Germany 2014 Report Card Is In! Its 25,000 Wind Turbines Get An “F-“…Averaged Only 14.8% Of Rated Capacity!

Resistance to wind power in Germany is snowballing. And it needs to be noted that this resistance is grass roots and sustained almost entirely by volunteers and privately donated time and effort.

In the latest wind energy critical site here has a report summarizing the performance of Germany’s wind turbines in 2014. Again the result is so ugly that the wind industry does not want anyone to see it. writes in response to the wind industry’s recent boastings of yet another successful “record” year:

Rolf Schuster finalized the evaluation of the actual wind energy feed-in data in order to counter the propaganda with honest figures.

The most important result: 14.8 percent.

The following diagrams depict the installed capacity in light blue shading, i.e. the cumulative capacity of all Germany’s wind turbines.

As is easy to see, the installed rated capacity has been expanded because new turbines were installed over the course of the year. This is the so-called ‘record’.

The dark blue area shaded depicts the energy that was actually fed in. Here it is easy to see that wind energy is extremely volatile. During some quarter-hour periods the roughly 25,000 turbines indeed delivered a lot of power. But at other times they delivered practically nothing.

One does not even see any real available baseload – a sort of reliable minimum output to rely on.”


Germany’s 2014 installed wind turbine rated capacity (shaded light blue), and the actual power fed in (dark blue). The average: 14.8%! Chart by Rolf Schuster, see here.

The next three charts at (not shown here) show the January-April, May-August and September-December periods respectively with a higher resolution so that readers can get a better idea of the extreme volatility one gets with wind energy.

The following table sums up the “honest figures” one really gets with wind turbine energy:


Source: Rolf Schuster, here.

The left box shows a total of 39,612 MW of installed rated capacity. The maximum energy fed in was 29,687 MW (74.9% of rated capacity) briefly in December. The absolute minimum was only 24.0 MW (0.06%), probably barely enough to power a single large cement mill.

The average was 5868 MW or 14.8% of the installed rated capacity.

Theoretically that means 85.2% of the rated capacity did nothing the entire year. Imagine a company where only one of seven workers ever show up for work.

The box above on the right also provides interesting figures. They show that Germany’s wind turbines as a whole ran at between 0 to 10% of their rated capacity 45.5% of the time (3986.75 hrs)! The turbines, which the German government says will become the “workhorse” of the German power industry, ran at over 50% of their rated capacity only for 461 hours, or just 5.2% of the time.

It’s little wonder that wind turbines have been assigned the failing grade of “F”. But what else could one possibly expect from a student who shows up for lectures and does his homework only a few times per semester, and stays in bed 6 out of 7 days a week? And now comes the funny part: The parents of this lazy, total-failure-of-a-student are forced to pay Ivy league level tuition – 20 years long! And don’t expect the lazy bum to have a degree of any sort when he walks off campus at age 38.

Little wonder calls wind turbines the sloth of the energy industry.


28 responses to “Germany 2014 Report Card Is In! Its 25,000 Wind Turbines Get An “F-“…Averaged Only 14.828 Of Rated Capacity!”

  1. DirkH

    It’s a money machine: Buy politicians, have them force ratepayers to put 20 extran billion Euro year into the machine, get as much out of it as possible with huge wind park subsidies.

    It has neither the purpose of saving the climate, nor of supplying energy.

    The climate scientists are the propagandists tasked with deluding the public into believing in an apocalyptic fairytale, when all of it is in fact simple theft.

    1. Streetcred

      Dirk, These are not energy generators, they are cashflow generators … these wind edifices are spectacular at generating risk mitigated long-term income streams. For the ‘bankers’ what’s there not to like ?

  2. A C Osborn

    How much energy have the “idling” Turbines consumed in that time?

  3. Ric Werme

    So, wind turbines go on holiday for July just like the people do?

  4. R2Dtoo

    This an easy to understand and informative summary. Are there similar summaries for the UK and the USA?

    1. Wind Energy's Absurd

      Renewable Energy Foundation (REF)

  5. Mike Heath

    Yes, this helps to make more sense of the chart shown a few days ago. Does anyone know how much it cost to generate each megawatt by wind compared to nuclear and coal?

    Also, how much of the 100% capacity was not really capacity since perhaps some of the turbines were not yet online, or not finally commissioned, or something.

  6. Jimbo

    Hi Pierre, consider this as a post.

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    just for the record, wind turbines typically don’t get capacity factors higher than 35%… It depends on the local wind resource available. The article fails to mention this.


      To be fair, average wind resource in Germany allows for ~20% capacity factor. The article should mention this as people may not be aware of how it is difficult to compare free-fuel electricity sources to fossil fuel plants. 14.8% out of 20% sounds a lot less bad than presented here.

      It’s all about levelized cost of electricity LCOE… Taking into account all capex and opex, which generator is cheapest? It will be a whole new discussion on what costs should be included there! –> Grid integration costs for wind will be higher… But perhaps costs incurred from health impacts due to emissions will be higher for fossil fuel based electricity.

      1. DirkH

        “Taking into account all capex and opex, which generator is cheapest? It will be a whole new discussion on what costs should be included there! –> Grid integration costs for wind will be higher… But perhaps costs incurred from health impacts due to emissions will be higher for fossil fuel based electricity.”

        Maybe a whole new discussion for you; we’ve been talking about it for ages. So , when wind generates 0.6% of nameplate capacity, whatcha think has the smaller CAPEX and OPEX then? And the tired old bogeyman of the health impacts again… that didn’t make wind turbines viable in the past and will not in the future, flue gas scrubbers are just too cheap to make the 16th century contraptions competitive; only massive theft can.

  8. Jarmo Kanerva, Finland

    Wind turbines consume, about 13 % of the energy they produce.* Energy is used for maintenance, lights, heating, defrost etc. The blades are turned when there is no wind so that the bearing get oiled etc. One estimation is 50-80 kW.* The power is taken from external power network. The negative power is even higher then in the study in Finland, because on low winds and cold climate and long winters.


    The picture above do not include this negative energy.

  9. Karl-Heinz Dehner

    I performsd my own evaluation of the data provided by the “Netzbetreiber”.
    It can be seen at my wordpress blog. Perhaps you may find the presantation interesting.

  10. John F. Hultquist

    Anyone is free to make a comparison the way they choose. The grid still needs full-time 100% load backup. The turbine folks get subsidizes and preferred status and other producers get shafted. Within a few years the government will be the holder of record for the base load generators. As the turbines fall over or otherwise fail ‘Government Electric’ will approach solvency. I suspect the folks most pleased by this plan are lawyers –- full employment as far into the future as can be seen.

  11. Rick W

    Germany and China have made tremendous advancement in solar and wind technology by lowering production costs. Germany has been the leader and probably at the bleeding edge of the development.

    Here in Australia we benefit significantly from this technology. Even in Melbourne I average 4 hours of sunshine a day. Off grid solar/battery systems are economic in suburbia here without any subsidy. The economic solution here would be for suburban houses to be self-sufficient and more concentrated housing developments to have shared solar parks with battery storage and standby diesel. There would be substantial saving on grid costs using fully distributed local electric power production. This is similar to how mobile phones have replaced much of the copper. Emerging countries can simply put up radio towers rather than networks of copper.

    Grid operators here have started to install large battery storage in developing industrial areas to lop peak demand rather than upgrading grid capacity.

    Other parts of the world like the middle east enjoy even more sunshine than Australian cities so the economics favour solar/storage over fossil fuel if that fuel goes to an export market.

    Some of the wind turbines on Australia’s southern coast enjoy a capacity factor of 35%. Some inland are under 20%.

    At this point in time the economic merits for solar, wind, storage, fossil, nuclear, hydro, wave, thermal etc are location dependent. German technology is probably directly benefitting other countries more than it benefits Germany. But then there is export of products and know how – some parallels here to the German automotive industry. What company is the reigning F1 constructors champion and what technology are they using. Can the French catch up on power unit technology and Perth boy Dan be the next world driver’s champion.

    1. Bernd Felsche

      Even in Melbourne I average 4 hours of sunshine a day. Off grid solar/battery systems are economic in suburbia here without any subsidy

      Pull the other one. It plays Waltzing Matilda.

      The price of off-grid solar is *astronomical* for domestic purposes unless you’ve got to pay $50,000 or more to get electricity to your home. Here’s the price of a small 12 kW·h system: $45,000 (including GST) [Another supplier.] And that has only enough storage for 2 days when the sun “shines less” than 4 hours. In Melbourne, there can be weeks that the sun doesn’t shine. Just like over in the sunny West where we get at least one 5-day period a year where the insolation is dismal. And once every couple of years (at least), there are 10 consecutive days where there’s stuff-all. Those are the data from the monitoring of insolation at a local Agricultural Research Station.

      BTW: that 12 kW·h system has only a 4600W inverter so you can barely run a decent electric kettle and washing machine at the same time.

      People who engineer off-grid systems tend to minimise battery storage and just chuck in a 5kVA diesel generator for the dull periods. Without a generator, the costs of annual battery maintenance is close to that of grid electricity.

      These costs are hardly “economic”.

      Like everything else that you’ve written, it’s beyond mere “spin”. It’s an outright lie.

      1. Rick W

        You are no doubt doing the sums on Lead/Acid battery. They are borderline economic. Lithium has changed the game. I have been operating 3kW off grid solar with 5kWh storage for 18 months and so far there is no loss of storage. The load is my fridge and freezer that has winter daily demand of 2kWh and summer demand up to 4kWh. The nominal 100Ah lithium cells have delivered 120Ah on the two occasions I took them to minimum voltage.

        The off grid portion maximises the income from my 3kW on-grid with the highest FIT. So this is a money making venture for me but would still be economic if I went off grid – I lose the FIT but I gain the service fees for both gas and electricity. The current off grid system was to do long term assessment of the battery technology. All off grid components were purchased without subsidy and I base my cost of capital on the current term deposit rate that I get on my savings.

        As populations age the world is awash with savings so cost of capital is continuing to fall. Solar provides the opportunity for me to be independent of others for my energy needs. I have reduced my exposure to price inflation on energy, which has a long record in energy supply in Australia. Germany has one of the oldest demographics in the world. They can put their savings into renewable energy that has low ongoing costs or loan money to southern Europe in the vain hope of one day getting it paid back!

        1. clive

          I say Bull Shit.If its so good why is Germany building Coal fired power plants as fast as they can?

        2. DirkH

          Rick W, you are the first person on the planet who has made solar energy + Lithium storage work profitably without subsidies, according to your words. Congratulations! My advice: Start selling your system, you will be the next Elon Musk or Steve Jobs, because nobody else can compete with you.

  12. Deguello

    what is the government prescribed feed-in tariff required to be paid for wind turbine power, and what is the average wholesale price for conventionally produced power in Germany?

  13. BobW in NC

    This report and follow-up comments… ARE! DAMNING! When is this C*** going to come to an end?

    From John F. Hultquist “The grid still needs full-time 100% load backup.”

    A great follow-up study would be to document day-by-day the percent of rated capacity provided by the wind turbines.


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  15. Stephen Richards

    When will you green idiots gt it into your head that solar and wind generated energy is worthless except to the landowners, turbine makers and generating companies. Germany has spent € billions and continues to spend €Billions each year on this crap. If the same CAPEX had been spent on nuclear the baseload would have been improved, their lignite power station building would not be necessary and the rest of europe would not be burdened by their irregular, excessive, destabilising and crapy green energy.

    Get it? Green energy is useless, expensive and unnecessary.

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