Germany’s Federal Network Agency Report Shows Power Grid “On The Brink” – Thanks To Renewable Energies

The German Bundesnetzagentur (Federal Network Agency) is the authority of the German federal government overseeing electricity, gas, telecommunications, post and railway networks. You know there’s a real problem when the agency itself issues a press release warning that the national power grid is in serious trouble and that something needs to be done urgently.

Steffen Hentrich of the Liberal Institute writes on how Germany’s once impeccably stable world-class power grid has been transformed and is today just one step away from being a developing-world laughing stock. This has all been accomplished in just a few short years – thanks to the country’s reckless and uncontrolled rush to renewable energies, wind and sun, all spurred on by a blind environmental movement and hysteria with respect to nuclear power.

In a press release íssued a few days ago the German Federal Network Agency reported that the burdens of the unsteady, forced feed-in of renewable energies poses a risk to the power supply in Germany unless the grid is expanded quickly. In Point No. 1 on page 10 in the summary of its Report on the Status of the Grid-Related Energy Supply in Winter 2011/12, they write:

1. The situation for the power grid in the Winter of 2011/12 was very precarious.”

Moreover, the report writes: “No. 5 Reserve capacity in Germany and Austria was strained on multiple occasions” and that overall (No. 6) “the power plant situation has adversely developed.” and that “regulatory measures are required in order to ban the shutdown of conventional power plants”.

The report adds that the grid disruptions occurring last winter can be avoided, but only with great efforts. Earlier the problem had been restricted to North Germany. But since the shutdown of nuclear power plants in the south (5000 MW), the problems of grid instability have spread nationwide. There’s an urgent need for reserve capacity.

Another huge problem is that the system is now characterised by great unpredictability, especially when it comes to supply by sun and wind. The report also sates that the current gas network is inadequate to balance out fluctuations.

Steffen Hentrich writes:

This does not only show how the replacement of conventional energy capacity through renewable energy is an illusion, but also how expensive the forced energy transition to renewables will be for citizens. The transformation of the energy supply, as it is now being conducted, cannot be supported by the arguments of environmental protectioi, supply reliability and economics, even when the reports of state officials allow us to see that none of these targets sells by iteself.”

The latest German report reveals a grid that is headed for disarray – and quickly. Welcome to the energy of the future.

    Will this be Europe’s energy supply of the future?

34 responses to “Germany’s Federal Network Agency Report Shows Power Grid “On The Brink” – Thanks To Renewable Energies”

  1. DirkH

    Beautiful video. From the description on youtube: “… but what the firemen try with the water cannon achieves the opposite of what was intended.” They obviously caused the explosion by trying to extinguish the burning cooling oil with water, leading to thermolysis of H2O and a hydrogen explosion.

    1. Casper

      Rather caused by a rupture of a tank due to extreme pressure. The splitting of the water requires a temperature above 3000°C. See the thermodynamics for water’s formation.

      1. oeman50

        The temperatures from the arc in a faulted electrical circuit can reach thousands of degrees. Also, electrical arcing through the cooling oil in a transformer can liberate hydrogen, this is used to track the potential for failure by analysis of the oil. At this scale, I am sure hydrogen was being liberated, without the addition of the water.

  2. Casper
    1. DirkH

      No, I don’t think so; shortly before the explosion you see the water from the firehose coming from the left.

      1. Casper

        I saw it. I still think it was a BLEVE. I know this phenomena from my security exercises. The water used for cooling may increase the mechanical stress if the tank is extremely hot. Anyway you saw a huge expanding vapor, and that was a sign of the BLEVE

        1. DirkH

          Well, maybe you’re right and it was a tank.

        2. Ville

          Since when has an expanding water vapour left billowing block smoke accompanied with a red-orange flame?

          Black smoke: probably from cyclic hydrocarbons, smilarly red-orange flame -color: glowing soot particles.

          As this was a transformer, I suppose cyclic organic hydrocarbons come from oli contained on the transformer, presumeaby burning PCB.

          The water from the firemen ruptured somehow the transformer so that the oil leak out.

  3. mwhite

    Our turn next

    “Reforms the electricity market to encourage more investment in low carbon generation and clean energy. Puts more restrictions on the emissions of new coal plants and creates a new independent regulator, the Office for Nuclear Regulation, funded by the industry. The Bill will affect England and Wales with the majority of proposals also applying to Scotland and Northern Ireland”

    I can see it now, BBC news reports of wide spread power outages in Germany. It’ll go right over the heads of thoughs in charge here, not a brain cell between them.

  4. DirkH

    Bavaria is still ruled by “conservatives”, the CSU, but of course their implementing Green policies like all other parties. So the local environment department makes a beautiful flyer, showing a beautiful village with several wind turbines in the middle of it and the slogan “100 % Energiewende – we do it”.

    Problem is, the wind turbines are photoshopped and the village is in a No Wind Power zone because it is particularly picturesque there and they want to preserve that for tourism.

    And I always thought wind turbines ATTRACT tourists???

    1. Casper
      1. DirkH

        The FDP guy said the only sane words. That’s why the Germans hate his party.

        I love it how they try to wreck the economy. I will buy back all the stocks for a pittance end of September.

    2. Bernd Felsche

      “And I always thought wind turbines ATTRACT tourists?”

      Just like cow pads attract wildlife.

  5. sunsettommy

    The voters needs to get these unplesant punches in the nose to wake them up from their semi conscious state.

  6. Bernd Felsche

    Germany can easily return to a stable electrical supply, without nuclear. But they will have to increase CO2 emissions by 20% in the sector within a year or two.

    ISTR that they are well on the way to meeting that target. Plenty of lignite in the East and gas under NRW. Wood pellets to be made from timbers cut in boreal forests.

    Germans will “no doubt” enjoy a return to the energy sources of the early 20th century.

  7. John

    The blast is a classic demonstration of a transformer explosion. It could happen with or without water present and is due to rapid release of grid energy in the presence of transformer oil and other vapourisible material including the copper of the windings. It all turns to vapour and expands rapidly. The result is what you see!

  8. DirkH

    For people interested in tracking the evolution of the German Pirate Party into a generic socialist-green party, this article provides the latest overview.

    1. Bernd Felsche

      It was to be expected. Without a clear objectives and some stout leadership to keep those objectives on the party’s main path, anybody can hijack the party and change the direction of its march under the original banner.

  9. Edward.

    The problems in Germany are mirrored in the UK, the LCPD will shut baseload coal and nuclear capacity is also being phased out [it will go dark soon in Britain unless we ignore the EU diktats], thus, the renewable option will require massive infrastructure construction: of new grid electrical power transference capacity.

    That’s bad enough but there is something else and it was let slip just recently, [I’ve no doubt the nutters in the EU commission and loons like Connie Hedegaard have their eye on this loony scheme]:

    Reading a brief article in the Times [no link] related to weather but it often rattles on about ‘green energy and renewables’ [like they do at every opportunity].
    And how, ‘green energy’…..windmills + PV cells etc – they will be marvellous, that we do not have a choice etc etc. In said recent piece, the author admitted that ‘sustainable energy and particularly whirlygig avian bird mincers were ‘unreliable’ but that, WHEN, there is a Europe wide grid from the Northern Atlantic to NORTH AFRICA – the inelastic capacities and variabilities will be OF COURSE BE able to be ‘ironed out’.

    So, these nutters are not only ruining German [and British] electrical power tranference, they want to black-out the whole European continent and then start messing in another [Africa – though there is not much to wreck there + EU money will sort it out……er we’ll have to pay of course] – this is a madness of energy megalomania and a pointer to a bigger plan and a greater design – agenda 21 springs to mind.

    A Europe wide super grid stretching into North Africa – wow……….. and the moon is made of green cheese.

    1. DirkH

      Stein’s Law applies: If something cannot go on forever, it will stop.

      The green madness will stop one way or the other; as Bernd has said above – Germany will burn more coal, every old power plant long decomissioned will be revived, the UK will do the same when push comes to shove. Failure of the renewables agenda is certain.

      The smallest gasoline generator I can buy (about 1kW) produces 1 kWh for 90 Eurocent – using overtaxed EU gasoline. That’s better than no electricity at all. Let’s look at the price history.

      That’s the residential US tariff from 1917. (the chart shows 1990 prices so 40% inflation over 20 years must be taken into account) HEY, not that bad!

      A 5kW class Diesel generator already achieves a price of 45 Eurocent/kWh…

      1. Edward.

        Thanks Dirk, some optimism [your logic] does me good sometimes – think I’ll go for the 5kw tho’:-)

  10. Allan MacRae

    Hi Pierre,

    The German energy crisis is not a surprise. We predicted this outcome a decade ago for those countries that adopted all the inanities of the Kyoto Protocol – see our point 8 below.

    8. The ultimate agenda of pro-Kyoto advocates is to eliminate fossil fuels, but this would result in a catastrophic shortfall in global energy supply – the wasteful, inefficient energy solutions proposed by Kyoto advocates simply cannot replace fossil fuels.

    Our eight-point summary* includes a number of predictions that have all materialized in those countries in Western Europe that have adopted the full measure of global warming mania. My country, Canada, was foolish enough to sign the Kyoto Protocol, but then wise enough to ignore it.

    To date, our predictive record is infinitely better than that of the IPCC. But then, none of the IPCC’s scary predictions have materialized.

    Our successful predictions were neither difficult nor high-risk – rather our points were logical and obvious to anyone with a strong technical background, who was not infatuated with global warming mania.

    Since we wrote our 2002 article, contrary to IPCC predictions, there has been NO net global warming, and probably some moderate cooling. This very-scary global warming crisis is so reliable – it never fails to underperform.

    The predictive record of the global warming movement and the IPCC is near-perfect, but in the negative – to date, it has been 100% incorrect – completely false.

    How does the global warming movement retain any credibility, when they deserve none?

    P.S. I predicted global cooling by 2020-2030 in an article published in 2003. It may happen sooner – maybe even about now. Bundle up!


    * Summary:

    Kyoto has many fatal flaws, any one of which should cause this treaty to be scrapped.

    1. Climate science does not support the theory of catastrophic human-made global warming – the alleged warming crisis does not exist.

    2. Kyoto focuses primarily on reducing CO2, a relatively harmless gas, and does nothing to control real air pollution like NOx, SO2, and particulates, or serious pollutants in water and soil.

    3. Kyoto wastes enormous resources that are urgently needed to solve real environmental and social problems that exist today. For example, the money spent on Kyoto in one year would provide clean drinking water and sanitation for all the people of the developing world in perpetuity.

    4. Kyoto will destroy hundreds of thousands of jobs and damage the Canadian economy – the U.S., Canada’s biggest trading partner, will not ratify Kyoto, and developing countries are exempt.

    5. Kyoto will actually hurt the global environment – it will cause energy-intensive industries to move to exempted developing countries that do not control even the worst forms of pollution.

    6. Kyoto’s CO2 credit trading scheme punishes the most energy efficient countries and rewards the most wasteful. Due to the strange rules of Kyoto, Canada will pay the former Soviet Union billions of dollars per year for CO2 credits.

    7. Kyoto will be ineffective – even assuming the overstated pro-Kyoto science is correct, Kyoto will reduce projected warming insignificantly, and it would take as many as 40 such treaties to stop alleged global warming.

    8. The ultimate agenda of pro-Kyoto advocates is to eliminate fossil fuels, but this would result in a catastrophic shortfall in global energy supply – the wasteful, inefficient energy solutions proposed by Kyoto advocates simply cannot replace fossil fuels.

  11. Allan MacRae

    E.On Netz, the largest wind power generator in the world, in their report “Wind Power 2005″ describes the problems.

    One of the greatest disadvantages of wind power is the need for almost 100% conventional backup. E.On Netz says the “substitution capacity” in Germany was 8% in 2003, and will drop to 4% by 2020. See Figure 7 in the E.On report.

    In concrete terms, this means that in 2020,
    with a forecast wind power capacity of over
    48,000MW (Source: dena grid study), 2,000MW of
    traditional power production can be replaced by
    these wind farms.

    Another big problem with wind power is that power varies as the cube of the wind speed – this causes sharp peaks and valleys in the power output from wind farms, so extreme that it can cause the entire grid to crash – try that in winter – remember the 1998 Ontario-Quebec ice storm? Many people died as a direct result of this huge power failure.

    A near-miss occurred in German during Christmas week of 2004 – see Fig. 6 in the E.on report.

    The feed-in capacity can change frequently
    within a few hours. This is shown in FIGURE 6,
    which reproduces the course of wind power feedin
    during the Christmas week from 20 to 26
    December 2004.

    Whilst wind power feed-in at 9.15am on
    Christmas Eve reached its maximum for the year
    at 6,024MW, it fell to below 2,000MW within only
    10 hours, a difference of over 4,000MW. This corresponds
    to the capacity of 8 x 500MW coal fired
    power station blocks. On Boxing Day, wind power
    feed-in in the E.ON grid fell to below 40MW.

    Handling such significant differences in feed-in
    levels poses a major challenge to grid operators.

  12. Bernd Felsche

    Noises in southern Germany are that the Greens will obstruct the building of new gas-fired power stations which fill the chasms of demand not filled by “renewables” and to replace the capacity lost due to religious fears of nuclear.

    If the Greens succeed, then remaining, energy-intensive industries in that part of the country will have to relocate even more of their production to e.g. Hungary and the Czech Republic, leaving only a few paper-pushers in Stuttgart, Neckarsulm, etc.. What the Greens don’t seem to understand is that affordable energy is the key to modern civilization; or they do and want to deliberately destroy civilization, dooming millions to poverty, famine disease and early death.

  13. Edward.

    “affordable energy is the key to modern civilization; or they do and want to deliberately destroy civilization, dooming millions to poverty, famine disease and early death.”

    Indeed Bernd, yes indeed.

    In the UK, the Victorian engineers were the first to understand this simple fact, energy and lots of it – makes our lives more productive and therefore more liveable.

    Without cheap and plentiful energy, our lives our not SUSTAINABLE, simple as that.
    Greens are anti mankind, it is a psychosis of misanthropy.

  14. Allan MacRae

    Fossil fuels (oil, coal and natural gas) comprise over 85% of global primary energy – the remainder is mostly nuclear and hydro. Wind, geothermal and solar don’t amount to much, and neither do biofuels.

    It is ironic that so many people in the developed world loath energy companies, and yet fossil fuels are essential to keep them and their families from freezing and starving. Many Europeans and North Americans have bought into this irrational hatred – as they huddle in their homes during this cold winter, perhaps some of them will realize that rational energy policies and capable energy companies are essential for their survival.

    I have worked much of my career in the Canadian and international energy industry.

    Occasionally, some imbecile will attack me and the energy industry, as evil doers who are destroying the planet.

    I respond that the energy industry keeps him and his family from freezing and starving to death.

    It is true – shut down the energy industry and few people would remain alive in Canada, the Northern USA or Northern Europe.

    In our specialized modern society, everything from heating our homes to our food supply is dependent on the energy industry.

    Allowing ignorant politicians to dictate energy strategy is like letting your four-year-old drive your car. Happy Motoring!

    1. DirkH

      The Laws Of Stupidity
      1st Law: Always and inevitably everyone underestimates the number of stupid individuals in circulation.
      2nd Law: The probability that a certain person be stupid is independent of any other characteristic of that person.
      3rd Law: A stupid person is a person who caused losses to another person or to a group of persons while himself deriving no gain and even possibly incurring losses.
      4th Law: Non-stupid people always underestimate the damaging power of stupid individuals. In particular non-stupid people constantly forget that (at all times and places and under any circumstances) to deal and/or associate with stupid people always turns out to be a costly mistake.
      5th Law: A stupid person is the most dangerous type of person.

      1. DirkH

        Contrast this with the popular idea that actors in a market are rational – yes, most of them are, but the number of stupid people amongst the actors is nevertheless enough to lead to a market behaviour that is best described as catastrophic (in both directions). Such is the power of the stupid individual!

  15. Recent Energy and Environmental News – 15 May 2012 « PA Pundits – International

    […] Germany’s Power Grid on the Brink (due to renewables). […]

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