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Sun Jul 20, 2014, 06:52 AM

Ignore the Smears: Germany’s Green Energy is 1/3 of its Power, Price Falling, Coal Down

http://www.juancole.com/2014/07/ignore-germanys-falling.html



Typical Solar Installation (in Germany)

Ignore the Smears: Germany’s Green Energy is 1/3 of its Power, Price Falling, Coal Down
By contributors | Jul. 20, 2014
By Roy L Hales

Germany’s renewable sector (RE) is flexing its muscles, with solar production up 28% and wind up 19% during the first half of 2014. As a result, the renewable sector accounted for 31% of the nation’s electricity. If this trend continues, this may be the third year in a row that Germany sets a record for energy exports. The increase in renewables has also been accompanied by a decrease in fossil fuel usage. Gas-fired power plant production is down 25%, compared to last year, and hard coal production fell 11%. Only lignite power usage rose. So what does solar energy mean to Germany’s utilities?

In the video Birthing a Solar Age, Jerry Rifkin points out that so much renewable energy was fed into the grid one day last month that the price of electricity fell below zero. He predicted there will be more days like this, and in the future Germany’s utilities will not want to sell electricity, as they lose too much money!

Max Hildebrandt, renewables expert at Germany Trade & Invest, points out that it is important to distinguish between the wholesale spot market price and the consumer market price, and to note that utilities in the EU have seen gradual unbundling into grid-side and generation and supply operations.

“Negative prices on the EPEX spot exchange are a relatively rare but not unusual phenomenon,” he said. “They occur only during short peak periods – usually around noon when solar radiation is highest – and not for entire days. They are merely a signal for the large-scale spot market participants and do not have an immediate effect on the more rigid prices in the consumer market.”

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Reply Ignore the Smears: Germany’s Green Energy is 1/3 of its Power, Price Falling, Coal Down (Original post)
unhappycamper Jul 2014 OP
DetlefK Jul 2014 #1

Response to unhappycamper (Original post)

Sun Jul 20, 2014, 07:05 AM

1. The problem is the electric grid.

Renewable energy sources come with big fluctuations in voltage. That's especially true for wind. Large-scale use of such electricity-sources needs a modern and well-maintained power grid that can steer and balance such fluctuations to ensure that everybody gets exactly the amount of voltage he expects from an AC socket.

At least in the short term, nuclear energy is indispensable: It creates a reliable baseline to which the fluctuating contributions of renewable energy sources are then added.

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