EIKE: German Power Grid More Vulnerable Than Ever…”On The Brink Of Widespread Blackouts”!

There was a time when Germany’s power was mostly generated by the traditional sources of coal, nuclear, oil, natural gas and hydro. These sources were reliable and keeping the power grid under control was a routine matter. Germany’s power grid was among the most stable worldwide. But then came Germany’s renewable energy feed-in act, and with it the very volatile sources of sun and wind.

As a result, today’s German power grid has become a precarious balancing act, and keeping it from collapsing under the load of wild fluctuations has become a real challenge. At the European Institute for Climate and Energy (EIKE) here, Dr. Klaus Peter Krause writes a piece titled: Always on the brink of a widespread blackouts, where he writes how and why Germany’s power grid has become extremely vulnerable:

Already 3500 emergency grid interventions per year – According to the TAB report of 2011: More than a couple days of blackout would be a national catastrophe – Germany sacrifices its uniquely reliable power supply for the ‘transition to renewable energy’.”

One example Krause cites is a recent incident at the Trimet aluminum plant in the industrial city of Essen:

In the last 12 months the German power grid barely averted a collapse twice by shutting down production. The Westfälische Rundschau (here) on 17 September quoted Trimet Chairman Martin Iffert: ‘We are prepared that something like that would happen as a consequence of the transition to renewable energy, however we were surprised that we had to slam on the brakes already two times.’ According to Iffert the power grid had been on the ‘brink of collapse’ shortly after a drop in wind energy.”

Krause writes that the frequency of emergency grid intervention by grid operators has skyrocketed since renewable energies started coming on line, see the chart here depicting the number of times emergency interventions in the German power grid have been taken each year. Before 2006 grid operators rarely had to take action to keep the grid stable. The number of interventions took off in 2008, and has since spiraled uncontrollably.

Krause writes:

Thus the power supply in Germany is no longer secure enough. It is even highly vulnerable. A blackout could occur on any given day. Up to now they have been successful at averting grid collapses by taking lightning speed action, but the number of emergencies has increased massively and is still rising.”

The instability of the German power grid was even confirmed by Jochen Homann, President of the Bundesnetzagentur, as quoted by German national daily FAZ on 25 June 2014:

Due to the shutdown of the nuclear power plants [in the wake of Fukushima] and the installation of renewable energy generation, the existing power grid is however under considerably more stress. The transmission network operators, who are responsible for the functioning grid operation, must intervene in the use of the grid far more often in order to ensure the stable operation of the grid.”

Krause then explains that the power-consumer protection agency NAEB wrote in a recent member newsletter of volatile power, and how Germany had once acted as a pillar of stability for the overall European-wide power network. “This stability is being sacrificed for no urgent reason and irresponsibly for the sake of the transition to renewable energy, whereby the damage will impact even all of Europe.”

Just how serious the implications of Germany’s unstable power grid are is poignantly described by a German government-commissioned report (TAB, no. 17/5672) of 27 April 2011, where the chance of a massive blackout can no longer be excluded. The summary of the report writes:

Because of the complete proliferation of electrically powered devices in the living and working world, the consequences of a widespread and long-lasting power outage would accumulate to a level of damage of considerable quality. Impacted would be critical infrastructure, and a collapse of the entire society would hardly be preventable.“

Krause writes that just how precarious the situation has become is almost unknown to citizens, and so many are ill-prepared.

He adds that even a power outage of even several hours or a day would cause massive disruptions and paralyze the public transportation of persons and goods, stranding tens of thousands, and blocking fire and medical rescue services, especially in urban areas. Gas stations would be out of order and fuel would thus be lacking. And because of today’s just-in-time supply chains, food at supermarkets would disappear very quickly.

Granted, Krause writes, that the chances of a big blackout are small, but warns the chances are growing and becoming a real threat. “Because of the ‘increase in decentralized and stochiastic power feed-in’, the risk of a grid failure and higher outage rates in on the rise. Here wind and solar energy are meant“.

Moreover, experts say that the German power grid is more vulnerable than ever to storms, snow, ice, criminal activity, terrorism, or just plain human error. All the vulnerability is due to a recklessly applied disorganized renewable energy policy. Krause summarizes:

Germany, like all modern industrial countries is highly vulnerable to possible power outages. But with its energy policy, Germany’s leadership is increasing the risk, without any urgent reason, in a wanton irresponsible manner.”

Finally, Steffen Hentrich, of the Liberalen Institute of the Friedrich-Naumann Foundation for Liberty wrote one year ago (here):

It’s no longer a secret that the almost unbridled expansion of so-called renewable energies in the context of a technically and economically overloaded power grid will become a risk for the power supply stability in Germany, and increasingly for our European neighbors.”

 

21 responses to “EIKE: German Power Grid More Vulnerable Than Ever…”On The Brink Of Widespread Blackouts”!”

  1. crosspatch

    It is my opinion that the nuclear power operations should be restarted. Until they are, Germany will continue their slide into eventually being a third world country. If that is what the people want, I suppose that is okay, but I am not convinced that the majority of Germans want to live in mud huts.

    1. gallopingcamel

      The “Old Nukes” should be restarted be and “New Nukes” should be encouraged.

      So how do you encourage “New Nukes”? It is time to listen to give people like David LeBlanc and Kirk Sorensen. Give them a chance to show what they can do:
      http://energyfromthorium.com/2011/05/03/nuclear-power-innovation/#IDComment828965857

  2. John F. Hultquist

    Amazing! Actually hard to believe national leaders would do this to their country.

    Equally astounding is the move to restrict reliable electricity to the developing world.

    1. DirkH

      We have no national leaders; we have pan-European leaders.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paneuropean_Union

    2. michael hart

      We’re commemorating the 100th anniversary of European politicians doing something worse to their countries. Don’t underestimate their capacity for incompetence.

  3. DirkH

    …and the spinning reserve hinges on Russian gas supply, which is threatened by possible Russian countersanctions… which gives me the bridge I need to link to this marvelous blistering piece of satire by Die Anstalt about German state media reporting about the Ukraine…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SE1tI1hk-FY
    Die Anstalt (The Institution; meaning the state media) is a ZDF production; and managed to smuggle in this piece even though their own broadcaster is of course part of the NATO psyop bloc. I guess there is a war withing raging.

    1. Bernd Felsche

      Thanks for that. A chink of enlightenment in the armour of darkness.

  4. Graeme No.3

    “writes that just how precarious the situation has become is almost unknown to citizens, and so many are ill-prepared.”

    So, the first blackout of 24 hours will be a very big shock to the ordinary citizen, followed by panic and outrage. It will take more than insincere promises for politicians to escape retribution. The vote for AfD will soar, and the lifestyle of many ex-Green politicians will suddenly be much less comfortable.

    1. mwhite

      They’ll blame the Russians???

      1. DirkH

        Of course. The blackout will be blamed on a shortage of Russian gas. Our state media will ignore that russian countersanctions will be perfectly legitimate answers to the sanctions the EU imposes on Russia. Even less people will believe the state media.

        The first few people are stopping to pay the ransom to the state media, citing paragraph 20 of the constitution (duty to resistance against an anticonstitutional activity – the constitution forbids preparation of an attack war.).

  5. gallopingcamel

    Gobsmacking!

    I used to love California because they would do dumb stuff so the rest of us would not have to!

    Now we should sincerely thank the Germans for being dumb enough to try running a modern industrial economy on windmills and solar energy.

    Please also give a small round of applause to Spain for showing that solar energy destroys jobs:
    http://www.juandemariana.org/pdf/090327-employment-public-aid-renewable.pdf

  6. Stephen Richards

    The german people will not allow the government to restart (if they can) the old nuclear stations until a major collapse occurs. It always takes a disaster to wake people from their madnesses.

    The greens will, of course , blame the russians and ukranians which will allow some awakened idiots to go back to sleepwalking to disaster.

    1. DirkH

      I think that there is more to the story. The nuke phase out plan was rushed through in a panic, and even illegaly – the state now has to pay compensation. Which doesn’t bother him obviously. So why the panic?
      I think that Fukushima was a lesson.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsunami_bomb
      Japan had announced to unload US treasuries right before it happened.

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  8. Herve D

    To Dirk: No, we don’t have european leaders, we have US-controlled politicians in charge (an executant cannot be a leader…), even if elected.
    Our pseudo-democratic political system is far less freedom than existing communist-liberal system in China…!

  9. DirkH

    RED ALERT; watch out for Shellshock, everybody who runs an internet connected server; security hole in bash (since 20 years); published yesterday, first attacks in the wild. First patches out as well, but still incomplete protection.
    Test code:
    x=”() { :;}; echo HACKED” bash -c “”

  10. Moose

    Just guessing here, but the huge problems they are having with windpark Bard could be a sign of things to come for their national grid when more windmills come online and deliver more unreliable power.

  11. Val Martin

    It will take a severe black out with severe suffering to teach the German people that they have been the victims of an elaborate hoax. They were led to believe reliable mains electrical power can be provided by wind and solar energy. It cannot be. A simple test of existing wind energy would prove this, but the green agenda was ingrained in every organ of government and held influence on policy. Ireland is following Germany’s and the media are suppressing criticism. Its just the way it is.

    1. Bernd Felsche

      There’s an (inevitable) irony that darkness is often necessary to bring enlightenment.

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