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« SciTech committee looks at public attitudes | Main | Greens and the rule of law »

Gloom and doom

Der Spiegel reports that this year looks set to be the gloomiest in Germany for decades and may even turn out to be the darkest on record (H/T Oliver Morton):

The days may be getting longer, but there's still not a hint of springtime sunshine in Germany. Weather data shows that this winter has been the gloomiest in 43 years. If the sun doesn't start shining soon, it will be the darkest winter on record.

This is a pity since Germany is, according to Wiki, "the world's top photovoltaics (PV) installer, with a solar PV capacity as of December 2012 of more than 32.3 gigawatts".

Don't expect this to change politicians' minds about anything though.

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Reader Comments (24)

The Met Office expects the UK to also be wintry for another month or so,

As a friend of mine said after listening to an Alarmist's long and complex explanation of how man-made CO2 causes cold, heat, wet and dry: "In my tongue, we call it 'weather'."

Feb 28, 2013 at 2:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

Schadenfreude - or should that be shadyfroide !

Feb 28, 2013 at 2:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterG.Watkins

Why don't they simply reverse the power connections so their new coal fired power stations make the diodes in the PV cells produce light?

Feb 28, 2013 at 2:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlecM

" with a solar PV capacity as of December 2012 of more than 32.3 gigawatts"
I think that should be potential or potential maximum capacity
Like wind, solar in these climes (Germany or UK) will rarely reach any sensible level for any length of time

Feb 28, 2013 at 2:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterConfusedPhoton

Someone on Wattsupwiththat helpfully points out that Germany is at the same latitude as parts of Alaska...

(P.S Hands up who else loves 'Ice Road Truckers'...!)

Feb 28, 2013 at 2:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid

Maybe the consensus of warming lunacy is cracking in Germany but it ain't about Berlin is it?

Anyhow, the crafty Germans are seriously contemplating fracking and planning new coal fired generation after they idiotically shut their nuclear facilities. Recent outages caused by intermittent 'renewable' electricity surges will also focus the Teutonic mindset, although the communists [greens] still hold sway in the Fatherland.

What you gain on the swings....................

Feb 28, 2013 at 2:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

Maybe they, too, need a shadow government.

Feb 28, 2013 at 3:01 PM | Registered Commenterjferguson

(P.S Hands up who else loves 'Ice Road Truckers'...!)

Me, me, I do!

Feb 28, 2013 at 3:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Fowle

@David: depends on which part of Alaska you have in mind. I type this at 52° N; Hamburg lies at 54°. It can get quite sweltering in summer - the old Gulf Stream. Comes in handy when you want to get folks to buy your green scam: if you're so stingy, mother Gaia will turn off your heating!

@ConfusedPhoton: installed capacity, of course. (The same as with your car: your 300 h.p. engine may deliver a little less when you try to run it on empty.) PV tends to deliver ~11% of installed capacity over here; wind power tallies up 20%. Of course, listing the maximum capacity looks so much also covers over the incovenient fact that running energy-intensive processes like smelting & cating metals on intermittent power is... not the brightest idea. \sarc off.

Feb 28, 2013 at 3:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterUlrich Elkmann

It's obvious really. All those wind turbines stir up moisture and reduce the pressure so that clouds form.

Feb 28, 2013 at 3:06 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby


They claim about 11% capaciy factor for solar over here and wind comes out at about 25%. However as solar panels and wind turbines age, the capacity factors fall drastically and the subsidies aren't enough to keep them going, so you are left with fields of scrap.

Feb 28, 2013 at 3:09 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby


"Fields (and seas) of scrap" , and who will pay to have all that cleared away? I am guessing not the renewables companies, they'll be like high tech manufacturers in South Wales off somewhere else as soon as the subsidies run out.

Feb 28, 2013 at 3:18 PM | Unregistered Commenterabout-to-retire

Cause and effect?

Quiet sun = more Galactic Cosmic Rays = more clouds ?

If the above is true it's sure gonna get cold....

Feb 28, 2013 at 3:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Longstaff

32 GW installed PV capacity means 3.2 GW average over the year. Steep variations between 0 and 32 GW. How can an electricity grid cope with that?

Feb 28, 2013 at 3:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlbert Stienstra


They export the problem to their continental neighbours, who are getting mightily p**ssed off at having their grids upset.

Feb 28, 2013 at 3:32 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby


Quite so. It would be nice if these contraptions lasted out the 20 years for which the feed-iff tariffs are (as of now) guaranteed. (Another elephant in the room: if the goverment were to cut them, everybody could, & would, gladly sue them for breach of contract.) It seems to be the main factor behind the recent (1-2 years) massive advocacy for "repowering" wind turbines: lopping off the old & replacing it with a (nominally) more powerful one. They're just lucky they haven't managed to install any of the gargantuan off-shore wind farms which are still officially intended to be the backbone of the "energy transformation" [cue rolling eyes].

Feb 28, 2013 at 3:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterUlrich Elkmann

I drove past a swathe of installed PV alongside the Autobahn on my way back from Austria last weekend. The funny thing was they were horizontally placed and covered with a good 10cm of snow!

Feb 28, 2013 at 4:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterFarleyR

Does this mean we're reaching peak gloom..?

Feb 28, 2013 at 5:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

Underneath the linden
Way behind the windin'
Arrays all a glisten
Gonna need some fixin'.

Feb 28, 2013 at 7:13 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

The Grue have been flying North for the last couple of days so nature says Spring is on its way to this part of France.

Feb 28, 2013 at 7:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

You have a weard way of spelling "Der Spiegel" ;-) [Thanks. corrected. BH]

Feb 28, 2013 at 9:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterHans Erren

Did you know that Uranus is a Gas Giant?
The sun doesn't shine there a lot either.

Feb 28, 2013 at 11:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

Hans Erren: dare I say that you have a weird way of spelling weird! :-)

Mar 1, 2013 at 8:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

Wait 10 years and the climate will change again, and the solar power producers will look good!

Apr 7, 2013 at 5:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterOttawa Solar Power

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