Power prices in Europe and US have skyrocketed in recent months, 280% higher in Europe this year and led to a 100%-plus surge in the United States, see figures below. The resons for this is explained more in the following.
The main reason for the exploading electricty prices is due to the dramatically increasing gas prices as I will explain.
The price of energy is dynamic, and like most commodities of the world, depends on the demand and supply. If the demand is much higher than the supply, the price increases to the point when there is a balance between demand and supply. The production of electricity has to be equal to the consumption at each instant or the electric grid will collapse with the result that nobody will have electricity for some time. Since the electricity production from wind and solar changes dramatically in a very short time a lot of stress is imposed on the electric grid from wind and solar electricity, see figure below:
This means that wind and solar energy production needs to have a backup power, a source that in a very short time can be switched on or off to produce the needed electricity to keep a constant electricity production meeting the need of the customers. It turns out that the best is hydro power where you can go from 0 to 100 % power in just a few seconds, the second best are gas turbines where it takes about 9 minutes to start up the gas turbine. Coal fired plants cannot be used because it takes about 9 hours to start up the plant so coal fired plants can only be used as baseload plants. Nuclear power plants is also not suitable as backup power for wind and solar since it takes too long time to regulate the power output. The quickest way to provide this backup power is to build gas turbines. One of the drawbacks with gas turbines is however that the production cost (investment, fuel and maintenance) of electricity from gas turbines depend 30-90 % on the gas price (depending on gas turbine model and running time). This means that the electricity production cost from gas turbines is very sensitive to the gas price. One of the many advantages with nuclear power is that the uranium fuel price is only about 5 % of the electricity production cost which means that even if there is a dramatic increase in uranium price it will hardly affect the electricty production price of nuclear.
The recent enormous investments in wind and solar power over the world has increased the demand of natural gas to run the gas turbines while there is a limited production of gas from a few countries. The plans worldwide to further expand wind and solar electricty production will result in even higher gas/electricity prices. Why do we want to rely an on energy system where we are totally dependent of a limited energy source (gas) from a few countries??
If CO2 is so bad for the climate as the greens are claiming, why do they want to have an electricty production system like wind and solar that relies on natural gas that produce 490 gCO2/kWh while the corresponding numbers for wind and solar are: 13 g CO2/kWh for wind and 25 g/CO2/kWh for solar and 2.5 g CO2/kWh for nuclear, see: Electricity from nuclear has 5 and 10 times lower carbon footprint than that of wind and solar energy, respectively – Energy Education and Carbon footprint is 5 times larger from wind compared to that of nuclear energy – Energy Education .
Do we never learn from history??? In the 1970s we had oil crises since there was limited oil production much less than the demand resulting in sky rocketing oil prices. At that time Sweden had a responsible gouvernment that funded the building of 12 reactors in a little more than 10 years. At that time Sweden had one of the most inexpensive, reliable and environmentally friendly electricty production in the world (the same situation as France). The access to reliable, clean, inexpensive helped develop Sweden to one of the best countries in the world. Today we have a socialist gouvernment that allows the greens (with about 4 % of the votes) run Sweden into a total disaster. Six out of the 12 reactors have been prematurely shut down for political reasons only and now the greens try to kill the rest of the 6 nuclear power plants by subsidising wind and solar.