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It’s expensive to change the global climate, just ask the EU

By Jo Nova

If there was a sign of a major problem with energy policy it might look just like this:

In the EU for most of the last ten years gas prices were €20. Last week they spiked to €180.  Prices have come down in the last few days as a flotilla of 15 US tankers crosses the Atlantic to rescue the EU and some Russian troops departed from the border near Ukraine.

EU Gas prices, December 2021. Energy Crisis.

Who needs gas? Everyone apparently…        | Source: Trading Economics

It’s heartwarming to see the US tankers on the way:

US tankers headed for EU

US Tankers headed for EU

No sign the EU governments get the message:

What will it take? The Netherlands announced that they will limit coal stations and pay them not to produce electricity most of the time in the hope of stopping floods and droughts:

Dutch Government will limit coal-fired power stations to just 35% capacity from January 1.

Dutch coal-fired power stations may not operate at more than 35% of their maximum capacity in the coming years. “In the short term, this will lead to a significant reduction in CO2 emissions at coal-fired power stations of approximately 6-7 megatons,” the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate (EZK) reported on Wednesday.

The owners of the coal-fired power stations are financially compensated by the government for the lost income from the reduced electricity production up to and including 2024.

In Germany, the sabotage continues: 11 nuclear reactors have been shut, three are about to. The last three will go next year:

Germany’s Energy Surrender

Wall Street Journal

Rarely has a country worked so hard to make itself vulnerable.

Ten years ago 17 nuclear reactors produced about a quarter of Germany’s electricity, but the 2011 Fukushima accident prompted former Chancellor Angela Merkel to phase out nuclear. Six reactors remain: Three will close this month, with the remaining three ceasing operations next year. It’s hard to think of a more self-defeating policy on economic, climate and geopolitical grounds.

German one-year forward electricity prices have hit €300 per megawatt hour. For comparison, the 2010 to 2020 average was under €50 per megawatt hour.

Coal was Germany’s top energy source in the first half of 2021.

How big is this crisis? Even in France, where nuclear power is running, the energy price spikes are causing major industries to shut down:

With energy costs spiking to fresh records day after day, financial strain is mounting for industries including metals and fertilizers. Aluminium Dunkerque Industries France, Europe’s top smelter of the metal, curbed output in the past two weeks.

Trafigura’s Nyrstar will pause zinc production in France in early January and Romanian fertilizer maker Azomures temporarily halted activity.

“We’re seeing an existential crisis of the European aluminum industry and other metals-smelting industries that are power intensive,” Mark Hansen, head of metals trader Concord Resources, said. “It’s not always so easy to get these businesses back in operation”

— From Javier Blas about a Bloomberg story that seems to have disappeared.

Meanwhile, spare a thought for the people in Kosovo who were suffering through 2 hour rolling blackouts in the lead up to Christmas. Lest we forget who is responsible:

Javier Blas: Dec 24 As Kosovo homes go dark with rolling blackouts from today, just before Christmas, let’s remember that in 2018 the World Bank pulled the plug on a project to build a new coal-fired power plant in the country. The same coal Germany and the US burns today.

It takes a really Big Government to do Really Stupid Things.