Well, at least that is what pro-nuke advocates predicted when Germany shut down its eight oldest nuclear power plants last year and decided to drive towards a renewable energy future. The recent deep freeze in Europe has, however, proven that to be thoroughly untrue. Recently, it is, in fact, nuclear-dominated France that is having problems covering its electricity needs because of the severe cold snap.
The German Spiegel Online Magazine is reporting that France - with its 59 nuclear reactors - is currently having to import up to 7 GW of electricity a day, with 3 GW of that coming from a Germany that just switched off half of its nuke plants.
Germany, meanwhile, is having no problems whatsoever. And it seems that renewables are a major contributor to preventing problems there, as electricity generated from solar pv is pumping up to 20% of the needed electricity into the Grid during peak electricity consumption times. That's in the middle of winter, in a country that is not exactly renowned for being a sunshine paradise!
Furthermore, France - despite having only about 80% of Germany's population - is currently using double the amount of electricity that Germany is using. To be fair, a big part of that is because Germany uses more of the efficient distributed heating and efficient gas heating while France uses a lot of very inefficient electric heating, but the figure is still astounding.
Experts are even warning that the French electricity grid could collapse, and then take the European grid with it, if 1 or 2 French nuclear plants experienced technical difficulties at this inopportune moment. Luckily, the likelihood of that happening right now is low, but it still does highlight one fact:
Renewables are not an unreliable source of electricity, as both nuke proponents and Big Fossil boosters would have us believe. When renewables are intelligently integrated into a large-scale grid, the opposite is actually true.
A link to the article in Der Spiegel, for those who understand German:
And here a video of one of those solar power plants in Germany that are currently producing so much peak electricity. It was constructed on the site of a former military airport:
5:18 PM PT: For those who missed it: translatorpro recently organized a live blog here on DKos with an energy expert from the German Green Party. There's some excellent reading to be had there, especially for those who are interested in renewables: