RTE report: the illusion of 100% renewable energy

By Michel Gay.

The electricity network operator (RTE) published on January 27, 2021 a joint study with the International Energy Agency (IEA) on “Conditions and prerequisites in terms of technical feasibility for an electricity system with a high proportion of renewable energies by 2050 “. Every word has its importance.

This report was commissioned in October 2019 by the Ministry of Ecological Transition which, when it was handed over, stopped on the title. And he concluded a little quickly, by ideology, that an electricity system with 100% renewable energies was viable… whereas RTE announces the opposite for those who take the trouble to read the 180 pages of the document!

The report from RTE and the AIE even warns of the dangerous adventure of a strong development of renewable energies ” variables Or even intermittent, which require extravagant conditions. All this without mentioning the cost which is not addressed in this study.

To explore is not to endorse

It is normal to explore all avenues before adopting a decision committing the country for decades.

However, France’s energy future must not be mortgaged by crazy politicians dancing the Carmagnole on the brink of social abyss by methodically organizing the sinking of the French electricity system.

The Director of the AIE (Fatih Birol) even indicated in nuanced language that closing nuclear power plants ” would be a mistake ».

For Bill Gates, too, nuclear power is necessary in the future. It declares on his blog :

Nuclear is ideal for tackling climate change, as it is the only scalable, carbon-free source of energy available 24 hours a day.

According to him, this means ” ideal »Will provide the electricity that allows electric cars to run without fossil fuels and power the heat pumps that will replace oil and gas boilers.

He declares otherwise :

The capacity to store energy is so limited that wind and solar alone cannot provide a solution. We need a storage miracle or an energy source like nuclear that we can call on at any time.

France is committed to achieving the objective of carbon neutrality by 2050 in order to meet its commitments in terms of climate change mitigation under the Paris Agreement.

To achieve this, the French government recently published a new energy-climate law and adopted a National Low-Carbon Strategy (SNBC) which aims to achieve carbon neutrality.

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This SNBC is largely based on energy efficiency and increased use of electricity which, in France, is already 93% carbon-free, largely thanks to its nuclear production facilities.

However, according to RTE, with its lifespan currently estimated at 60 years, most reactors will have been decommissioned by 2050.

To keep the emissions generated by the electricity sector to a minimum, two options are therefore being considered in France:

  1. Replace end-of-life reactors with new nuclear reactors.
  2. Completely replace these reactors with renewable energies (RE).

Be careful with And !

The study by RTE and the AIE concludes on paper that it would be technically possible to insert a high proportion of RE in the electricity system with guaranteed security of supply, but only if four sets of strict conditions and cumulative were met at the same time:

1) whether the assessment of the impacts on the safety of the electrical system of systems comprising a significant proportion of distributed photovoltaic is continued.

2) if the sources of flexibility are developed significantly, in particular demand management, large-scale storage, peak power plants (gas?), as well as cross-border interconnections.

The study underlines that the maturity and availability, today uncertain, as well as … the exorbitant cost (” which can be substantial According to RTE’s muted language) of these flexibilities are not dealt with because they exceed “The framework of this report “. It also specifies that “Meeting these requirements has profound technical and social implications ».

3) if the sizing of operational reserves, the regulatory framework defining balancing responsibilities, and the constitution of operational reserves are significantly revised.

4) if substantial efforts are devoted to the development of electricity networks from 2030, both in terms of transport and distribution.

RTE will publish in 2021 a full assessment of the various electrical scenarios that will make it possible to achieve carbon neutrality.

The RTE report: forecast or science fiction?

To make a robust 30-year forecast, it is essential to rely on the techniques that work today, even if it means bending the forecasts when new technologies appear.

When forecasts are based on outlandish assumptions such as mass storage means at an acceptable cost (non-existent today) or massive demand management (power cuts, etc.), it is no longer a forecast but of science fiction.

This report is of course the delight of gas sellers (and Russians!) Who know that this government ambition will fail and that not having anticipated the renewal of its nuclear power stations, France will then urgently need gas-fired power stations. !

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It seems that the boeotians of the French ministries, and in particular Mrs. Barbara Pompili, ignore the following seven points :

  1. Nuclear power does not emit any greenhouse gases or harmful smoke.
  2. Nuclear power has proven every day in France for forty years that it is safe and inexpensive.
  3. It is controllable (accelerates and slows down as needed).
  4. One gram of fissured uranium per year and per French person is sufficient to produce 75% of electricity in France.
  5. All waste is managed and not dispersed in the environment.
  6. Uranium can be recycled within a breeder, which would allow 1000 years of global reserve to produce heat and electricity. France, which was the most advanced in this field with Phénix and Super Phénix, already has 8,000 years of reserve for this type of reactor.
  7. In the history of mankind, no energy has made fewer deaths nuclear energy, whether by accidents or air pollution.

The “fault” of nuclear is that it does not bring anything to the large foreign companies which have an interest in breaking down nuclear power plants and replacing them with anything else, and especially gas.

Thus, in Germany, environmental associations have made a Faustian pact with the powerful coal and gas cartels. This colossal industry is doing well in this country and no one seems to be offended.

In France, under political pressure from the environmental party, a delusional development program for wind turbines and photovoltaics is underway. The Court of Auditors wrote in 2018 that its cost was staggering and its result derisory in terms of electricity production. She could have added that this program was null from the point of view of global warming since French electricity is already 93% carbon-free.

The successive governments of France should put an end to their ruinous claims on renewable energies that abusive and chimerical myths oppose to common sense and to reality, and which will lead to to disaster.

Have our rulers gone mad and blind to the great misfortune of the country?

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