Recent Storm Over Europe Exposes The Lies Of The Energiewende…Is A Stable Grid A Thing Of The Past?

Fred F. Mueller at the European Institute for Climate and Energy (EIKE) here writes about how the storm that swept across Europe in late March exposed the lies of the German Energiewende (transition to renewable energies).

With the current rate of growth in renewable energy installations, Mueller writes that it’s just a question of time before the grid gets overloaded just by the renewable energies under certain weather conditions and that it will no longer be possible to dump the surplus  uncontrollably fed in power into neighboring power markets.

Mueller writes how at the end of March Germany saw a combination of high winds and lots of sunshine. During the recent storm there was lots of wind energy production accompanied by lots of solar power production due to large gaps in cloud cover.

According to German flagship national daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) the surplus energy led to massive costs to power consumers and double digit million costs for the power grid operators, who naturally will simply pass these costs along to the consumers. The situation in late March was so precarious that hundreds of wind turbines were ordered switched off.

The FAZ reports that a record amount of power was fed into the grid due to the strong winds and abundant sunshine: At 2:15 pm a total of 44 gigawatts of sun and wind energy were fed in, which equals the power output of 31 nuclear power plants.

EIKE author Rolf Schuster has compiled the data on installed solar/wind capacity in Germany as of the end of February 2015: a total of 78 gigawatts of capacity that comprises 40 gigawatts of wind and 38 gigwatts of solar. Had the storm hit later in the spring, the situation would have been even worse because more solar power would have been produced, probably another 10 gigawatts.

Rolf Schuster compiled the results of the storm in Table 1: Datum = date; Stunde = hour; Preis = exchange price; Menge = amount; Summe1 = sum 1; Summe2 = sum 2.

Table 1: The nominal exchange losses stemming from the negative prices on 29 – 30 March. Note: Every figure under 50 €/ MWh in reality means that most conventional power plants had to incur losses (Figures from EEX: Table Rolf Schuster)

According to the data in the hours leading up to the storm, power with a market value of almost 3 million euros had to be “given away for free” to foreign markets at negative prices. However, Mueller writes, that was only a small part of the costs. Grid operators wound up losing anywhere from 10 million to 60 million euros during a three day period. According to the FAZ, a total of 20.3 gigawatts of reserve capacity had to be used in order to stabilize the power supply in south Germany. Moreover hundreds of wind turbines had to be taken offline. Yet the affected windpark operators still got paid for the power they did not produce – as is required by Germany’s renewable energy feed-in act. These costs eventually get paid by the consumer.

This time the power grid withstood the overloading from the storm. But Mueller writes that whoever believes the worse is now behind and we all can sit back and relax with the knowledge the power grid can withstand anything, they are being terribly naïve. In Germany within the scope of the Energiewende, it is planned to install approximately 330 gigawatts of wind capacity and possibly 100 gigawatts of solar capacity by 2050.

The result, Mueller writes, is that already on moderately windy and sunny days the grids will become overloaded with “green power” because there is still no storage technology available. The physics is clear: this will inevitably lead to a “collapse in the power supply”. Here so-called “power autobahns” (major cross-country transmission lines), which certain profiteers of the Energiewende are trying to sell us as the wonder cure against the consequences of their own politics, aren’t going to help.

44 responses to “Recent Storm Over Europe Exposes The Lies Of The Energiewende…Is A Stable Grid A Thing Of The Past?”

  1. Kurt in Switzerland

    Sadly, it looks as though some form of disaster will be required to finally put a stop the misguided policy of attempting to obtain an ever greater percentage of electrical power from renewable sources, for no reason other than attempting to be the world’s “Sonderknabe” in matters of “sustainability.”

    It would appear that a majority of the populace (as well as the politicians) believes that installing “more solar + wind” is sound policy (certainly that it is “ethically correct”).

    Sadly, it is not. It is bad for:

    the elec. pwr. mkt. (increases volatility & # of days of negative price)
    the environment (more structures + transmission lines, less green space)
    the consumer (ever-increasing prices)
    industry (high energy industries will emigrate to low cost countries)
    utilities (makes break-even that more difficult)
    the public coffers (as though € 23B annually weren’t enough of a deficit)…

    If something is not economically sustainable, it can not be considered sustainable. For once the subsidies / market advantages are removed, it will collapse. And Germany will have ghost towns of idle reminders of her once vaunted “Energiewende” — the question isn’t if, it’s when!

    Kurt in Switzerland

    1. DirkH

      I see disastrous policies on all fronts. It seems to me as if this generally catastrophic outlook correlates with an extinction of rational thinking in Central Europe, partially caused by all pervasive Green propaganda.

      What we do have is an overproduction of Macchiavellists, competing at the tax money trough, and a dearth of intelligence.

      And that is the one thing they can’t mandate; the price for intelligence.

      So, every dark cloud has a silver lining. Not for these perishing countries but for the few individuals who are still in command of their senses.

    2. sod

      “the elec. pwr. mkt. (increases volatility & # of days of negative price)
      the environment (more structures + transmission lines, less green space)
      the consumer (ever-increasing prices)
      industry (high energy industries will emigrate to low cost countries)
      utilities (makes break-even that more difficult)
      the public coffers (as though € 23B annually weren’t enough of a deficit)…”

      I do not get this.

      The German grid srtill is the most stable in the woprld. No need to worry!

      http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stromausfall#Zuverl.C3.A4ssigkeit_der_Stromversorgung_in_der_Bundesrepublik_Deutschland

      The “overload” was caused, in part because coal and nuclear plants did not reduce power output by much (15%)

      http://www.taz.de/!157664/

      This can also be seen in the march graph here:

      https://www.energy-charts.de/power_de.htm

      The EEG is not increasing, CO2 levels are falling.

      If we reduce deployment of renewable power (as seems to happen under CDU/SPD government these days) we will not see a significant increase in cost.

      There is no catastrophic scenario in sight!

      1. DirkH

        “If we reduce deployment of renewable power (as seems to happen under CDU/SPD government these days) we will not see a significant increase in cost.”

        That’s true. The less you produce of a subsidized good the more money you have left over. Sod, was that a mistake on your part? Because, it would be the first time ever you said something correct.

      2. DirkH

        “The “overload” was caused, in part because coal and nuclear plants did not reduce power output by much (15%)”

        sod, you will not know this, as you are getting your technical information from supreme outlets like the “taz”; so I’ll tell ya. Power plants as opposed to wind and solar have a limited, specified ability of ramping production up and down; say, by a 100 MW/hour or whatever the plant is specified to do.

        As German politicians in their infinte wisdom have decreed that the erratic power sources wind and solar, with their incalculable and instantaneous up- and down ramps, have to have absolute priority, it follows that they simply overwhelmed the regulating capacity of the regular, reliable power plants. Because, there is absolutely no spike in demand on an Eastern weekend.

        So, it was your favorite technologies again, the GW-random generators wind and solar, that gave NRW a taste of things to come.

        So, as I said: When in Germany, take the stairs, not the elevator.

      3. Graeme No.3

        Can anyone translate into german (for me) the following english saying?

        Why remain silent and be thought a fool, speak out and remove all doubt.

        1. Stephen Richards

          SOD. I think this is the abbreviated german translation.

      4. AndyG55

        Oh look, on 10.04 and 11.04… basically NO WIND energy at all.

        Very useful !! NOT .

        What a waste of time this wind energy really is..

        A toy, a fad.

  2. DirkH

    “Moreover hundreds of wind turbines had to be taken offline. Yet the affected windpark operators still got paid for the power they did not produce”

    Most German Bundestag members own shares in wind turbine operators.

    Maybe sod is the offspring of one of them?

  3. DirkH

    Another question relating to the EU socialist juggernaut – as I just found two news items, one, the EU Kommissars trying to enforce that all digital products must be available everywhere in the EU for the same price, ruining traditional country-exclusive rights packages sold by e.g. movie producers, the other, the EU Kommissars threatening Switzerland for their rejection of limitless mass immigration, demanding the Swiss be forced to vote again until they vote the right way, – so, the question is: Is the EU consciously destroying freedom, like Rothschild/Warburg consciously created the Bolshevist state in Russia by financing Bronstein and Lenin to topple the Social democrat government in the October Revolution? Same motive, the creation of a regime of serfdom to benefit the oligarchs?

    Links to the Kommissar’s latest shenanigans
    http://www.welt.de/politik/ausland/article139352935/EU-will-von-Schweiz-neue-Zuwanderungs-Abstimmung.html
    http://www.breitbart.com/london/2015/04/09/meddling-eu-wants-to-call-time-on-british-tv-music-and-film-industries/

  4. Ed Caryl
    1. sod

      Thanks, interesting link!

      I urge everyone to take a look at it. Especially this paragraph:

      —–
      “However, this situation rapidly improves for lower penetrations. For example, wind in Germany is well aligned with seasonal demand (i.e. wind output is highest in winter when electricity demand is also highest). Solar is misaligned with seasonal demand in Germany, but it does produce electricity during the daytime when electricity prices are higher. Thus, it can be estimated that intermittent renewables will receive about 10% above the average price at negligible penetration levels due to the premium during winter months and day hours shown in the two figures below:.”
      —–
      (if you do not look at the top production weeks, wind and solar make good money!)

      I also think that the article is raising a legitimate point of critisim on wind and solar: To what extend will they drive down their own power price?!?

      ——————

      I still disagree with the majority of the article. I do not think that ” that Germany uses a lot of the dispatchable capacity of its neighbours” is a useful phrase, even when limited to high solar weeks.

      If you look at the last couple of months, you see that Germany is constantly exporting and basically never importing electricity.

      https://www.energy-charts.de/power_de.htm

      The only real imports happend last july/august.

      I think this analysis needs to look at the use of “base load” to make any sense. How much is it reducing its output?
      and it needs to look at the neighbours in more detail (for example, is there export happeining in the south and import in the north or the other way round)?

      In general, the article isignoring basically all positive news. more than another year has passed and the system is still working fine. Many things are improving (storage), prices are dropping (offshore wind, for example).

      http://www.maritime-executive.com/article/worlds-cheapest-offshore-wind-farm-underway

      1. DirkH

        “prices are dropping (offshore wind, for example). ”

        Offshore wind is way more expensive than onshore wind.
        Consumer prices have not dropped. They also have not risen in 2015 – because clouds in August 2014 wrecked the solar output, and as sod already understood, producing less of a subsidized product SAVES YOU MONEY.

        If we’re lucky, the Grand Solar Minimum will make German climate so cloudy that we get less and less of solar electricity, thus saving maybe 10s of billions a year.

        These paradoxic “less production is better” news is typical for a socialist regime that misallocates all resources.

  5. JJM Gommers

    A week ago a serious power blackout happened in the Schiphol area(netherlands). No reason was mentioned about the cause.
    It starts to become suspicious this kind of trouble.

  6. Stephen Richards

    A few years ago the CEO of the UK grid said that the UK would have to get used to not having power 24/7.

  7. A C Osborn

    Something esle to add to the Energiewende, this time it is the Danes having the problem trying to unload excess energy to Germany.
    http://www.thegwpf.com/as-germans-block-danish-wind-a-new-feud-tests-crisis-weary-eu/

    1. sod
      1. DirkH

        Well it boggles the mind how stupid Die Welt has become. “Sweden wants to sell wind energy. Germany wants to use more renewable energy. Supply and demand seem to be a perfect match.” I mean really. That’s below the quality of even warmunist blogs.

        They have probably stopped paying their writers and work with unpaid interns now.

  8. sod

    The times are changing. Vancouver is pledging to go 100% renewable (all uses). It currently gets 32% from renewable sources.

    http://talkofthecities.iclei.org/blog/4-days-to-the-iclei-world-congress-vancouver-votes-for-100-renewable-energy-target/

    And even the US is changing, adding more renewables than ever before and retiring 7% of its coal plants.

    http://about.bnef.com/press-releases/us-power-sector-emissions-poised-fall-two-decade-low-transformative-year/

    The Bloomberg paper is worth reading:

    http://about.bnef.com/content/uploads/sites/4/2015/04/BNEF_2015-02_AMER_US-Power-Fleet-De-Carbonisation-WP.pdf

  9. DirkH

    Here’s another thought.

    How big should the exclusion zone around a big wind turbine be?

    1. DirkH

      Background:
      The exclusion zone in Czernobyl is about 20 times 30 km.
      While traveling the Autobahn I frequently pass by near wind turbines with 150m height.
      Safety distances to next human settlement have been reduced in Germany to as little as 350 m, depending on the federal state.
      But Denmark has stopped all onshore wind installations for 2 years now until they know more about the damaging effects of Infrasound to animals and humans.

      So, what’s appropriate? Infrasound carries a long way. 10×10 km for a group of wind turbines? 20×20 ?

      And if we have such large exclusion zones, wouldn’t this be a great opportunity to build a nuclear power plant in the middle of it as well, as we know that even Czernobyl didn’t require much more?

  10. Eloi

    let’s imagine wind and solar on a free market : when they produce, and so make electricity and revenue, ALL of them produce at the same time, and so overproduction, collapse of the price, and so no revenue.

    It’s impossible for wind and solar alone to make a revenue on a free market.

    Consequence is that if all producers had the responsability to guarantee constant fourniture of electricity (what makes most part of its value), they should have a mix of ~50-50% wind/coal and so really higher costs.

    A solar/wind MWh has almost a null economic value…

    Subsidies for eeg or equivalents in other countries is a real killer for ellectricity networks. Let’s hope this madness will stop before all infrastructure and skills are definitively destroyed.

    1. sod

      please read this article linked by Ed Caryl above:

      http://theenergycollective.com/schalk-cloete/324836/effect-intermittent-renewables-electricity-prices-germany

      —–
      “However, this situation rapidly improves for lower penetrations. For example, wind in Germany is well aligned with seasonal demand (i.e. wind output is highest in winter when electricity demand is also highest). Solar is misaligned with seasonal demand in Germany, but it does produce electricity during the daytime when electricity prices are higher. Thus, it can be estimated that intermittent renewables will receive about 10% above the average price at negligible penetration levels due to the premium during winter months and day hours shown in the two figures below:.”
      —–

      solar and wind provide electricity that is worth MORE than other sources in Germany. It gets a 10% higher price at current penetration, if you do not look at the “oversupply” weeks only.

      This advantages is shrinking, if more of the same wind/solar gets deployed.

      But up to a pretty high level, solar and wind, at current prices and competing against NEW fossil fuel would make money!Please stop ignoring this fact!

      1. DirkH

        “But up to a pretty high level, solar and wind, at current prices and competing against NEW fossil fuel would make money!”

        So you say the 24 billion Euro per year in subsidies are unnecessary and qualify therefore as grand theft? I do agree that criminal charges should be brought.

        1. sod

          “So you say the 24 billion Euro per year in subsidies are unnecessary and qualify therefore as grand theft? ”

          no. the EEG “umlage” paid today is for contracts made in the past, when wind and especially solar were expensive. That is the reason, why we added more solar/wind than in the first few years last year, but the amount did not rise significantly.

          the last Eu energy “czar” came from my part of Germany (oettinger). He commissioned a report about subsidies, but his burocrats made a big error, so the report contains the truth:

          The EU is still giving much more subsidies to coal and nuclear than to renewable power.

          http://www.sueddeutsche.de/wirtschaft/foerderung-der-energiebranche-oettinger-schoent-subventionsbericht-1.1793957

          So the report had to be rewritten…

      2. DirkH

        I also think that everyone living in the 10*10 km exlusion zone around a 150m wind turbine behemoth should sue the state for damages to his property, compensation for the loss of property value, and compensation for bodily damage and mental anguish, including suing the state media for their relentless lying about the damaging effects of the giant Infrasound generators.

  11. Brian H

    It’s not just schadenfreude to rejoice at the implosion of Energiewende. The world needs a dramatic ‘Horrible Example’ and Germany is self-nominated and elected by acclamation. Enjoy your notoriety!

  12. Brian H

    Edit: Schadenfreude
    (capitalized noun). verzeihen Sie, bitte.

  13. sod

    California just says, that the grid can hanle 100% renewables and that 50% are no problem at all.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-04-14/california-power-grid-seen-able-to-handle-100-renewables

    Hawaii is aiming for 100% and 70% in a short term. This will save money.

    http://www.utilitydive.com/news/report-hawaii-can-get-to-100-renewables-70-in-short-term/387492/

    France could also get 100% renewables, although in the long run (2050).
    the difference ion cost betwen 40% renewables and 100% renewables seems to be tiny.

    http://www.windpowermonthly.com/article/1342140/france-100-renewables-2050

    1. DirkH

      sod 18. April 2015 at 09:28 | Permalink | Reply
      “California just says, that the grid can hanle 100% renewables and that 50% are no problem at all.”

      Hey maybe let Jerry Brown fix the water crisis, the high speed rail and his states unlimited illegal immigration probs before taking him seriously?