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Energy infrastructure



  • Registered Users Posts: 9,186 ✭✭✭ Birdnuts

    Thats nonsense - price inflation has been far higher on wind energy grids like here and Germany then the likes of France or the Czech Republic. Preciesely because wind needs so much back up from fossil.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,872 ✭✭✭ BKtje

    Wouldn't this be more in line with how much Gas Germany uses while France has a lot of Nuclear so less price inflation? The Czech republic is also mainly powered by two nuclear power plants with coal as backup. The cost of ongoing Nuclear energy is fairly stable (once built) I would have thought.

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,555 ✭✭✭✭ DaCor

    Important to take into account the fact that the French government has put a cap on the price of energy and are covering the cost of market increases so the price being paid by consumers is not the actual price.

    How long the govt can sustain that is unknown.

    The Czech government are also doing the same thing

  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 21,220 Mod ✭✭✭✭ bk

    Great thing that we can look at factual data. French electricity is currently higher then Germany and much higher then the likes of both UK and Spain:


    UK Electricity 135.94

    Germany Electricity 168.76

    France Electricity 180.00

    Spain Electricity 67.40

    Italy Electricity 175.38

    Keep in mind that Nuclear only supplies base load power. Even in France, Gas is used for peaking power and as a result sets the margin price for all electricity generation, including the Nuclear. As a result it has been impacted by the same high gas prices as every other European country.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 946 ✭✭✭ bob mcbob

    Agreed and the problem even with the UK wholesale prices are they are tied to the marginal cost of gas where the costs of renewables is much much lower.

    There is a proposal to decouple retail bills from this high marginal cost which would save up to £18Billion annually

    The reality of the energy market is that it doesn’t allow customers to fully benefit from the cheapest form of electricity – domestically produced low-carbon generation. Despite gas only generating around 40% of our electricity, it largely sets power prices. Rapidly increasing international gas prices have led to rapid increases in energy bills. The situation is clearly unsustainable. It causes unintended consequences in the market and doesn’t allow consumers to reap the rewards of cheap, clean generation.  

    BEIS is looking to address this through a comprehensive long-term programme (The Review of the Electricity Market Arrangements - REMA) which considers more fundamental changes to the market. The reforms envisaged by BEIS in its ongoing REMA consultation could enable an almost complete decoupling of gas from retail electricity prices. The two big questions that arise from a reform of this scale are how quickly this could be achieved, and what this would mean for investment?

    Also the attached shows the actual CfD (wholesale cost of electricity) for the renewable installations in the UK - some are at one third of the current wholesale costs.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,186 ✭✭✭ Birdnuts

    The Irish government has spent a massive amount of money subsidising folks energy bills on the back of the greed of companies like SSE who claim to be providing "100%" wind energy. Another 200 euros is coming down the line for that according to media reports this week

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,186 ✭✭✭ Birdnuts

    They are spot prices that have little relevance to retail prices as they vary massively interday and also fail to account for wind powers back up costs and added network costs. Hence the escalation in standing charges here too. You seem to have conveintly forgotten that the last 2 budgets here included significant credits to households to cover escalating energy bills here with another 200 euro now in the pipeline. So basically taxpayers money is thrown at this black hole too!!

    The link below shows the real costs with Germany and Denmark leading the back with the latter having some of fastest bill increases last year(so much for all their windpower!!)

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,186 ✭✭✭ Birdnuts

    Germany has spent 500billion euros supporting wind energy since 2012 - and r still demolishing villages to mine coal. I suppose this is your idea of progress...

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  • Registered Users Posts: 18,554 ✭✭✭✭ cnocbui

    Well as of this precise instant, France has 67% of it's energy being nuclear sourced while here in Ireland, 58% of our electricity is being generated by burning gas, vs France's 12% from gas. Since France's nuclear fraction never falls below 60%, that I have seen, I'd say they are in a better position to make such a thing work that we would be.

  • Registered Users Posts: 18,554 ✭✭✭✭ cnocbui

    I just took my wallet out of my right pocket and put in my left. Strangely, I felt no financial pain whatsoever.

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,555 ✭✭✭✭ DaCor

    By that logic we should be working faster to get more gas out of our generation mix

    Although, as long as any gas remains in the mix, we are still going to be hit with the marginal pricing issue whereby the last source producing dictates the price.

  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 21,220 Mod ✭✭✭✭ bk

    Exactly we can be at 80% renewables in just 10 years.

    It would take us at the very least 20 years to build even one Nuclear power planet and even then one reactor would only give us 10% of our power.

    “Well as of this precise instant, France has 67% of it's energy being nuclear sourced while here in Ireland, 58% of our electricity is being generated by burning gas, vs France's 12% from gas.”

    The fact that France uses so little gas, yet currently has some of the most expensive electricity in Europe clearly demonstrates two things.

    1) The impact of marginal pricing and the fact that it is driven by gas at the moment.

    2) Just how expensive Nuclear power is too. Horribly expensive to build Nuclear power plants, horribly expensive to maintain and repair them and horribly expensive to decommission them and handle the waste for decades to come. There really isn’t anything cheap about Nuclear power.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against Nuclear power at all, I truly hope France can sort it’s issues and get their industry back in shape. But the nuclear industry is in really bad shape at the moment, it really isn’t looking good at all.

  • Registered Users Posts: 946 ✭✭✭ bob mcbob

    This is an interesting from the Guardian which shows how the electricity market operates in the UK and how gas fits into this market. It clearly shows why changes are needed to get around the marginal pricing issue - especially when some operators are charging £6000 per MWh to fire up their plants.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,058 ✭✭✭ tom1ie

    Heres a question I’ve being wondering:

    we are hopefully going to get to 80% renewables by 2030 (highly doubtful if you ask me but anyway), which means fossil fuels (gas) will only be required 20% of the time- so over the year that’s approx 72 days- so what happens to the gas generators for the rest of the year regarding payment to the operators of the gas power station? They will have maintenance costs etc but they’ll have no way to pay for that as they can’t generate electricity- only when renewables aren’t generating- which would be 290 odd days of the year right?

    Or have I got that arseways?

  • Registered Users Posts: 18,554 ✭✭✭✭ cnocbui

    In Australia, base load coal fired power stations operators are announcing decade early closures, and it's putting governments in a spot. While they love what initially looks like cheap renewables that are zero CO2, they don't seem to like that there is no zero baseload generation to replace them with, and at least a few seem aware that replacing stable and reliable base load with variable sources might not be a great idea.

    I think I have seen a notion for subsidising these operators to keep their plants open, by the same people who were responsinle for creating the conditions that lead to their operators wanting to decommission them early.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,058 ✭✭✭ tom1ie

    If the gas generators are subsidised for the 80% of time they are not generating are we not just paying for electricity generation twice- just to say we have an 80% renewable electricity generation system?

    If so that’s crazy!

  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 85,612 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Capt'n Midnight

    On April 1st 2022 12:45 French nuclear production dropped to 47%.

    Fossil fuel was 14%. Renewables 40%. However there was also 7GW of imports representing 11% of what was locally produced. This meant French nuclear was only producing 42% of the electricity on the grid at that time and since a lot of the imports would have been German solar it's quite probable that renewables were producing more power than nuclear on the French grid at that time.

    French nuclear had a 52.9% capacity factor last year. Having over 50 reactors is no guaranteed of reliability.

    France, like the UK , US, Sweden and Canada and 20 other countries, hasn't started and completed a nuclear power plant in the last 30 years. We need a solution in 7 years.

  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 85,612 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Capt'n Midnight

    Fast responding plants already get extra payments to be ready to provide more power. It's nothing new. There'll just be more of it.

    Up to 400 workers at Moneypoint could through burn 2 million tonnes of coal a year. Fuel costs more than wages. Even cheap fuel like coal.

    Baseload is on the way out anyway as we'll soon be able to handle up to 95% of power from non-synchronous generators. That just leaves 5% guaranteed demand, and that could be handled by things like hydro, waste to energy and biomass etc.

    In 2024 we will have some gas stations that can go from off to full power in 6 minutes. So they don't need to be on for entire days, just on demand.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 8,058 ✭✭✭ tom1ie

    So your saying we already pay an inflated price to keep gas plants in reserve so that we can generate electricity from renewables?

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,186 ✭✭✭ Birdnuts

    80% target figures are a meaningless concept when one is taking about a variable source of energy dependent on weather conditions, especcially in a climate as variable as ours. Your notion that France has expensive power compared to us is laughable given the EU retail power prices in the link I posted

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,058 ✭✭✭ tom1ie

    Yes I understand that- however we clearly have to pay the gas generators when we they are NOT generating otherwise why would they stay in the market?

    So in effect we are paying twice for every renewable GWH generated- once for the renewable source and once for the gas source to keep it in the market for when we need it 20% of the time (by 2030).

    Unless gas generators are happy to take a reduced rate for when they don’t generate which I wouldn’t understand from their business case?

  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 17,788 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sam Russell

    Well, that is not so.

    If I own a bus I can run a bus service like Dublin Bus where the bus is out all the hours there are passengers. Or I can run a school bus service that does two trips a day - morning and afternoon. The bus in the latter case might work 3 hours per day.

    The capital cost is one charge for the gas plant while it is working or not. The fuel cost only kicks in when it is generating. The business model is based on a certain percentage of operation, and is balanced by a fixed charge for its availability on standby. The prediction of wind production is quite good, so there is plenty of notice for the gas plant to start up.

    Now, my electricity bill has a fixed charge for the connection, and a usage charge. That is the way it is. There is no double charge.

  • Registered Users Posts: 927 ✭✭✭ gjim

    This has nothing to do with renewables - it's called the capacity market and it has always been around. If your plant has the facility to rapidly respond to demand, then you can bid in this market. The bids are to provide spare capacity (i.e. power availability MW) and promise to make it available to the grid on demand. You're effectively being paid to keep capacity idling/in reserve as a fall back for meeting demand. Thus the bids are in (derated) MW and not energy units - like MWh - which confused the hell out of most of the journalists who reported on the last auction.

    Every grid, regardless of its generation mix requires and has always required spare capacity in this form.

  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 85,612 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Capt'n Midnight

    Since 2010 coal fired electricity in the USA has declined 52%.

    Due to the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which includes a 10% tax credit for projects located in nearby communities in coal areas , the Dry Fork facility in Wyoming is now the only coal power plant that's still cheaper than either solar or wind.

    Baseload is on the way out "operating at high output when plentiful clean energy resources operate at zero marginal cost is a waste of fuel"

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,186 ✭✭✭ Birdnuts

    Fracked gas has been the game changer in the US in terms of coal use

  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 85,612 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Capt'n Midnight

    Yes it was.

    And it killed off poorly performing nuclear plants too.

    But emissions have to be reduced so natural gas will be a transitional fuel used for peaking when renewables aren't available until such time as other generators , storage (including energy to fuel) , demand reduction take over it's role.

    Natural gas has half the CO2 as coal for the same heat. But on top of that CCGT plant is nearly twice as efficient with that heat as older coal plant. So there's a lot less CO2 emissions from it than coal, and gas is quicker to ramp up and down so less fuel burnt for standby too. It's a lesser evil, for now.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 8,058 ✭✭✭ tom1ie

    Sorry I’m still confused- how are we not paying twice?

    We pay renewables generator for generating.

    We pay gas generator for generating.

    We pay gas generator for getting ready to generate according to wind forecast. (So we are paying gas plus renewables here)

    Are you saying we won’t pay gas generators to be ready for the 80% of the time we won’t need them in 2030?