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Sunday, Solar Sunday: Germany's Recent Solar Energy Record In-Depth

On Sunday, CleanTechnica broke the news that Germany broke yet another solar power record when the country’s 1.3+ million PV systems turned a sunny summer day into 23.9 GW of solar power at about 1:30 PM. This short breaking news has drawn quite a lot of attention, which is reason enough to follow it up with some in-depth analysis and additional data.

Sunday-Solar-Sunday-Header

A Word On Solar Power Records

At the time of the recent solar power record on July 7th 2013, Germany had an installed PV capacity of approximately 34 GW (33.87 GW at the end of May + June). It has been the experience of the last few years that this total domestic capacity peaks at about 70–80% even under superb weather conditions, due to the various angles of installation. In other words, since not all systems face south at exactly the same angle, some systems peak at 11:00 AM others at 2:30 PM.

Solar Power Record of July 7th 2013

 

While the “suboptimal” orientation of solar systems isn’t too helpful for reaching (even) higher solar power records, it’s good for grid integration. Since extreme solar power peaks — as cool as they might be — are not really the point, many solar energy experts advocate that future capacities should be installed facing southeast and southwest… instead of simply south. This would increase solar production in the morning and evening hours and provide solar energy more evenly throughout the day – matching production even more with demand peaks.

Sunday, Solar Sunday

When looking at the whole German electricity picture on July 7th, it’s important to recognize that it was a Sunday. Many Germans don’t work on Sundays, leaving offices and also almost all stores and shopping centers closed. This cultural aspect obviously affects electricity consumption a lot, leading to approximately 20–30% below weekday demand and a slightly “flatter” load curve.

German Loadcurve July 7th

That said, solar power does have a significant impact on the net-generation mix on weekends, as well as on weekdays. On July 7th, solar power pushed the share of renewable energy sources in the electricity generation mix above 50% between 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM — the hours of peak demand. In total, solar energy generated more than 200 GWh in a single day, providing more than 20% of Sunday’s total electricity.

German Electricity Mix July 7th 2013

This 20.9% share of solar energy in the total electricity supply was propably the real record. As I mentioned before, this was a low-demand weekend day, but this doesn’t diminish this record in my opinion. It’s more like a window into the weekday summer reality from the year 2016/17 onwards, when the installed solar capacity is projected to pass 50 GW.

Sunday, Solar Sunday — Germany’s July 7 Solar Power Record In-Depth was originally published on: CleanTechnica. To read more from CleanTechnica, join over 30,000 others and subscribe to our free RSS feed, follow us on Facebook (also free!), follow us on Twitter, or just visit our homepage (yep, free).

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Discussions

Randy Voges's picture
Randy Voges on Jul 14, 2013 2:42 am GMT

An impressive feat, without a doubt.  On the flip side, there’s this.

Nathan Wilson's picture
Nathan Wilson on Jul 14, 2013 6:55 pm GMT

Two things jump out at me when I look at the graph of German hourly electrical generation: 

  • 4-5 hours of energy storage would make solar a much better peaking generator to match demand by moving solar energy from mid-afternoon (when they have too much) to the late evening (when they have none).
  • The majority of their energy use is baseload.  It’s too bad they don’t have much geothermal or desert CSP with thermal storage.  Maybe someday they’ll change their minds about nuclear.
Thomas Gerke's picture
Thomas Gerke on Jul 14, 2013 8:30 pm GMT

Germany currently has about 7 GW of storage with a capacity of approx. 40-50 GWh on the grid (pumped hydro) – So in theory it would already be possible to shift a big chunk of solar from noon to evening. 

Untill now this is not neccessary nor are there enough market signals to facilitate this behaviour. 

On that sunday pumped hydro output peaked at 2.2 GW – baseload nuclear & coal were eager to ramp up to meet demand. 

More storage would be great though. 

I K's picture
I K on Jul 16, 2013 11:58 am GMT

The problem with solar pv is that it displaces future higher capacity wind and nuclear. The Germans will not get more than 10% of their annual eletricity from solar but doing that will lock in coal and gas for another generation at least.

Stephen Nielsen's picture
Stephen Nielsen on Jul 16, 2013 12:46 pm GMT

Another generation? …at least?

Are you sure?

Stephen Nielsen's picture
Stephen Nielsen on Jul 17, 2013 2:43 am GMT

Is it really a flip side?  

How many computer companies a have come and gone since the introduction of personal computers? What do these many bankruptcies say about the current state of computing overall? Hardly anything. How many telecom companies have come and gone since that revolution began? What do these many bankruptcies say about the current state of telecom? Hardly anything.  We are witnessing the beginning of an energy revolution. Revolutions are by definition volatile in nature

Randy Voges's picture
Randy Voges on Jul 18, 2013 1:57 am GMT

If so many alternative energy companies weren’t failing on the taxpayer’s dime (e.g., A123, Ener1, Abound Solar, Beacon Power, Fisker, and of course Solyndra), you’d have a point.  

Stephen Nielsen's picture
Stephen Nielsen on Jul 18, 2013 3:14 am GMT

So please clarify.  Is it your position that solar technology is NOT advancing exponentially? 

Randy Voges's picture
Randy Voges on Jul 18, 2013 5:49 pm GMT

My position is that the analogy between technical advancement of computers and telecomm compared with solar technology doesn’t hold.  First, the digital revolution was an unusual case of rapid technical innovation, and it is far from clear that it can be duplicated in other industries (Vaclav Smil calls this Moore’s Curse).  Second, since the ultimate aim is electrical power generation, it is not enough for solar technology to “advance exponentially”.   It must compete with other forms of mature generation, against which it has obvious limitations, such as the low energy density of the “fuel” along with its intermittency and variability (to say nothing of cost).

Stephen Nielsen's picture
Stephen Nielsen on Jul 18, 2013 6:51 pm GMT

posted incorrectly

Stephen Nielsen's picture
Stephen Nielsen on Jul 18, 2013 7:46 pm GMT

“the analogy between technical advancement of computers and telecomm compared with solar technology doesn’t hold.”

– A whole lot of really qualified people disagree with you on this one, including these folks over at MIT. 

http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2013/how-to-predict-the-progress-of-technology-0306.html

…but who knows, maybe you and Mr Smil know better. Maybe you or Mr Smil could author a study. From where I’m standing it sure looks disruptive

 

“since the ultimate aim is electrical power generation, it is not enough for solar technology to “advance exponentially”.   It must compete with other forms of mature generation”

– Isn’t that the point of rapid, exponential advancement? — Advancing until it competes with and disrupts old, traditional models of energy generation?

 

“…it has obvious limitations, such as the low energy density of the “fuel””

– Yes, low density. But, it must be said of the “fuel”, that it is also; ubiquitous, FREE, much more easily accessed and that the technology to convert it to electricity is; much more rapidly rolled out, much more easily scaled and much more easily utilized.

Please also remember – The more dense an energy source, the more potentially dangerous that energy source NECESSARILY is


“along with its intermittency and variability”

– This is where (also exponentially advancing) solar fuels will soon come in – which, by the way, just might have the capacity to REVERSE climate change WHILE powering our world – at least according to these folks over at Lawrence Livermore

http://phys.org/news/2013-05-scientists-co2-sequestration-technique-supergreen.html

Also, you should give Donald Sadoway (also from MIT) a listen…

http://www.ted.com/talks/donald_sadoway_the_missing_link_to_renewable_energy.html


“(to say nothing of cost)”

Yeah …right

http://monetaryrealism.com/solar-is-about-to-change-our-world/

 

Randy Voges's picture
Randy Voges on Jul 19, 2013 1:11 am GMT

Doesn’t bother me at all that a bunch of MIT folks would disagree with me.  For what it’s worth (admittedly not very much), I hope they succeed.

Davis Swan's picture
Davis Swan on Jul 19, 2013 8:39 pm GMT

First, congratulations to Thomas for presenting a very balanced assessment of this solar record.  Very unusual and very much appreciated.

The graphs are particularly useful (where does this data come from?).  A couple of things to note;

1) The truly useless nature of wind generation is highlighted as there is as much wind nameplate capacity as there is solar in Germany and yet it doesn’t even register except at night when nobody needs it.  Wind is so problematic – my recent analysis of Alberta data (http://debarel.com/blog1/?p=245) shows a similar pattern with the wind delivering less than 10% of nameplate capacity 30% of the time – and even this overstates the case because calm conditions during the day are so common.

2) “Traditional” thermal generation is having to double from 18 GW to 36GW in a few hours on either side of the solar peak.  This is hugely problematic and leads to inefficient operation of these plants and higher costs.  This is unsustainable over the long term without huge capacity payments which even Germany cannot afford.  I have discussed this at length in my posting “Lights Out – The Coming Crisis in Electricity Generation” http://debarel.com/blog1/?p=70

3) As Randy has pointed out the solar industry in Germany is in serious trouble as it will be anywhere  when significant direct financial support for solar is reduced – and that will be everywhere as solar penetration rates go up.  Please note that Germany already has to export electricity during peak solar production.  As other countries implement solar there will soon be no place left to export to between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm.  I have discussed in my posting “No Soft Landing for PV Solar industry” http://debarel.com/blog1/?p=188

Thanks again Thomas.  PV Solar without storage causes as many problems as it solves.  But once we solve the storage issue (and we will given enough time and R&D funding) then PV + CSP solar will be perhaps the biggest component of a sustainable energy future.

 

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Jul 19, 2013 10:14 pm GMT

These stories crowing about peak generation feats are conspicuously absent during winter months, when Germany enjoys sunny skies as little as 1 hour/day. Cherrypicking auspicious moments for celebration is particularly disingenuous when Germany is in the process of building 24 new coal plants, carbon intensity is on the upswing, the country is entirely reliant upon baseload imports (including foreign nuclear), and practical storage is no closer than it was a decade ago.

I share hopes with Nathan that Germany will experience a collective re-evaluation of its truly dogmatic and counter-productive bias against nuclear, especially 4th-gen designs which could solve the country’s carbon problems and eliminate much of its stockpile of spent fuel – without the rubegoldbergian technical gymnastics and inefficiencies required to make renewables accessible on the grid.

Elidyl L's picture
Elidyl L on Jul 20, 2013 6:06 pm GMT

You act as if these numbers are unavailable?  They aren’t.

Solar and Wind in Germany for 2013 (to date):

http://www.ise.fraunhofer.de/en/downloads-englisch/pdf-files-englisch/ne...

Solar and Wind in Germany for 2012 (etc.):

http://www.ise.fraunhofer.de/en/downloads-englisch/pdf-files-englisch/ne...

As you will see, wind has a higher production profile in winter than in summer, and vice versa for solar. So the two technologies offset each other.

I agree with you, I don’t see the merit of celebrating energy production for a single day (whether it’s wind being sold to France on very cold days in February to keep their electricity grid from crashing, or solar being sold to the same in Summer).  Germany has become a net exporter of electricity to France (and the story of renewables has a lot to do with it).  The inflexibiliyt of nuclear even more.  The production for wind and solar in June 2013 in Germany was a combined 29%.  Germany is well on its way to meeting and exceeding energy generation benchmarkes and policy goals in the short term.  We’ll see if they can remain on track for the same achievements in 2050, etc.  

 

Davis Swan's picture
Davis Swan on Jul 20, 2013 6:20 pm GMT

@Cliff – you have pointed out one of the issues that I am growing increasingly concerned about.  I have been harping about the need for storage for a long time but the question now is “how much storage?”

I need to do an analysis of how many consecutive hours of calm are commonly experienced in Texas and Alberta.  Number of days of very low solar irradiance in Germany would be another interesting number.  So we really have to understand those numbers before we can determine the amount of storage required but my guess is that it is probably a pretty ugly number.  And what about the “hundered year” event?  What does that look like?  Dead calm for 3 weeks?  If we are dependent upon wind what happens in that situation?  Go “pre-industrial” until the wind starts to blow?

I’m starting to have my doubts about reliance on wind and solar even with storage. This will be a delicate balance even if every component of my Sustainable Energy Manifesto is implmented (http://debarel.com/blog1/?p=152).

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Jul 20, 2013 6:27 pm GMT

Do you have any links to support your contention that France’s grid has been in danger of “crashing” without solar electricity from Germany?

The reason France imports solar electricty from Germany is for the simple reason Germany has too much of it at certain times, and it’s virtually worthless. This tendency will increase as other countries increase solar, and may require Germany to actually pay to get rid of their energy. I don’t see this as an enviable position at all, and contrary to your assertion this highlights the variability/inflexibility inherent in getting energy from a variable source like the sun.

Elidyl L's picture
Elidyl L on Jul 20, 2013 7:23 pm GMT

Yes I do (but it was wind imports, as I indicated).

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/14/europe-power-supply-idUSL5E8DD...

And no, German exports of solar from the north (where most of it has been built) are driven by transmission bottlenecks to the south not the energy being “virtually worthless.”  They are in the midst of a massive 10 year expansion plan to address the issue (and have scaled back FIT prices, and hence solar expansion rate, on a short term basis as a consequence).  

http://www.netzausbau.de/cln_1912/DE/Home/home_node.html (site for 10 year grid expansion plan, and construction of energy HVDC autobahns from north to south)

There are lots of very large and transformative changes to energy system in Germany.  These things don’t happen overnight, and offshore wind and transmission upgrades have been the slowest to come on-line (hence some short term increase in coal generation last year, and Germany maintaining it’s historic role as net exporter of electricity to the rest of Europe).  Consumers love the program, Merkel is likely to get a third term, and energy policy (maintaining a tough line with large utility producers in the country) is an important reason why.  

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Jul 20, 2013 7:42 pm GMT

You give more credit to renewables than is due. There is no indication that wind played a major role in this export of power to France and it was likely German coal plants which primarily made up for the shortfall, as they have been for Germany itself.

A surplus in energy results in lower prices. Bottlenecks result not in surplus but scarcity, and thus make prices go up. The opposite is happening.

Renewable subsidies have caused German solar power glut

Apparently not all German consumers “love” the Energiewende, or appreciate destruction of the German countryside in pursuit of an impractical ideology:

Battle over wind turbines in the land of Sleeping Beauty

 

 

Davis Swan's picture
Davis Swan on Jul 20, 2013 9:27 pm GMT

The links you provide show graphs of annual or monthly data which is of no value when it comes to wind.  Denmark brags about 30% of their electricity production being from wind but a fair assessment of the useful generation of wind pegs it at 10%.  A great deal of Danish wind generation happens at night and in other off-peak times and is essentially worthless.  Norway and Sweden take it for no other reason than it will destabilize the regional grid otherwise.  See my detailed discussions about the Danish situation http://debarel.com/blog1/?p=50 and issues with wind in Alberta Canada http://debarel.com/blog1/?p=245.

So I would like to see hourly data from Germany – 10 minute data would be even better.  That would allow a real evaluation of the usefulness of wind generation as well as being able to calculate how often extended calm periods happen.

But here is the ultimate insurmountable problem.  Let’s say that Germany is covered with wind turbines and solar panels with a total nameplate capacity of 300 GW – 5 times German peak summer demand.  Never mind that the subsidies and other costs to build this infrastructure and supporting transmission facillities would be in the trillions of Euros.  What happens when the winds across Germany are calm some evening from 5:00 pm until midnight?  That does happen and fairly frequently.  Does that not require that you have to keep 60 GW of conventional generation on standby?  Is that not a 100% duplication of required electrical generation?  Does that really make sense?

And what if the peiod of calm extends for 24 or 48 or 72 hours?  What does a 100 year “calm” event look like?

People that brag about renewable generation records and peaks never ever mention that no matter how much renewable generation we build we will still need to keep 100% of our traditional and dependable generation assets on standby.  Not a single coal-fired, gas-fired, or nuclear plant can be retired.

I want very badly to move to a sustainable energy environment.  Every one of my blog posts is aimed at that goal.  But a simplistic approach whereby we keep building Photo-Voltaic solar and wind generation will not work. 

Elidyl L's picture
Elidyl L on Jul 20, 2013 10:28 pm GMT

Other sources cite France’s poor record on efficiency, and the unreliability of reactor fleet (aging fleet, labor unrest, underinvestment in maintenance and new technologies) as a reason for the energy shortfalls over the winter.

 

http://www.electricityforum.com/news/dec09/RTEwarnsofblackoutsamidcoldsn...

 

During cold snap, wind in France was delivering 55% of it’s capacity, and Germany 30%.  If you think the contribution from wind was hurting rather than helping during this crucial shortfall (as reported by nearly every account I have seen) you don’t seem to like numbers much.  

 

Why rely on any numbers at all (or sources) … your mind seems to be made up on the matter, tilted ideologically to a particular approach, and closed to any new information or data?  

 

Sure … not all consumers like everything.  Your point?  They certainly don’t like nuclear in Germany (coal, or natural gas), this much is for sure.  Your link appears to best support my observation instead of yours.  Thank you for providing it.  

Elidyl L's picture
Elidyl L on Jul 20, 2013 10:48 pm GMT

Are you aware of German efforts regarding “virtual power plants,” demand control, smart grid enhancements, energy storage, capactiy markets, boosting transmission capacity to hydro plants in Norway, projected firm capacity from offshore wind, advanced research on carbon sequestration, etc.  Energiewende is a comprehensive and broad energy strategy … it’s not just FITs for wind and solar.  If you see it as this, I think you might want to look at it a bit closer (in particular at where research and development dollars are going, and on projected advancements and reforms).  These are just as much a part of Energiewende as anything else (perhaps more so given your concerns).

I think Germany is exceeding even it’s own expectations for these things.  They are behind on grid expansions and offshore wind development.  Other than that, everything seems to be going very well, they still have one of the most reliable grids in Europe, prices are stable, they are meeting carbon reduction targest, and they remain a dominent player in Europe with net energy flows to other countries.  Their economy is among the strongest in the region.  People know where the challenges are, and reforms are coming.  I don’t see any reason to be alarmed or otherwise concerned.  

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Jul 20, 2013 10:59 pm GMT

Do you have a link to support your contention that 55% of France’s capacity during last winter’s cold snap was provided by French wind and 30% from German wind? Seeing as wind provides a mere 8% of Germany’s own electricity that would seem highly unlikely.

Unlike Germany France relies on electricity for much of it’s heating needs, and because it’s generated from nuclear sources France has the lowest per-kwh carbon footprint in the EU, including “renewable” Germany. You can rail against the instability of French power one day this year, or you can observe the hundreds of times when Germany imported energy when the wind wasn’t blowing or the sun wasn’t shining. Much of this is imported nuclear, from France or from Temelin in the Czech Republic, less than 40km from the German border.

Instead of “Atomkraft: Nein Danke”, Germany seems to be saying, “Atomkraft: ja danke, in einem fremden Garten.”

Elidyl L's picture
Elidyl L on Jul 20, 2013 11:43 pm GMT

You aren’t reading my comment correctly.  

Wind producing at 55% capacity means the capacity factor is 55% during the energy shortfall (not that it is meeting 55% share of demand).  Demand is not met with capacity (but with energy).  These terms have fairly clear and conventional definitions.  If you don’t understand them, you might want to ask questions (rather than fault another for their correct application of these terms).  

Elidyl L's picture
Elidyl L on Jul 20, 2013 11:45 pm GMT

Sure thing.

France wind capacity 55%

http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2012/02/renewables-...

Germany was 22% (I remembered incorrectly).  

Davis Swan's picture
Davis Swan on Jul 21, 2013 12:41 am GMT

You and I clearly have very different and irreconciliable perspectives.  You seem to think that our current path forward, exemplified by Germany will get us to a sustainable energy environment so no major change in direction is required. 

I could argue that grid expansion will take decades, the Scottish/Norwegian willingness to become pumped storage for all of Europe is debatable and funding it would be hugely problematic, there is no such thing as firm wind capacity offshore or otherwise, and carbon sequestration and energy storage are in their infancy – nowhere near commercialization.

So from my perspective we need to focus on the tough problems – energy storage in particular – and back off all subsidies and incentives for PV Solar and wind for the time being. 

This is a zero sum game so the more money and resources thrown at PV Solar and Wind the less is available for Concentrated Solar Power, storage research, and smart grid development.  In the U.S. CSP projects are being converted to PV because of cost which is exactly the wrong direction to go in.

Maybe you are correct and everything is just fine and there is no reason to be “alarmed”.  That actually would make me happy.  But if you are not correct then the sooner we change direction the better.

As for Energiewende, let’s see what changes take place after the elections.  I will predict there will be many.

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Jul 21, 2013 12:44 am GMT

The 55% figure  is irrelevant. You could have one turbine with its blades spinning wildly, delivering 100% of its rated capacity, but the contribution would be insignificant.

The bottom line is that wind in its shining moment provided 3.6% of France’s demand while French nuclear provided over 16x that, at 80%+ capacity and unaffected by the whims of the weather. And tellingly German solar provided nothing at all, which makes sense because the coldest moments would be at night when solar panels are useless.

Most importantly your claim that wind “kept the French grid from crashing” is debunked by your own link:

“Both French and German grid operators noted that there was never any danger of a blackout as operators held some hydroelectric capacity on standby as an emergency reserve.”

If my comments seem on the vituperative side it’s only because I view the tendency of renewables advocates to overstate/mischaracterize the importance of renewable energy as a dangerous distraction from a very serious problem. As German smoke billows from its coal plants, trotting out these token contributions does not do a service to the German people nor the people of the world.

Elidyl L's picture
Elidyl L on Jul 21, 2013 3:54 am GMT

Be prepared to be happy.  

 

Energy storage is a matter of markets, not technical feasibility.  Costs will be rising soon enough where energy storage will start to displace fossil fuels (as a medium of energy storage).  We have the technology now.  

 

There’s no shortage of funds (since all renewables make money), there’s only a shortage of collective will (with vested interests slowly giving way to scientific or economic imperatives). Costs are dropping for renewables, and they are rising for everything else.  I’m not sure what this tells you, but this tells me that we are making the right choices.  Are we going to get there tomorrow, no, but we may get there soon enough. Coal is going nowhere, natural gas is a temporary fix, and yes we are running out the clock on fully sustainable energy alternatives: zero fuel cost renewables, energy storage, or Gen IV reactors.  

 

If you think we should be spending money on Gen IV, I’m not sure what to say.  The public won’t go for it.  Governments are not in a position to “fund” it (they simply can’t afford it).  There’s not way to scale it (to countries that need it most, i.e., who are unstable).  And it won’t fix the problem … since nuclear has never managed to displace more cost effective alternatives (and yes, I include France in this summary, since their energy system is ridden by debt and public supports).  Why not take a solution we have now, that’s scalable everywhere, and makes money.  I think it is a no brainer.  Only ideologues have a problem with it (as far as I can tell).  

 

Wind has plenty of firm capacity (as high as 30% nameplate in some energy planning regions).  I assume you haven’t looked into this very closely?

 

http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy08osti/43433.pdf

Elidyl L's picture
Elidyl L on Jul 21, 2013 4:09 am GMT

Did wind help or hurt? Please be clear on this. You calm irrelevancy (and nobody agrees with you).  If you think this is the case, please show us just one source (that confirms your view)? Because I don’t see it.  The numbers don’t bear that out.  The facts seem pretty clear.  Nuclear fell short (due to mutiple endemic features in the industry in France).  They imported electricity from Germany (which had large shares of renewables availabe for export).  And nobody needed to draw down on hydro (which was held in reserve in case anything else were to go wrong).  Prudent in my view (not irrelevant).  If you believe different, please show it (and an inependent or industry source would be helpful).  Otherwise, you seem to be doing nothing more than just making something up.  If so, why did France import any electricity in the first place?  

Elidyl L's picture
Elidyl L on Jul 21, 2013 2:57 pm GMT

Energy storage vendors booming at Intersolar North America Conference: “the number of companies exhibiting energy storage technologies at Intersolar has increased from about a dozen just three years ago to more than 200 this year.”  

 

http://www.forbes.com/sites/justingerdes/2013/07/18/solar-energy-storage...

 

Reducing subsidies will encourage investment in energy storage.  Selling electricity back to market when rates are high.  Looks like a winner for consumers in Germany and California (the fastest growing market for this stuff).

Elidyl L's picture
Elidyl L on Jul 21, 2013 3:58 pm GMT

More of the same …

FERC’s Energy Storage Ruling Could Jump-Start Big Batteries” (July 19).  FERC Order 784 improves rate recovery for storage operators, and is long overdue.  With fossil fuels so low for so long, energy storage is just getting started.  

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Jul 22, 2013 5:36 pm GMT

Wind helped a very small amount – 3.6% – completely disproportionate to the level of attention and public funding devoted to it. Had the wind not been blowing, as is sometimes the case, Germany would have simply fired up another coal plant to make up the difference.

Your turn. Do you have any support at all for your claim that Germany had large shares of renewables available for export? They clearly had no solar available whatsoever.

Elidyl L's picture
Elidyl L on Jul 22, 2013 6:51 pm GMT

Huh?  Why do I need a turn.  You seem to be supporting my argument quite well.  France electric grid reached a point of crisis, and or a “red alert” (the highest warning of it’s kind).  Wind and solar contributed nothing to the crises (but helped meet the energy shortfall).   German faced the same cold snap, and it’s grid was reliable with none of the same shortfalls (and 40% of it’s nuclear mothballed).  Wind and solar were contributing 12% to demand during the day, and 9% in the evening.   They even had energy to spare, and German exports met 1.8% of French demand.  

 

These are the facts.  If you wish to keep making my points for me (and highlighting the positive contribution from renewables to manage “red alert” in French electricity grid), please be my guest.  The more the merrier.  

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Jul 22, 2013 7:19 pm GMT

As it stands:

1) Your claim that German renewables “prevented the French grid from crashing” was shown to be a completely false – your own link makes no mention of renewables whatsoever and it was largely German baseload power (coal and nuclear) which was exported to France during the so-called “red alert”;

2) You’re unable to provide any backup for your contention that Germany had “large shares of renewables available for export”, unless you bizarrely consider 1.8% of France’s energy demand a large share of anything;

3) German renewables contribute nothing to the reliability of the grid – as they are everywhere, they’re a variable, non-dispatchable source which requires natural gas for load balancing to make them viable at all.

Dirty German lignite coal and leftover nuclear did all of the heavy lifting here, and about the best you can say with all honesty is that renewables “helped”. So did blankets.

These are the facts, and I hope you find them merry.

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