Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Power EU The Almighty Buck United Kingdom

Record Wind Power Levels Trigger Energy Price Fall Across Europe 226

Posted by Soulskill
from the any-way-the-wind-blows-actually-really-matters dept.
New submitter Forty Two Tenfold writes "Electricity prices across Europe dropped last month as mild temperatures, strong winds and stormy weather produced wind power records in Germany, France and the UK, according to data released by Platts. The price decline was more marked in Germany, where the average day-ahead baseload price in December fell 10% month over month to €35.71/MWh. On a daily basis, December was a month of extremes for Germany, with day-ahead base prices closing on December 10 and 11 at less than €60/MWh – the highest over-the-counter levels seen all year – only to fall to its lowest level December 24 to €0.50/MWh."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Record Wind Power Levels Trigger Energy Price Fall Across Europe

Comments Filter:
  • It's not like energy companies ever pass on cheaper wholesale prices to their customers.
  • by nava68 (2356090) on Saturday January 11, 2014 @07:11PM (#45928709)
    Please note that those prices are day to day EPEX spot prices and have as much in common with the rate you get charged as a consumer/business. Even less than brent spot prices influence fuel prices at your gas station, since most electricity consumers have a yearly price agreement. The huge variation is due to the over-capacities of German networks during high wind/ sun times. This overload has to be sold to other meta consumers if necessary at a negative price. This is one of the reasons why a lot of companies here in central europe are investing in transportation (high voltage DC networks) and means to store the overproduction (water/salt/batteries).
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Given the track record of UK power companies they will probably try and fiddle it so works out as a price increase to consumers. If there was any justice those running these companies should be looking at serious time behind bars for what they have been up to, Hollywood accounting and manipulating the wholesale prices to justify increasing household bills. As it is they will be allowed to retire to their huge piles in the home counties with probably a knighthood or some such to keep them cosy.

  • by rueger (210566) on Saturday January 11, 2014 @07:22PM (#45928771) Homepage
    Just to save time, let's all agree that wind power could never, ever, ever work in North America. Or solar. Obviously the blah blah blah mumble mumble obfuscate is so different here that it would be impossible.

    Also, North American wind is like TOTALLY different from European wind.
    • by dbIII (701233) on Saturday January 11, 2014 @07:51PM (#45928889)

      Also, North American wind is like TOTALLY different from European wind.

      In the southern states where they eat more fibre it's not so different.

      • by rueger (210566)
        Damn you dbill, using that so-called "science" stuff to win an argument!
      • Also, North American wind is like TOTALLY different from European wind.

        In the southern states where they eat more fibre it's not so different.

        Agreed. Texas is the state that produces most of such power. [wikipedia.org]
        The oil companies research into corn and bean based fuels failed to constipate our progress. They were full of hot air.
        Tex-Mex energy sensibilities have the obvious influence when considering breaking wind power in the face of opposition.

    • European wind uses the metric system. COMPLETELY incompatible.

    • by Solandri (704621)
      To borrow a saying from global warming proponents, transient localized phenomena are just weather and not indicative of any long-term trend.

      Over the long-term, certain areas of North America are conducive to wind or solar. Certain areas of Europe are conducive to wind or (to a lesser extent) solar. You should never pick a solution because it's popular or trendy or because it works (worked) somewhere else (especially if only for a brief while). You should pick it because it makes the most sense for you
  • by mspohr (589790) on Saturday January 11, 2014 @07:27PM (#45928795)

    According to this article:
    http://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2014/1/10/energy-markets/negative-spin-europes-amazing-electricity-prices [businessspectator.com.au]
    "Over the Christmas holiday, which typically causes a drop in energy demand, wholesale electricity prices in Germany, the Nordic region, the Czech Republic and Slovakia turned negative on excessive renewable energy production and mild weather."
    On December 24, 2013, when industrial and business power demand dropped sharply, the price of German power for intra-day delivery fell to an average of -€35.45 per megawatt-hour between 0000 and 0600 in the morning, touching lows of -€62.03/MWh halfway through that period.

    • by markdavis (642305)

      What does that really mean? They will PAY the customers to use electricity?? I don't understand.

    • by mirix (1649853)

      So when industry shut off for christmas, prices went through the floor.

      I suppose same would happen with a fossil plant they couldn't spool down either.

      • by CastrTroy (595695)
        What's even more apparent is that residential users use a very small portion of the load, but they are always telling us to use less. We get cheaper rates in the night, on weekends and on holidays, but other than ruining the dishwasher later there's not much we can do to use less. The bigger home users like heating and cooling can't be put off until later. Sure you can turn the thermostat up a few degrees in the summer, but you can't do all your cooling at night. Meanwhile industry is the one putting the re
  • by wjcofkc (964165) on Saturday January 11, 2014 @07:30PM (#45928809)
    Now we just need a practical, ecologically friendly way of storing, long term, the excess energy that has nowhere to go. It's great that this much wind energy can be generated under unusual conditions, it would be better if we would store the large quantities that no doubt went to waste for want of adequate storage technology.
    • by dbIII (701233)
      Google something along the lines of offshore wind turbines with compressed air storage. Doing it offshore means the storage is balloons at depth (build deeper for higher pressures) instead of expensive pressure vessels or messing about in abandoned salt mines. Of course the losses with compressed air are large but it does work.
      There are others on the solar thermal side - molten salts or high pressure steam that lasts all night.

      However most of the requests for this sort of thing come from a simplistic non
    • by Layzej (1976930)

      Some options being used are to pump water into a reservoir where it can later be used to generate hydroelectric, or store the energy as kinetic by spinning a 4000 KG cylinder up to 11,500 rpm (a flywheel). GE is now shipping their wind turbines with batteries so that they can store energy if the price goes low. If the state has a working energy market you could make a living by buying when the price is low (storing the energy) and selling back when the price is high.

    • When the energy was traded it very likely did not go to waste but got stored in pumped storages or an aluminium/steel plant ran an extra shift.

  • I don't see anything in the article about "Record Wind Levels", just that December was more windy than November. And a significant driver for the lower prices was lower demand due to warmer temperatures. But it's okay to cherry pick data in this context.
  • The price fell because of a surplus that probably wasn’t being fully consumed. I wonder what kind of energy storage solutions they have. Batteries have substantial energy loss between charge and discharge, and supercapacitors aren’t cheap or super enough.

    • by haruchai (17472)

      Better storage solutions are on the way but will take a decade at least to be viable on the commercial scale.
      Using EVs for V2G might arrive sooner but you'll need a lot of them. But even so-so batteries are more efficient than the best coal plants.

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      If they were smart they would have a large resivoir built to hold several million gallons. use the excess energy to pump water up to fill the resivoir. Then you can simply store that water for a very long time until a surge demand is needed, then run the water back through turbines to generate power when it is needed.

      At least that is how we do it here in the USA.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ludington_Pumped_Storage_Power_Plant [wikipedia.org]

  • by 38º (3495205) on Saturday January 11, 2014 @08:42PM (#45929173)
    I'm from Portugal, this type of "green-article" never tells the whole story .
    We have a serious problem with subsidized renewable energy , as has Spain , or Germany ( but these are rich and in Portugal we live in a severe crisis).

    When there is too much wind and hydro generation, prices in the energy market fall, BUT producers of renewable energy ( exluindo large hydro ) receive the same guaranteed rate ( feed-in tariff). As these producers have priority in the system all energy produced by them have to be bought, even if there is much cheaper energy in the market (gas, nuclear, oil, etc), even if it's free as has happened several times in the past (in Germany last year energy price at one day was negative) we have to buy the subsidized energy !

    So actually what happens when there is too much wind and rain ,this is terribly expensive for us, because the more subsidized energy is produced , naturally we paid more and more. Portugal already has one of the most expensive energy prices in Europe, but as the price of energy sold to public is regulated, dont reflect the real and crazy cost, consumers have accumulated a huge tariff debt to the system . In Portugal this tariff debt already exceeds 4000 million € in Spain now exceeds € 25000 million €.

    To get an idea of prices paid to subsidized energy, here I leave these two pictures:
    Annual change in average cost per type of energy: http://i.imgur.com/MFaPFRZ.png [imgur.com]
    Annual changes in the average cost of energy subsidized vs. average market cost: http://i.imgur.com/OFn71pI.png [imgur.com]
    • by 38º (3495205)
      I forgot to mention that as fossil energy plants (natural gas turbine plants, etc) have long stops, the government has to pay them big compensations for not producing, as anyway they are necessary to the system.
    • by evilviper (135110)

      So actually what happens when there is too much wind and rain ,this is terribly expensive for us, because the more subsidized energy is produced , naturally we paid more and more.

      Yes, that's how a subsidy works... Your government believes the long-term benefits of renewables are worth a (hopefully modest) short-term electrical price increase to incentivize the investment in building and installing them. If that has changed, the government should review the rule, and perhaps modify or change it.

      Once the t

  • Wholesale prices (Score:4, Informative)

    by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Saturday January 11, 2014 @09:03PM (#45929251)

    These are wholesale prices. Once you add in VAT and the EU's subsidy taxes the actual retail prices are quite a bit higher.

    The prices also vary quite a bit from country to country, and within countries.

    http://energy.globaldata.com/media-center/press-releases/power-and-resources/europe-paying-more-for-electricity-than-us-states-globaldata-consultant-with-dramatic-differences-seen-between-countries [globaldata.com]

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/williampentland/2013/10/27/berlins-ballooning-electricity-rates-become-highest-in-europe/ [forbes.com]

    • These are wholesale prices. Once you add in VAT and the EU's subsidy taxes the actual retail prices are quite a bit higher.

      The prices also vary quite a bit from country to country, and within countries.

      http://energy.globaldata.com/media-center/press-releases/power-and-resources/europe-paying-more-for-electricity-than-us-states-globaldata-consultant-with-dramatic-differences-seen-between-countries [globaldata.com]

      http://www.forbes.com/sites/williampentland/2013/10/27/berlins-ballooning-electricity-rates-become-highest-in-europe/ [forbes.com]

      It's not just about prices ... from that Forbes article:

      An overwhelming majority – some 84% – of the more than 1,000 Germans interviewed for a recent survey expressed support for Germany’s plan to shift the lion’s share of the nation’s electricity supply to renewable energy over the next decade.

      What gives? How has such a radical energy policy remained so popular in the face of rising costs?

      Take John Farrell’s recent treatment of the subject in Renewable Energy World:

      Support for Germany’s renewable energy quest isn’t about cost of energy, but about the opportunity to own a slice of the energy system . . . Nearly half of the country’s 63,000 megawatts of wind and solar power is owned locally, and these energy owners care as much about the persistence of renewable energy they own as they do about the energy bill they pay. Not only do these German energy owners reduce their own net cost of energy, every dollar diverted from a distant multinational utility company multiplies throughout their local economy . . . Three-quarters of Germans want to maintain a focus on ‘citizen-managed, decentralized renewable energy.’

  • Germany (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Tom (822) on Saturday January 11, 2014 @09:35PM (#45929437) Homepage Journal

    On a daily basis, December was a month of extremes for Germany, with day-ahead base prices closing on December 10 and 11 at less than â60/MWh â" the highest over-the-counter levels seen all year â" only to fall to its lowest level December 24 to â0.50/MWh.

    What you really must know there is that these low costs are not passed on to the customer. On the contrary, energy prices for private users have been constantly rising for years.

    Why? Because our corrupt bullshit non-government has passed laws that exempt the - wait for it - biggest industrial users of energy from taxes. Which, of course, means that the rest of us have to pay their share.

    • by Tom (822)

      Oh, yeah, I forgot the most important thing: Our wholly-owned politicians and the stupid media which for some reason believes people whose job it is to lie, swindle and bullshit, are making the renewable energies - whose unexpected success is causing these wholesale price drops - responsible for the rising consumer prices.

  • Maybe allowing speculators to connect to the grid and buy, store, and sell electricity would smooth it out.
  • Here in the USA they would start talking about how the poor poor billionaires that own these power companies need government bailouts because of falling electricity prices.

    Oh woe is the Robber Baron, for his massive fortunes are not growing fast enough. We the people must help this poor destitute billionaire..

Do not underestimate the value of print statements for debugging.

Working...