Germany says Switzerland’s mountains could help stabilise EU power supply

Posted: May 4, 2019 by oldbrew in Energy
Tags: , , , ,

Swiss Alps near Davos


No doubt the Swiss have already taken the best sites for hydro-electricity for themselves. How many of the ones left would they be willing to drown, to benefit outsiders? This smacks of desperation as pumped hydro is usually only a short-term fix when peak loads need to be met. Several days of low wind for turbines can’t be compensated by using energy to pump water up mountainsides, and then letting it drop down again to create near-instant electricity.

Germany is interested in finding an agreement with neighbouring Switzerland on how the Alpine country could contribute to German and European power supply security, the German government says in an answer to a parliamentary inquiry.

Thanks to its mountainous terrain and ample potential for pumped-hydro storage, Switzerland could provide “flexibility options” for European power markets and help balance supply and demand during times “in which there’s no wind or sunshine”, reports Clean Energy Wire.

The EU currently is awaiting a “clear statement” by the Swiss government on what a framework agreement on power trading could look like. It is expected by mid-2019.

Germany already has direct power supply from hydro storages in Luxembourg and Austria.

The increasing reliance on renewables as its primary source of electricity makes it necessary for Germany to find solutions to how intermittent power supply by wind and solar plants could be transported and stored for continuous use.

The expansion of key grid infrastructure to deliver wind power from the north to industrial centres in the south faces substantial delays due to political opposition at regional level, fanning calls for finding alternative storage solutions, such as a planned grid connection to Norway to use pumped-hydro capacity there or the accelerated development of power-to-gas facilities.

Source: Clean Energy Wire.

Comments
  1. oldbrew says:

    Switzerland isn’t even in the EU. If they go gung-ho for renewables they’ll need their own back-up resources, especially in winter.

    May 2017: Swiss voters embrace shift to renewable energy

    Switzerland was a net power importer in 2016.
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-swiss-energy-idUSKBN18H0HM

  2. ivan says:

    There is only one way to stabilise the German power grid – dump wind and solar and build several HELE coal fired power stations. That would do at least two things, stabalise the grid and reduce electricity costs.

    They know this is the real answer but will never willingly use it because it goes against the diktats of the UN Church of Climatology.

  3. Adam Gallon says:

    I’m sure the Swiss would love to have a few dozen valleys flooded.

  4. oldbrew says:

    With pumped hydro there has to be a power source to pump the water uphill to start the process. But at times of low wind is when the preferred main power source won’t be there. So as soon as the top reservoir is emptied once it could be game over until the wind blows again.

    But they want to call that ‘stabilising’ the power supply? :/

  5. Curious George says:

    How about creating Lake Davos? For the greater good of course 🙂

  6. Graeme No.3 says:

    Sweden and Norway are quite happy to take excess German electricity – at a suitable price e.g. low, very low even negative. Neither seems willing to flood valleys for more capacity. I don’t think the Swiss will be willing to do so either, especially as the German problem is too much electricity up north where the wind turbines lurk.
    So Germany has spent billions on wind turbines and must now spend billions on transmission cables to the south where they don’t want it, so Switzerland is expected to pay to help out Germany. I think Germany will be told SWEXIT.

  7. Saighdear says:

    Oooh Nooooses, another war pending! – that was the first thing I thought when I read this headline. all for the greater good of the greedy surrounding Europeans. How will some of the Swiss view this possibly provocative statement? They put up with and have aided through traffic via train and road Tunnels, but now it seems this may NOT be enough. Once upon a time , WE, in the UK, had Toll-free roads and opened our doors to Tourists BEFORE the EEC, but now, within the EU, there are Tolls and restrictions on roads, not just in Switzerland ( outside the EU and to have funded its infrastructure since the 70’s at least ) but ALSO in Germany and also according to your type of vehicle…. How to be made welcome in a foreign land ….
    so much for ONE “State” as per those remoaners who claim to be/ remain as, Europeans( passport) – which country state is that then?
    The Swiss may find they have no option and could face Eco’ (!) Sanctions – unless they have Allies ( 🙂 – I wonder who that could be then? ) Maybe time for them to get the Swiss Navy shipshape again and ready to torpedo something!

  8. Switzerland has nuclear power, I think it makes up about 25% of their supply. Not sure if they intend to phase it out but some years ago the voters in Kanton Bern extended the life of the power station in their state.
    I would think to supply power outside the country to the EU there would have to a referendum vote.
    Switzerland is the most democrat country and the voters decide everything including taxation. They can recall elected officials and also appointed non-elected senior public servants. Britain would not be in the mess political mess if they had a similar system. In fact if more countries inEurope had a similar system the present EU would have remain a trade organisation with no room for political decisions.

  9. hunterson7 says:

    Notice that to sustain climate obsession, everything…. everything must be destroyed.
    The economy, civil rights, freedom, science, truth, and now the last open wild spaces.
    To save the world, the climate consensus has to first destroy the world.

  10. oldbrew says:

    Curious George says: How about creating Lake Davos?
    – – –
    Already got one: ‘the lake is used as a hydropower reservoir’.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Davos

    Quite small though – wouldn’t keep the lights on in Germany for long 😆

    TBH the Germans seem to be talking about drilling holes in mountains like the massive Dinorwig scheme in Wales, but it’s expensive (£425m. in the 1970s/80s).
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dinorwig_Power_Station

    The monitoring of popular television channels is an important factor in electricity grid control centres.
    When lots of people want a hot drink at the same time…

  11. Henning Nielsen says:

    “during times “in which there’s no wind or sunshine”, reports Clean Energy Wire.”
    German energy policy is indeed stuck in a place where the sun does not shine, though sometimes there is wind.

  12. Gamecock says:

    Storage means the people die an hour later.

  13. Gamecock says:

    ‘Germany says Switzerland’s mountains could help stabilise EU power supply’

    At least they now publicly admit that their power supply is unstable.

  14. oldbrew says:

    If it’s unstable now, what will it be like when more German power stations close down? Norwegian fjords can’t power the whole of Europe when it’s dark and/or not windy enough.

    Batteries won’t cut the mustard either except for a few minutes here and there.

  15. ivan says:

    At least they now publicly admit that their power supply is unstable.

    The moment they got more than 5% unreliables hooked into the grid and dictated that the grid had to buy that first their supply became unstable – throwing more unreliables at it won’t make it stable, the only thing that will do that is either new nuclear or coal fired power stations and the removal of the unreliables. Unfortunately, the removal of the unreliables would show that Fuhrer Merkal got it wrong and the greens don’t have a clue, therefore it will never happen as long as the UN Church of Climatology preaches from the books of Agenda 21 and 30.

  16. Brett Keane says:

    Yes Ivan, here in NZ we have possibly the best windflow anywhere (roaring 40’s). But some 20yrs ago our Engineers noted that at 6% the Grid starts to notice instability; and about 16% is the maximum tolerable with any safe level of stabiliity. So we developed new Geothermal re-injection techniques instead.
    Switzerland may not share German keenness…… Brett.

  17. oldbrew says:

    The Swiss probably want to use most of their hydro power themselves…

    Hydropower: Switzerland’s massive source of renewable energy

    According to the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE), hydropower accounts for roughly 56 percent of its domestic electricity production.

    As such, the SFOE describes hydropower as being “Switzerland’s most important domestic source of renewable energy.”

    At the Hydraulic Constructions Laboratory (LCH) in Lausanne, researchers are looking to hone and optimize hydropower facilities.

    https://www.cnbc.com/2017/03/09/hydropower-switzerlands-massive-source-of-renewable-energy.html

  18. phil salmon says:

    Nature itself could persuade Switzerland to play ball with Germany’s green lebensraum expansion as global warming hits their alpine country hard:

    https://www.iceagenow.info/record-may-snowfall-in-switzerland/

  19. oldbrew says:

    Two years’ ago, the Swiss fruit farming industry suffered heavy losses as a result of late frosts.
    https://www.iceagenow.info/record-may-snowfall-in-switzerland/

    They might have to get used to more of the same 😐

  20. Davos is my hometown. The lake is used for hydro power during wintertime. I am 100% sure there is not a square meter in the Swiss mountains where our greens would allow more dams to be built. There was a project to extend an existing dam to be able to catch more water and that was fought tooth and nail for years by the greens.

  21. oldbrew says:

    They probably meant something like Dinorwig – the biggest pumped storage site in Europe.

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