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​​​​​​​Is Germany Too Dependent On Renewable Energy?

Is Germany Too Dependent On Renewable Energy?

Germany now generates over 35 percent of its yearly electricity consumption from wind and solar sources. (My footnote: this is a misleading data, Read: installed capacity, not electrical energy) Over 30 000 wind turbines have been built, with a total installed capacity of nearly 60 GW. Germany now has approximately 1.7 million solar power (photovoltaic) installations, with an installed capacity of 46 GW. This looks very impressive.

Unfortunately, most of the time the actual amount of electricity produced is only a fraction of the installed capacity. (My footnote: this is a more accurate data...Worse, on “bad days” it can fall to nearly zero. In 2016 for example there were 52 nights with essentially no wind blowing in the country. No Sun, no wind. Even taking “better days” into account, the average electricity output of wind and solar energy installations in Germany amounts to only about 17 percent of the installed capacity.

The obvious lesson is: if you want a stable, secure electricity supply, then you will need reserve, or backup sources of electricity which can be activated on more or less short notice to fill the gaps between electricity demand and the fluctuating output from wind and solar sources.

The more wind and solar energy a nation decides to generate, the more backup capacity it will require. On “bad days” these backup sources must be able to supply up to 100 percent of the nation’s electricity demand. On “good days” (or during “good hours”) the backup sources will be used less, or even turned off, so that their capacity utilization will also be poor. Not very good economics.

Much better would be to limit wind and solar to a relative minimum, and rely instead upon controllable, non-fluctuating power sources operating with a high capacity factor, to meet the nation’s base load electricity requirements and to adjust total output in accordance with varying demand. This corresponds to world-wide practice prior to the recent huge buildup with renewable energy.

In theory the ideal backup for wind and solar energy would be to store excess electricity produced when the Sun is shining and strong winds are blowing, and inject it back into the grid when needed. Unfortunately, electricity is a difficult and expensive commodity to store.

If we want the system to be largely CO2-free, then the only available option is nuclear energy.

By Jonathan Tennebaum via Zerohedge.com

 

Discussions

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Feb 4, 2020 2:36 pm GMT

Germany now generates over 35 percent of its yearly electricity consumption from wind and solar sources. 

(My footnote: this is a misleading data, Read: installed capacity, not electrical energy)

Are you sure this is misleading, Noam? Looking at the data, I see that Germany generated 518.13 TWh of electricity in 2019 and 127.23 TWh came from wind and 46.54 TWh from solar for a total percentage of 33.4%. Where are you seeing data that counter this statement?

Noam Mayraz's picture
Noam Mayraz on Feb 4, 2020 6:15 pm GMT

Matt, yes, I am sure.  The media confuses the name plate rating (potential production, in MW) with electrical energy generated (actual output X time, in MW-hour).  

Fossil-fueled power plants operate 24/7/365 (8760 hrs) with minimum time down, much like your car.

Germany divulge that their solar plants operate 10% to 13% of the time and wind from 17% to 20% of the time. 

I posted that before.  The media selects different quotes, figures and ignores the facts - to present those meager results...  

Meager is an adjective - (of something provided or available) lacking in quantity or quality.

Excerpt out of the above article: "... the average electricity output of wind and solar energy installations in Germany amounts to only about 17 percent of the installed capacity."

Look at those images, to make the reports public they include all types of other technologies....  Basically, the wind is below 20% and the solar below 10%.  Try to decipher those charts...

https://www.bing.com/images/search?q=germany+power+mix&id=C9BB498BF5702D8D3480D447F4AC6C6D3DBDEB2A&form=IQFRBA&first=1&cw=1117&ch=481

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Feb 4, 2020 9:12 pm GMT

The media confuses the name plate rating (potential production, in MW) with electrical energy generated (actual output X time, in MW-hour).  

Agreed this happens in the media all too often, but the source I cited (https://www.energy-charts.de/energy_pie.htm?year=2019) comes from from the power providers themselves: https://www.energy-charts.de/ren_share.htm?year=all&source=wind-share&period=annual

In fact, the bing search of images you've included are showing data for 2016 and earlier, when in fact the portion from solar/wind was less. In 2016 your image shows 18.2% in total (https://1-stromvergleich.com/medien/power-generation-germany-2016.png), and the source I provided more or less agrees putting it at 20% total (https://www.energy-charts.de/energy_pie.htm?year=2016). 

So if you look at my initially provided link, it's for 2019 when it has increased to be over 33% from just wind and solar. Some fast growth, but shows the importance of using the most up to date data!

Noam Mayraz's picture
Noam Mayraz on Feb 5, 2020 9:07 pm GMT

Matt,  may I suggest a 5:50 mi quality viewing?

This John Stossel's 5:50 minutes piece, is the best yet, bar none, debunking the vacant claims of the "Climate Change" deniers. Debunking is a verb, expose the falseness or hollowness of (a myth, idea, or belief).

https://lnkd.in/dBMXtXm

Noam Mayraz's picture
Noam Mayraz on Feb 7, 2020 6:40 pm GMT

Matt, really???  I disagree with you.  All the related announcements are pure BS.  

https://www-greentechmedia-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/www.greentechmedia.com/amp/article/nextera-inks-even-bigger-windsolarstorage-deal-with-oklahoma-cooperative

Excerpt: The powerhouse renewables developer contracted this week with Oklahoma-based Western Farmers Electric Cooperative to build the largest proposed solar-plus-wind-plus-storage plant in the U.S. The Skeleton Creek facility, slated for completion by the close of 2023, will include:

  • 250 megawatts of wind capacity (which will arrive first, before the end of 2019)
  • 250 megawatts of solar power
  • 200 megawatts/800 megawatt-hours of battery storage

Here is Sorage Batteries Engineering 101

https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=35132

Noam Mayraz's picture
Noam Mayraz on Feb 4, 2020 10:28 pm GMT

Matt, here is a follow up:

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-10-10/germany-s-bet-on-solar-power-may-get-lost-in-the-wind

Excerpt: "As a result, Germany has built up quite a position in wind. Last year, according to Bloomberg NEF, it generated about 17% of its energy from wind and only 7% from solar. According to the International Renewable Energy Agency, Germany accounted for 29% of global technology and equipment exports in wind and just 5% in solar. And last year, the wind industry employed almost 141,000 people in Germany, compared with fewer than 30,000 for the solar industry."

Observation:

Germany is looking for more solar PV with empirical production results on 10% to 13% per year vs. the wind turbines that operate anywhere from 17% to 20% of the time.

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Feb 4, 2020 10:54 pm GMT

I can't see the data behind the claim on the Blomberg article, but I wonder if the difference in the numbers we're seeing is that Bloomberg is saying "17% of energy" and the numbers I'm citing are as a percentage of electricity generation (meaning the Bloomberg numbers are including direct burning of fossil fuels for heating, industrial, etc.). 

Noam Mayraz's picture
Noam Mayraz on Feb 6, 2020 8:19 pm GMT

Matt, you're splitting hair.  Statistics was intended to confuse the reader.  The "scientists" and politician just lie to us.

They intentionally select portion that they see fit for publication and intentionally confuse nameplate (MW) with energy production (MWH).

The fact of the matter that those wind and solar are working 10% to 25% of the yearly hours (8760) in the best case. 

Would you invest in a car that is available 10% to 25% of the yearly hours (8760)???

That you have to pay a cub to stand by for the balance 90% to 70% hours??   What is sooo hard to swallow here?

Is this concept sooo hard for you to grasp? 

What am I missing here??  You are sooo hard core, would not let it go away?

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Feb 6, 2020 9:55 pm GMT

Don't think I'm splitting hairs, Noam-- you called out a statistic as wrong, I was simply sharing how the data I found supported the original statistic. Facts need to be facts before any conversation can be productive. The fact is, data shows that the solar+wind generation (in MWh, not MW) does in fact match about 30-35% of Germany's total production. 

Noam Mayraz's picture
Noam Mayraz on Feb 6, 2020 8:44 pm GMT

Bob, watch this piece, you'll enjoy it.

This John Stossel's 5:50 minutes piece, is the best yet, bar none, debunking the vacant claims of the "Climate Change" deniers.

Debunking is a verb, expose the falseness or hollowness of a myth, idea, or belief.

https://lnkd.in/dBMXtXm

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Feb 4, 2020 4:20 pm GMT

"If we want the system to be largely CO2-free, then the only available option is nuclear energy."

Q.E.D.

Noam Mayraz's picture
Noam Mayraz on Feb 4, 2020 5:51 pm GMT

Webster: which (is what) was to be shown (originally) —abbreviation QED —used at the end of a logical or mathematical proof.

Bob, I am a strong proponent of base-load steam turbines.  Nuclear power plants are a classic example, combined cycle do that too. 

In trust that you are aware that in a combined cycle the HRSG's recover for the steamer to produce 50% of the energy of the combustion turbine.

In other words, if the combustion turbine is producing 200 MW, the steamer will do 100 MW.  In 2 X 1 configuration, two 200 MW GT's with a 200 MW ST, put out 600 MW. 

Working at a simple cycle the same fuel is converted to heat but produces 400 MW only.

Read: California is pushing for this energy waste and higher costs to support the renewables, which operate about 20% of the time...

https://247wallst.com/industrials/2019/06/25/ge-shuts-down-california-natural-gas-fired-power-plant-20-years-early/

GE Shuts Down California Natural Gas-Fired Power Plant 20 Years Early Last Thursday, General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) filed a decommissioning and demolition plan for its Inland Empire Energy Center, a natural gas-fired electricity generation plant in Riverside County, California. The gas-fired plant opened in 2009.

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Feb 5, 2020 1:40 am GMT

"The plant is highly efficient but is not designed for the needs of the evolving California market, which requires fast start capabilities to satisfy peak demand periods."

So if I understand correctly Noam - GE is forced to close a high-efficiency plant because it lacks fast-start capability - so now peakers will be used not only to provide CA electricity for the "other 70%" when renewables aren't available, but to charge batteries too?

Noam Mayraz's picture
Noam Mayraz on Feb 5, 2020 9:10 pm GMT

Bob, yes, you got it right - retail cost of electrical energy in California tripled since the push for renewables commenced.

You must understand the nature of the beast - steam turbines must be heated up slowly, while rotating on the turning gear, to prevent warping of the shaft. 

Those must be kept hot in any 24/7/365 situation, but are allowed to produce around 70% of the time. 

We call those steam power plants base-load; they supply the back-up power that we call 'spinning reserve' - must be paid by the taxpayers and/or the ratepayers.

May I suggest a short, 5:50 min, quality viewing for you?

This John Stossel's 5:50 minutes piece, is the best yet, bar none, debunking the vacant claims of the "Climate Change" deniers. Debunking is a verb, expose the falseness or hollowness of (a myth, idea, or belief).

https://lnkd.in/dBMXtXm

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Feb 6, 2020 4:49 pm GMT

Noam, tripling is probably a stretch, but Shellenberger has shown CA rates have risen seven times as fast as national ones since our Renewable Portfolio Standard was introduced, and there's no shortage of data demonstrating renewables are to blame.

You obviously have vast experience gained over a career in utility energy, and I agree with much of what you have to say on EC. But can we leave politics and climate change out of it? You'd be amazed how little money is available to climate scientists for research grants, compared to the $trillions in oil and coal profits dependent on marginalizing evidence of anthropogenic climate change. Follow the money - the latter is separated from the former by several orders of magnitude.

In any case, ideologues like John Stossel can teach me nothing about climate change, nor can Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez or Bernie Sanders. Science is apolitical - let's keep it that way.

Noam Mayraz's picture
Noam Mayraz on Feb 6, 2020 8:10 pm GMT

Sorry Bob, you are totally wrong.  The money is the symptom not the cause.  The Sun's "Climate Change" by mankind is a big hoax, a SCAM, a fraud.  That's all there is to that.

I ansered all your related questions before - the Earth climate, GHG included, is by yjr Sun.  Only irresponsible brain-dead morons, could follow that as were Galileo and Columbus detracted.

This John Stossel's 5:50 minutes piece, is the best yet, bar none, debunking the vacant claims of the "Climate Change" deniers. Debunking is a verb, expose the falseness or hollowness of (a myth, idea, or belief).

https://lnkd.in/dBMXtXm

Noam Mayraz's picture
Noam Mayraz on Feb 6, 2020 8:32 pm GMT

Bob, I just do not get it.  I pay in Texas $0.099 / kWh.

In California they pay $0.285.  Could not you calculate the ratio???

$0.099 / kWh to $0.285 / kWh is not """Noam, tripling is probably a stretch,""" 

Okay, use your own slide rule to calculate these charges ratio.

Verbatim copied:

"Bob Meinetz on Feb 6, 2020 4:49 pm GMT

Noam, tripling is probably a stretch, but Shellenberger has shown CA rates have risen seven times as fast as national ones since our Renewable Portfolio Standard was introduced, and there's no shortage of data demonstrating renewables are to blame."

Noam Mayraz's picture
Noam Mayraz on Feb 6, 2020 8:24 pm GMT

Bob, your statement above is sooo wrong.

"But can we leave politics and climate change out of it? You'd be amazed how little money is available to climate scientists for research grants, compared to the $trillions in oil and coal profits dependent on marginalizing evidence of anthropogenic climate change."

Watch John Coleman (Weather Channel) beat CNN hands down

That section, 3:08 to 5:08 minutes out of 10:24 minutes - has it all, including what motivates 97% of the climatologists.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OhX2KQs3v5w&feature=youtu.be

Transcript:

There is no consensus in science, science isn’t a vote, science is about the facts, if you get down to the hard cold facts, there is no question about it, climate change is not happening. There is no significant man-made global warming now, there hasn’t been any in the past, and there’s no reason to expect anything in the future, there’s a whole lot of baloney, and yes it has become a big political point of the Democrat party and part of their platform and I regret it’s become political instead of scientific. 

The government puts out about two and a half billion dollars directly for climate research every year, it only gives that money to scientists who will produce scientific results that support the global warming hypothesis of the Democrat Party of position so they don’t have any choice if you’re going to get the money you’ve got to support their position. 

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Feb 9, 2020 7:46 pm GMT

Read what you wrote, Noam - you claim "there is no significant man-made global warming now, there hasn’t been any in the past, and there’s no reason to expect anything in the future, there’s a whole lot of baloney," and blame it on "the Democrat party".

Then, you say you "regret it's become political instead of scientific." Oh, really? Who's making it political, Noam? Who's not offering a word of science in support of his position?

"There is no consensus in science, science isn’t a vote, science is about the facts."

There are no absolutes in language; words are added to Webster every year based on them entering common usage. The word "fact" itself is defined by common usage - by consensus.

Though man-made global warming might not be a fact in a few scientists' definition of the word, it is in the definition used by the vast majority of them. Thus, by consensus alone, anthropogenic climate change is indeed a fact.

Noam Mayraz's picture
Noam Mayraz on Feb 10, 2020 6:37 pm GMT

Bob, you bottom line statement is pure BS, incoherent and totally wrong, unacceptable statement I have ever read.

"Though man-made global warming might not be a fact in a few scientists' definition of the word, it is in the definition used by the vast majority of them. Thus, by consensus alone, anthropogenic climate change is indeed a fact."

One clarification: The climate has been changing since creation, we have evidence for about 6.4 billion years.

Excerpt: "...it is in the definition used by the vast majority of them. Thus, by consensus alone,..."  Could you prove this vacant statement??? 

I challenge you - provide evidence for this ignorant people language.  “Everybody says so, it must be true…  How lower could you go??

Anthropogenic Climate Change. Anthropogenic climate change refers to the production of greenhouse gases emitted by human activity.  Maybe, just maybe that the CO2 is the result of the Sun’s changes, not the cause???

The "Climate Deniers", like yourself, are blaming everything on God Green Earth, but the Sun. 

The sun is responsible for the climate on all planets, bar none.  Blaming CO2 is simply idiotic idea, rooted with a brain-dead people aka moron.

Attacking carbon dioxide is hate speech against Mother Nature

The more you really examine the scientific truth about carbon dioxide rather than the politically-charged “hate speech” against Mother Nature being spewed by people like Al Gore, the more you realize CO2 is a crucial nutrient for the Earth’s environment and ecosystem.

In fact, the vast majority of all the CO2 released into the atmosphere is produced by Mother Nature via animals in the ocean. Anyone who criticizes CO2 is attacking ocean life and condemning trillions of aquatic creatures who exhale carbon dioxide as part of their natural respiration. (Should they all be fined?)

Besides, all those people who keep sounding the alarm on CO2 are being too negative all the time. Nobody spews more doom and gloom than Al Gore and the global warming crowd who paint apocalyptic pictures of Earth’s future if we all don’t start paying carbon taxes to the super rich. Stop being so negative!

 

Noam Mayraz's picture
Noam Mayraz on Feb 10, 2020 7:03 pm GMT

The earth is a planet while the sun is a star. 2. The earth is a solid piece of rock while the sun is more or less composed of dangerous gases. 3. The sun is 100 times bigger in the diameter than earth. It also has 1,000,000 times more volume than earth, not to mention, a surface area that’s 10,000 more.

https://www.bing.com/th?id=OIP.3Qq4kh0Oo9IZaTiqx7j2YAHaFj&pid=3.1&w=300&h=300&p=0

https://www.bing.com/search?q=the%20Sun%20vs.%20Earth&qs=n&form=QBRE&sp=-1&pq=the%20sun%20vs.%20earth&sc=8-17&sk=&cvid=63B015F3C26D4948B59404016ECD91D7

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