Germany Reaches 59% Renewable Energy Peak, Power Grid Doesn’t Blow Up

by John Johnston on 10/30/2013

in Business,Politics,Technology

Germany

Earlier this month on a very sunny and windy day, Germany managed to hit a peak of 59.1% renewable power generation, and what’s more, the heavily industrialized country’s power grid did not explode, Greentechmedia has pointed out.

It was around midday on October 3, which just happened to be Germany’s annual Reunification Day holiday, when the sun was at its fullest and the significant peak was reached. Over the entire day, 36.4% of total electricity generation was achieved with solar and wind power; solar panels contributed 11.2% on their own. At its peak, solar accounted for 20.5 gigawatts.

Although the electrical grid withstood the large amount of renewable energy flowing to it, you’ll be pleased to know that electricity prices also dived. A drop in demand from big, conventional power plants led the electricity price index at 2:00pm to 2.75 cents per kilowatt hour. The index covers Germany, Austria, France, and Switzerland.

So there you have it. A country as large and industrialized as Germany can and did operate successfully, albeit on a national holiday, using a large percentage of renewable energy. And this is only the beginning.

Image CC licensed by jim Winstead: Solar panels on houses in Germany
Via Greetechmedia


  • JC

    Please spell and grammar check your article next time. It will add credibility.

  • Mark Collins

    Did you find it less credible because of grammar and spelling errors?

  • Tom Bolton

    I have to question the statement that electricity prices have dropped in Germany because they have actually gone way up in the last couple of years! I am not sure about what this electricity price index measures? Is it possibly the amount the people get who’s excess electricity from their own solar panels get purchased by the grid. If so, this has no barring on what the consumers are paying. I am a supporter of renewables and get my electricity and gas from a 100% renewable enrgy company. I don’t know the details but it seems the big power firms have managed to undercut some of the efforts of the change to renewables and artificially make prices go up in an attempt to discredit renewables.But the fact is that we are all paying higher prices

  • Vivi

    The article talks about the wholesale price of electricity, which is indexed and traded at the electricity exchange. On average, it’s around 5-8 cents these days, a considerable drop compared to a few years ago. This drop in wholesale price has unfortunately not been handed through to the end consumer prices by the larger electricity providers, whose profits have soared. (Not just because of greed. Electricity contracts in Germany usually are made up 2 or 3 years in advance, so the newest wholesale prices weren’t involved in the negotiation. That’s why you can usually cancel your contract at the end of the month and switch to a different provider that offers a better, more up-to-date price.)

    My small all-renewable electricity provider explains its current consumer price of 25.75 cents per kwh (which is a bit lower than what the local municipal plant wants, and even lower than the price that the local Big Four company offers) as follows:
    7.85 cents wholesale electricity price (ca. 30%) + 5.06 cent grid fee (ca. 20%) + 3,85 cents renewable FIT surcharge (ca. 15%) + 8.19 cents various taxes (ca. 31%) + 1.00 cent extra to invest in new renewable infrastructure by building directly or giving out affordable loans (ca. 4%). Personnel and paperwork costs are covered by a fixed sum of 7.95 Euro per month. They don’t have any shareholders that expect constant profit payouts and managers needing golden parachutes, like the Big Four do. I expect the renewable surcharge part to rise 2-3 cents with the next price adjustment, but the wholesale price part to drop 2-3 cents at the same time, so what I pay in the end shouldn’t change much.

  • kfederation

    I often do, because I feel that most professional writers at least read over their work before they publish it. Appearances do matter, regardless of what some people want to believe.

  • Rory MacDonell

    no shit

  • http://www.the9billion.com/ John Johnston

    Sincerely sorry to offend with a couple of typos and questionable grammar. It was written in haste on with a very limited budget, as I’m sure you understand. We are not Huff Post. I’m still glad a lot of people are reading and sharing the post.

  • Ibhar Mac Suibhne

    A great result no doubt , but what of overall production of electricity from renewable through out the entire year? What proportion is it?
    What happens when the wind doesn’t blow or the sun stops shining?
    There are many reports in the media that Germany’s decision to move away from nuclear has been a bad decision has they now must import massive amounts of fossil fuels, off setting the gains made by renewable …releasing even more carbon into the atmosphere?

  • Tom

    On a broader scale CO2 emissions have been declining steadily since 1990 despite an increasing GDP and despite keeping heavy industry in the country.

    What is commonly overlooked: Industry and export is the foundation of the German economic model and measured as of GDP I have read figures of 25 to 28%. Only China has a higer figure. The same can be said about the export total value as well as export surplus values. For exactly this reason the US and the EU are displeased with the situation arguing it undermines the production possibilities in other countries. All of this with just 82mio people, hardly any valuable natural resources and less than half a percent of the globes land area versus 400mio in the US or more than 1 billiion in China and giant countries with huge resources.

    Back to CO2: When comparing emissions per capita of differing countries surely somehow the embodied energy of import surpluses / deficits needs to be taken into account – I haven’t seen any calcs of that sort so far maybe because it is a bloody complicated task. However, concerning electricity it can be done and when you look at the uptick of CO2 in 2012 you will recognize that at the same time there was a never before seen net-amount of kWh sold to neighboring countries. It is left to us to interpretate this situation. Mine would be the following: RE has to be fed in by law (prioritized). Its increasing amount (25% share in 2012) left the four main utilities (hardly owning RE themselves), that need to run their plants as much as they can to at least cover necessary overheads, with few options: Either reduce capacity as there is less and less demand from conventional capacities or export. And in fact they have done both: Applying for closure of fossil capacities and exporting like hell as RE was driving down wholesale prices. This situation comes along with unintended consequences. For one thing utilities outside of Germany will not be happy about others busting their prices. For another thing, unfortunately gas – the cleanest most adaptable fossil fuel – is no longer worthwhile due to high prices contractually linked long term to the oil price.

    There are many other deficiencies of the current German RE scheme, however all of those refer to its past success, so they are victim of their own success and the RE scheme will have to and will be reformed by the next coalition hopefully lifting it up to the next level. However, rising CO2 levels are by no means related to RE, they are a problem of fossil fuels, few expenses for carbon certs and an open market incorporating export.

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