Engineering PhD Calls Germany’s Renewable Energy Drive “A Disaster” And “A Debacle”

Wild market prices

Firstly, wind energy protest organization vernunftkraft.de posted a chart showing the sheer absurdity of relying on the haphazard electricity supply that wind and solar energies are.

Last Sunday Germany saw windy and sunny conditions, meaning the country’s installed wind and solar systems were running at high capacity. This however led to excess power flooding into the German grid, and thus a plummet in exchange electricity prices.

Market exchange price of electricity on the EEX Leipzig exchange. On April 30 and May 1st 2017, wholesale prices went deeply negative. Source: EEX Marktdaten Strom, by Rolf Schuster. www.vernunftkraft.de/uploads/Ahlborn.pdf

The chart above shows that electricity was in fact sold at negative prices, dipping to an astonishing low of almost 75 euros per megawatt hour.

Unfortunately the money to pay people to “buy” the electricity never gets paid to the consumer. Rather it gets paid mostly to foreign wholesalers. Yet, the German grid operator needs to recoup the money it paid to have the wholesalers to accept the power. In the end, the domestic consumers in Germany wind up with the bill.

How much did the negative prices seen over the past weekend end up costing the German consumers? One reader calculated it and came up with the figure of over 41 million euros! And because May 1st was a national holiday, the demand for German power was low, and there was no use for all the extra power flooding into the grid. It’s like cooking dinner – after everyone has already eaten. And because there is no fridge, the garbage man has to be called and paid to dispose of it. So far electricity cannot be stored on a meaningful scale.

Wild supply variability

Continuing on the folly of Germany’s renewable energy, engineering expert Dr. Detlef Ahlborn authored a post at the European Institute for Climate and Energy (EIKE), declaring the transition to renewable energies a failure and that it will remain so as long as a solution for storing the energy is not found.

Again the huge problem is the extremely erratic, uncontrolled supply of the power, as the following German wind energy supply chart clearly illustrates:

Figure 3: Wind power production Germany from 2011 to 2016. Installed rated capacity rose from about 27 GW to about 48 GW. However the power that was actually produced (dark blue) is in fact often only a tiny fraction. Overall, Germany’s demand hovers about 70 GW. Source: Rolf Schuster, data from EEX Leipzig.

More variable then rolling a die

Dr. Ahlborn describes the extreme variability of wind power in Germany as follows:

The variability of German wind power production is about 70% greater than the numbers you’d see rolling a die. If German power providers ran their plants like throwing a die, the power would flow more uniformly. [1]”

Of course wind energy proponents like to say that the solution is a European-wide integrated network where if the wind is not blowing in one region, then excess power in another region can fill in the gap. After all, “the wind is always blowing somewhere in Europe” they like to say. However, the following chart plainly illustrates that this is far more a fallacy than a truth.

Wind production by the 15 European countries (dark blue) and by Germany (light blue). Chart by Rolf Schuster

Very often when there’s plenty of wind in Germany (or very little), the case is the same in the rest of Europe. With that kind of supply, good luck trying to balance any grid that is overly dependent on wind energy.

Ahlborn writes that combining the power grids to form one large one only serves to add up the variability and not reduce it.

“Unworthy” for Germany

Summarizing Ahlborn calls the total result of wind energy so far “bitter”:

This Energiewende [transition to renewables] is unworthy for a country with such a tradition in science and technology. We could have known if we had just given it a bit of thought. But who wanted to know?

We’ll find out at the latest when we start looking for those who are responsible for this debacle, and policymakers attempt to run from taking responsibility for this disaster. Our former economics minister has already taken the first step.”

To that, EIKE added: It can only be hoped that the former economics minister (Sigmar Gabriel) will cause less damage in his new position as foreign minister.

 

36 responses to “Engineering PhD Calls Germany’s Renewable Energy Drive “A Disaster” And “A Debacle””

  1. sod

    “Ahlborn writes that combining the power grids to form one large one only serves to add up the variability and not reduce it.”

    this is false. he does not provide any numbers, but he also does not make this specific claim.

    1. sod

      ah i found the paper that he is basing this claim on:.

      http://www.vernunftkraft.de/de/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Ahlborn_415_Korr-1.pdf

      he is trying to confuse people who know nothing with a statistical artefact. (high correlation on regional wind still causes spikes to increase).

      the question is, how important are these spikes.

    2. sod

      here is the problem with his math:

      let us look at his example, a dice 6 random event. Variance can be calculated in a simple way. average result is 3.5 (GW or what ever). Variance is calculated by summing up the squares of the results minus that average. to simplify the calculation we just look at the upper numbers (4 to 6) and represent them with their average (the number 5). so 5-3.5 gives 1.5 and a square number of 2.25 (the real result is about 3, as the most extreme number, here 6, will have the biggest impact).

      So what happens when we double out output?

      No problem, we simply multiply the die roll with 2. Average of the upper 3 numbers now is 10, and the difference to the average 7 is 3, which squares to 9. A massive increase from the 2.25 above….

      so yes, an increase in wind output will increase the variance, if we do not normalise the results.

      1. AndyG55

        “will increase the variance”

        which is exactly the problem. !

        DOH !!!

        still unreliable.. even more irregular, ..

        ..making reliable solid power supplies leave the system because of feed-in mandates force them to run at peak inefficiency.

  2. sunsettommy

    Warmists,

    LOVE intermittent low mass power production,it mirrors their fantasy beliefs in CO2,is pollution stupidity.

    The chart above should have been enough to show how problematic Solar and Wind power is to the economy, but watch the silly warmists come in extolling the occasional non economical power production, that Wind and Solar is.

  3. Greg61

    It is the same where I live in Ontario Canada. We ship excess wind power to border USA states at a loss – billions per year. That is after shutting down the supply from Niagara Falls – possible the most natural, least expensive available source in the world. It is shut down because we are obligated to take power from the high cost subsidized wind and solar generators whether it is needed or not. Nuclear plants are sometimes also forced to boil water and let off steam since they can’t be shut down on a whim, but also cannot add more unneeded power to the grid. It’s pure insanity.

    1. JK Walker

      I live in New York. Thank you for your below cost power! I will live my lights on in your honor. Just kidding, I understand your pain. I supply OPG so I keep track of the leftist lunacy in Ontario, we have the same here in the states.

  4. Robin Pittwood

    Hi Pierre, the article highlights well the ruin that lies ahead if we continue to pursue intermittent and uncontrolled sources of energy. Instability and outages will follow. You might be interested in some articles I have been writing. I’m having a go at describing the concepts behind power grid stability including the inner workings of a synchronous generator, control governors, the relationship between energy imbalance and frequency shift. I’m about half way through. Cheers from NZ.

  5. DirkH

    But all you have to do is buy enough Teslas. Their super expensive batteries can be used to store electricity for your neighbour’s coffee machine. All you have to do is not drive it.

  6. sod

    Most problematic part of the article is this part:

    ” Übrigens tritt dieser Totalausfall der Windstrom-Produktion mehr oder weniger regelmäßig auf und ist längst Realität, z.B., als die Windstromerzeugung am 13. März 2014 auf 34 MW, entsprechend 0,1% der installierten Nennleistung, abgesunken ist. Da flächendeckende Hochdruckgebiete in Zentraleuropa häufiger auftreten, ist nichts anderes zu erwarten.”

    yes, wind going down to zero happens regularly. That is, why he chose an example from 2014 and a wind map from 2011.

    the data is directly contradicting him.

    “Der Tag mit den niedrigsten Winderträgen war der 2. 10. 2014.
    Mit einer durchschnittlichen Leistung von 380 MW wurden an
    diesem Tag nur 9,1 GWh Windstrom eingespeist.”

    daily average lowest output in 2014 was 380MW.

    http://windmonitor.iwes.fraunhofer.de/opencms/export/sites/windmonitor/img/Windenergie_Report_2014.pdf

    so he is looking at hourly data (or even shorter?)

    AGORA has 0.043GW output at 11am for that day .

    https://www.agora-energiewende.de/de/themen/-agothem-/Produkt/produkt/76/Agorameter/

    1. Hivemind

      “so he is looking at hourly data (or even shorter?)”

      Well, that is the problem. When I want to run my TV, etc, it doesn’t matter what the average power output was for that hour. If there is no power at that particular second, they go off. This is what skeptics call a FAIL.

      Normal power generation systems require continuous power, every second of every day. Only in warmist gaga land can the average for a day be considered worth more than continuous, affordable power.

      1. SebastianH

        Not really … you need a multi second power failure for your TV to go off. They all use switching power adapter which can handle frequency and voltage variations and the capacitors on the DC side will buffer a seconds or more.

  7. sod

    Look at data from 30. April 2017:

    “Das Allzeit-Minium war möglich, weil Erneuerbare Energien – vor allem Wind- und Solarstromanlagen – das ganze Wochenende überdurchschnittlich viel Strom lieferten: In der Spitze waren es 55,2 Gigawatt (Sonntag 12 Uhr). Das Minimum betrug 16 Gigawatt (Sonntag 0 Uhr). Im Mittel waren es 35,7 Gigawatt, damit stammten im Mittel 64 Prozent des in Deutschland verbrauchten Stroms am letzten April-Tag aus Erneuerbare Energien.”

    https://www.agora-energiewende.de/de/presse/agoranews/news-detail/news/ein-sonntag-fast-ohne-kohlestrom-1/News/detail/

    Coal was down to 8 GW, and renewables picked up 66% of demand. Clearly a total failure!

    1. AndyG55

      I’m looking

      https://s19.postimg.org/hslzmaz1v/Unreliable.png

      Wind and solar basically NOTHING at AM, and once you get rid of all the fossil fuels out of the market by making them run at peak inefficiency… That is ALL that you will have.

      Common sense does not rule in the sob-sob mind. !!

    2. sunsettommy

      Sod,

      why are you trying so hard to ignore this part of the post?

      “Last Sunday Germany saw windy and sunny conditions, meaning the country’s installed wind and solar systems were running at high capacity. This however led to excess power flooding into the German grid, and thus a plummet in exchange electricity prices.

      The chart above shows that electricity was in fact sold at negative prices, dipping to an astonishing low of almost 75 euros per megawatt hour.

      Unfortunately the money to pay people to “buy” the electricity never gets paid to the consumer. Rather it gets paid mostly to foreign wholesalers. Yet, the German grid operator needs to recoup the money it paid to have the wholesalers to accept the power. In the end, the domestic consumers in Germany wind up with the bill.

      How much did the negative prices seen over the past weekend end up costing the German consumers? One reader calculated it and came up with the figure of over 41 million euros!”

      You that blind,Sod?

      1. AndyG55

        sob-sob’s granny pays his electricity bill.

        How would he possible know!

  8. sod

    In case anyone here wants to take a critical view at some arguments from the other side, you might want to consider “fossil empire strikes back”.

    http://www.fr.de/wirtschaft/energiewende-forscherin-spricht-von-krieg-um-energie-a-1268789

  9. AndyG55

    That reminds me, did the sob boys ever calculate the reliability rating of wind power.

    That being the percentage of nameplate that is delivered 95% of the time at 30 minute time steps.

    Last time I did the calculation, it was around 5% !!

    Solar is , of course ZERO percent.

  10. Dan Pangburn

    All this travesty on the mistaken perception that CO2 has a significant effect on climate. Thermalization and the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution of energy in atmospheric molecules demonstrate that it does not.

    1. tom0mason

      @Dan Pangburn 3. May 2017 at 1:38 AM,
      Exactly!
      That and the outpouring to the media from hubristic and sanctimonious ‘climate scientist’, self appointed ‘climate experts’, etc., who say that models can predict (project) the tosses and turns of a chaotic system (real weather and climate), when they don’t understand either the start conditions of that system, or the basics under pinning of what drives it.
      Chaotic climate models just give ‘sophisticated’ modeled chaos, and on occasion (with enough iterations) give outputs that resemble the real world conditions for a few parameters, but never for the whole climate, and never for much time.
      The models are OK as a scientific tool, however to use them and their dubious probabilistic outcomes as the mainstay of political policy is stupidity!

  11. John F. Hultquist

    OT
    The Wall Street Journal has an article ” SEC Probes Solar Companies ” about the roof-top residential solar industry. Not mentioned is that reports (numbers of) about the health of the market is likely exaggerated.

    Link to WSJ -pay

    Hundreds of complaints have been filed against solar companies to attorneys general in Texas, Oregon, California and Florida, with customers saying they are paying more on their utility bills, not less as they were promised, and have been sold expensive systems they can’t afford, according to Freedom of Information Act requests filed by the Campaign for Accountability, a consumer-watchdog group, and according to lawsuits filed by customers.

  12. sod

    “Sod,

    why are you trying so hard to ignore this part of the post?”

    I am not ignoring it. I was the first to post about it:

    “Price already is deep negative…”

    http://notrickszone.com/2017/04/29/upper-layers-of-atlantic-refuse-to-obey-global-warming-orders/

  13. John Harrison, PhD

    A couple of analyses demonstrate that the correlation distance is 400 km (North America) to 500 km (Northern Europe). That is, the power generation is correlated for distances less than 400 to 500 km and uncorrelated above that. Take account the cost of an extensive interconnection grid of about 1000 km extent and it is clearly a hopeless work-around.
    John Harrison

    1. sod

      500 km are no distance. Interconnectors have multiple advantages, one being more competition in a “market” that has been basically a abused monopoly since it was established.

      renewables will dominate the market and the grid connection will expand massively.

      we will end with the best grids ever: stable, because of big regions, stable because of smart demand control, stable because of battery backup in local micro grids.

      1. AndyG55

        You already HAD a very stable grid before this renewable malarkey came along.

        Glad your FANTASY world allows to “believe” that you can fix what has now been well and truly broken.

        Got that EV yet, sob or seb.. as your only car.

        Or are you still hypocritical gnats, still TOTALLY and ABSOLUTELY RELIANT on the regularity and RELIABILITY of fossil fuel energy.

  14. EdBCN

    Those charts make it look like just a day or two of storage would be enough to totally smooth out all the variability, with the exception of seasonal. To me that makes it look like it may well be technically/economically achievable before long. It also looks like its seasonal variability is the mirror opposite of solar’s. What luck!