Homewood


h/t Joe Public



There is a useful site for collecting data on the European power sector, called Energodock:





It gives a variety of data by country. I have used it to analyse generation data across Western Europe for last month. (I have ignored Eastern Europe at this stage).




Some observations:

1) Fossil fuels still account for 33%, despite the dominance of nuclear in France (73%), and high renewables share in Germany.

2) Solar is to all intents and purposes irrelevant in winter months, even with some output from Spain.

Total solar capacity for Western Europe is 98GW. Output of 3049 GWh in January equates to just 4% of total capacity.

3) Wind at 16% is very similar to the UK level. About half of the total comes from Germany and the UK.



As in the UK, wind output is extremely intermittent in Germany. Notably, output was very low in both countries for several days around 20th January, running at 38% of the average for the month as a whole.

According to BP, wind power capacity in the UK and Germany amounts to 75.7GW. With output down to 1575 GWh between 19th and 25th Jan, utilisation would have been down to 12%.

5) Nuclear generated 65 TWh during the month. France accounts for 40 TWh of this, and Germany a further 7 TWh.

With Germany already committed to close their nuclear capacity in the next few years, and uncertainty around French policy, it is evident that Western Europe as a whole will remain heavily dependent on fossil fuels for the foreseeable future..

  1. Charles wardrop permalink
    February 3, 2019 11:52 am

    When will our, and their, politicos understand the problem?

    • Dave Ward permalink
      February 3, 2019 7:05 pm

      Not until there are some major grid outages…

      • February 4, 2019 12:40 am

        maybe not even then – given the amount of garbage spouted over batteries

  2. John Palmer permalink
    February 3, 2019 11:55 am

    What problem…. they’re saving the planet!!

  3. Joe Public permalink
    February 3, 2019 12:12 pm

    For GB, Gas generated 52.5% of our needs and Coal 7.1%.

    We’ve 20.7GW of wind capacity, and its overall Capacity Factor was just 22% for the month

    Likewise, 13.03GW of solar worked at 2.97% CF for the month, generating just 1.1% of our needs.

    • Ian permalink
      February 3, 2019 12:58 pm

      Is there a similar site for all gas usage, including industrial heating/processing? This would give the total picture for the (impossible) challenge of transfer to renewables.

      • Joe Public permalink
        February 3, 2019 5:22 pm

        Not as far as I’m aware, Ian.

        But then gas’s main benefit is that it is relatively unaffected by the deep fluctuations such as caused by highly intermittents; and, can cheaply be stored in quantity.

        The gas grid holds approx 1-day’s worth of supplies (linepack); the electricity grid holds not a seconds’ worth.

        National Grid’s page has lots of info. – time scale is on a daily basis, no need for second-by-second balancing that the electricity industry needs

        Some data is in mscm (million std cu metres), and at ~11kWh/m^3, 1-mscm ~11GWh

        Forecast demand for today is 340.4 mscm (~3.744TWh) [It’s a Sunday, so less industrial & commercial demand than a weekday]

        Top right corner is Actual Demand info. Click button to go to Actual Demand Graphs page.

        Interestingly, the graph indicates that yesterday 500mscm/5,500GWh (!!) was dumped into storage. [GB’s electricity storage is ….. 33GWh]

        Glossary page:

  4. Saighdear permalink
    February 3, 2019 12:20 pm

    Joe Public, THanks for that link – helps keep my blood boiling can compare directly with Gridwatch etc. Hull man, I need to keep the blood boiling – the vapour keeps me cool in this warming climate – otherwise it would FREEZE in the extreme cold 😉

  5. February 3, 2019 3:11 pm

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.

  6. February 3, 2019 4:09 pm

    Reblogged this on ajmarciniak.

  7. Phoenix44 permalink
    February 3, 2019 4:34 pm

    Think I have said this on here before, but it bears repeating. When Thatcher died, her biographer was asked what her greatest quality was. I was really surprised when he said that she would not stand for wishful thinking in any debate.

    Since those days, we have allowed wishful thinking to become not just common, but to predominate, nowhere more so than in the whole Green/Climate Change lunacy that has taken over so many countries. Just wishing something were true, will not make it so.

  8. The Man at the Back permalink
    February 3, 2019 6:43 pm

    Well my slight disappointment is that I am getting to the age where I am unlikely to see how all this stupidity in science and energy pans out. There are signs that more “science” is creeping in to the debate – but the MSM will take some shifting. Climate science is enabling the worst decisions to be made. History will judge them harshly.

    Every week I come across folks who still think the Earth’s average temp (if such a thing exists) is still rising steadily, that Arctic sea ice is melting rapidly, and that polar bears are facing extinction – but why would they know any different???!!!

    Many boys have been shouting that the Potentate has no garments on for a decade or more, but what will it take for the pack of cards to fall? Too many people have skin in the game now, far too many sinecures in academia and easy subsidy harvesting depend on it, too many reputations (political and scientific) are at risk, too many have been brainwashed to believe in the scam.

    A couple of years back a retiring Scandinavian climate scientist (link lost now) admitted that Sweden had seen no warming really in a century and he worried that we were driving the cost of keeping warm in totally the wrong direction.

  9. martinbrumby permalink
    February 4, 2019 8:26 am

    The chart for GB doesn’t seem to show the amount of electricity imported through the interconnecters.
    Been running mainly at maximum capacity for a few years, no doubt with great benefit to the balance of payments.

    • Joe Public permalink
      February 5, 2019 8:37 pm

      Hi Martin.

      Because that’s ‘generation by fuel’.

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