Uncontrolled Infusion Of Green Electricity Leads To Record-Breaking NEGATIVE Power Prices

As mentioned here yesterday, Germany saw sunny and very windy conditions last Sunday and the following national holiday Monday –leading to a huge power surge into the German power grid. But because many industries were closed during these two days, demand for electricity was low, see chart below:

German consumption (blue line), wind power dark and light blue shaded area) and solar power (yellow shaded area). Source: Agora here.

The chart above also shows both the very high infusion of solar, onshore and offshore wind into the German power grid on April 30th and early May, and the low overall demand.

The result: Huge supply + little demand = crashing prices.

The huge feed-in of wind and solar energy did not occur without problems, especially in the southern state of Bavaria, the German online BR24 reports here.

BR24 writes that for the first time ever in Bavaria “wind turbines had to be shut down on a large scale – because there was too much power in the grid,” this according to the Bundesverband Windenergie (Federal Association for Wind Energy). There was also criticism that the wind turbines were shut down instead of the state’s nuclear plants.

BR24 adds that “many wind turbines in Bavaria had to stop for hours because no one wanted to take the power” and that this was the first time this had ever happened in Bavaria.

According to the Fraunhofer Institute, “two thirds of Germany’s conventional power production was switched off” on Sunday in order to prevent the grid from turning into a giant toaster.

And because the base load (the grid’s backbone) cannot be adjusted rapidly or taken offline line to meet the rapid changes, the BR24 adds:

But the coal power plants continued to operate – despite the negative power prices of minus ten cents per kilowatt-hour.”

It’s not possible to turn off the coal plants because once you do, the critical baseload disappears and the grid risks becoming an uncontrollable wild bronco.

And when you are forced to sell your very own product at a negative price (minus ten cents per kilowatt-hour) just to get rid of it, then you get a pretty good idea of just how obscenely distorted the market has become because of wind and solar.

Yet the energy masterminds of Germany and Europe intend to double or even quadruple this folly in the future.

So what about the losses incurred from the negative prices? You guessed it! They will be passed along to the German consumers, who already pay among the highest electricity rates in the world.

65 responses to “Uncontrolled Infusion Of Green Electricity Leads To Record-Breaking NEGATIVE Power Prices”

  1. sod

    “And when you are forced to sell your very own product at a negative price (minus ten cents per kilowatt-hour) just to get rid of it, then you get a pretty good idea of just how obscenely distorted the market has become because of wind and solar.”

    negative prices are a sign of a market that is tarting to work. Nobody knows how much money was milked from us, when one big power company was allowed to control the prices….

    1. tom0mason

      Sod,

      “…when one big power company was allowed to control the prices….

      How about none! That’s why YOU have no figures to back-up you ridiculous lefty assertion. Power companies like ALL commercial companies (i.e. not publicly subsidized) must make a profit or they are out of business.
      You obviously have no experience of trying to run a commercial enterprise.

      1. Graeme No.3

        The coal fired companies are losing so much money that very soon sod & Sebastian will get what they want; a 100% renewables electricity supply.
        Only then will they realise what that means.
        The good news is that if they gloat in public they may well be strung up on the nearest lamppost by the exasperated public.

        1. John F. Hultquist

          what that means.

          At some point the tax payers will own, and run at a loss, the necessary base load.
          The actual configuration and fancy wording will be presented as a planet saving activity.
          The planet, of course, won’t notice and doesn’t care.

          German Rieslings will remain one of the World’s fine wines.
          Cheers.

    2. DirkH

      “negative prices are a sign of a market that is starting to work.”

      Shit for brains. You just can’t make it up.

      1. tom0mason

        😆

      2. Graeme No.3

        At last a use for sod. He can get himself added to a compost pile and converted into something, other than CO2, which is good for plants.

        1. AndyG55

          No conversion needed ..

          He is already a pile of ****.

          1. AndyG55

            Just needs to “mature” for several years. 🙂

          2. AndyG55

            Actually, I admit my error….

            … even after 20-30 years, there is very little chance of sob/seb EVER reaching maturity. !!

  2. sunsettommy

    A waste of money in the process since the unnecessarily generated power was wasted. The loss still has to be paid somewhere since it was generated at some cost.

    Sod, you are so clueless,it is amazing that you overlook the loss of productivity in the waste.

    1. SebastianH

      How often (percentage) do negative prices occur? At what percentage does it become a problem?

      1. tom0mason

        Any time it happens is too many times.
        Or can you explain why the paying public should fund a lost-maker that inflicts unreliability on them.

        1. SebastianH

          I agree, but I think you guys have it wrong with the cause of negative prices. It’s not like baseload powerplants are badly needed during times like these, they simply can’t be shutdown.

          There was nothing unreliable happening over the 3 day weekend. No blackouts, no severe fluctuations of the grid frequency…

          1. Graeme No.3

            They are designed to be reliable, unlike “renewables” which are designed to swallow subsidies.

          2. AndyG55

            “they simply can’t be shutdown.”

            Precisely seb.

            Because one you shut them down.. there is NOTHING left when wind and solar have the inevitable “near zero” day.

            Someone has to keep them running, and if they are NOT ALLOWED to run at peak efficiency, why would anyone bother.

            Would you spend all of your time sitting idle if……

            oh wait.. forget that argument.. you do. !!

          3. AndyG55

            one = once…

          4. SebastianH

            Sometimes I admire you for your ability to turn around words and writing nonsense. But I am beginning to feel sad for you. Are you projecting from your own life experience when you try to insult other commenters?

            Clown away to cover up your insecurities … I don’t care as much as you hope I do (judging by the high quantity of your comments).

  3. AndyG55

    RELIABILITY. !

    What percentage of nameplate can wind guarantee to deliver 95% of the time. (still waiting for seb/sob to do this calculation on 30min rest over a month. I did it once and got around 4-5%.. ie TOTALLY UNRELIABLE.

    The surges when the wind does actually blow, because of the moronic mandated feed-ins cause RELIABLE power generation to work unprofitably are hugely damaging to the whole system.

    The RELIABLES will eventually have to be shut down because they become economical (already happening), then you are left with NOTHING at any time when the wind doesn’t blow.

    The wishful thinking that someone will keep a gas powered station functional, even though its not allowed to run profitably, is pure far-left garbage, a further SUCK on the taxpayer and consumer to go along with the wind subsidies.

    1. sod

      “RELIABILITY. !”

      i hope you do not have to rely on nuclear power in Japan or power from the Fukushima plant.

      Sometimes i really wonder about positions being taken here.

      Market power will fix the variability of renewables as soon as they are established (that is about now). Do you folks not believe in markets?

      If you do not believe in renewables, please go and invest in coal. Nobody is holding you back!

      1. AndyG55

        omg, seb calls in the Fukashima TSUMNAI issue.

        Have you tried to do those calculations, seb, or is it beyond you?

        30 minute data,

        What percentage of nameplant does wind supply 95% of the time.?

        Do it for 3 cherry-picked “good” months if you like. 😉

  4. DirkH

    As soon as we have achieved -1000 EUR/MWh, Li-Ion batteries become profitable! BUT, even BETTER! At -500 EUR/MWh, NaS batteries running at +200 deg C become profitable!

    Go negative prices go!

    The mad economics of the Green CDU.

    1. SebastianH

      Nope, that’s not how it works. The price fluctuations have too happen more often. Their amplitude doesn’t need to big this great.

      Reason: batteries become economical with increased cycle counts.

      1. SebastianH

        *to be

    2. sod

      “The mad economics of the Green CDU.2

      the only mad thing here is your claim that the CDU is “green”.

      batteries are moving in fast.

      Australia is moving ahead with big grid scale batteries and is also changing important rules: Electricity will be traded in 5 minute intervals. This makes wind and solar pretty reliable and allows batteries to cut in.

      http://reneweconomy.com.au/aemo-chief-says-clinging-to-old-energy-business-models-is-insane-66776/

      what is happening is obvious: people did not believe that solar and wind would become a serious part of electricity supply. now they are starting to dominate markets. Places are beating installation numbers that were considered to be impossible, before the date that was set.

      http://reneweconomy.com.au/renewables-target-met-year-whats-next-wind-solar-65994/

      In the same way, people are underestimating batteries which are just starting to show up.

      1. Graeme No.3

        sod, the big battery you referred to was merely to add a gloss of ??? to a press release and avoid questions about
        1. Why was S.A. blacked out?
        2. To coverup the installation of lots of expensive and polluting diesel generators.
        3. Why are you persisting with renewables when they have proven to be useless?

        1. sod

          good questions, let me attempt to answer them:

          “sod, the big battery you referred to was merely to add a gloss of ??? to a press release and avoid questions about”

          no. It is a real battery and it will be build. Australia is ahead of the herd.

          “1. Why was S.A. blacked out?”

          Not because of wind power. There was a storm. the grid company made big errors, one was using a totally false weather forecast. Gas plants were not started and were not bidding, driving prices up.

          “2. To coverup the installation of lots of expensive and polluting diesel generators.”

          local backup is a good thing, it is making the grid stronger. gas plants would be better though.

          “3. Why are you persisting with renewables when they have proven to be useless?”

          Germany just got 64% from it over a full day.

          1. Robert Folkerts

            sod says,

            “Germany just got 64% from it over a full day.”

            Wow!!! That is really impressive.

            How about you come back with an update, when Germany can get 64% electricity from intermittent sources EVERYDAY.

      2. DirkH

        “the only mad thing here is your claim that the CDU is “green”.”

        Well Sod, the CDU has blown up the energy-communist sector to 35 bn EUR a year in Germany. So, what qualifies as GREEN? a trillion?

  5. crosspatch

    I have often suggested a cure for this. Requires distributed battery storage, though. Imagine a home built like an “off grid” home with a fair amount of battery storage with a “smart” charging controller connected to the mains. If the power utility broadcast the current price of power over the power mains (data transmission using power mains is fairly common these days) the charging controller could adjust its charge rate according to price. Multiply that by millions of units and you have demand that tracks supply. When supply goes up due to a burst of wind, the price drops, charging controllers increase the amount they are pulling from the grid. Conversely, if power is short in the grid, the price goes up and charging controllers reduce their draw. This helps to stabilize the grid by allowing demand to follow supply of power. Or a home could be converted from a “demand load” to more of a “base load” by setting the charging controller to charge at a fixed rate (or only slightly varying rate) with the battery acting to absorb large intermittent demands within the home.

    1. tom0mason

      Why fix the self-inflicted failure with such an expensive, complex, probably dangerous fix . Surely all that is needed is to reverse the current policy to allow a proper market to operate and so called ‘sustainable’ technologies survive on there merit alone. Remove the obscene subsidies from all generation method and let the markets hidden hand sort out what is needed.

      Allow the hidden hand of the market fix the problem not the dead hand of Big Government.

      1. SebastianH

        As long as we include all external costs of every electricity generation method in the price, I have no problem with that. And there should be a carbon tax, obviously.

        1. AndyG55

          NO, there is absolutely ZERO reason for a carbon tax.

          In fact, those companies emitting CO2 should be PAID for supplying a VALUABLE RESOURCE to the production of world wide food.

          As you have PROVEN time after time, there is absolutely ZERO detrimental effect from raise atmospheric CO2 levels, its all just a big monumental PLUS. !!

          Those energy suppliers that are chopping aerial nature to bits, and frying them in mid air, should be FINED massive amounts for the environmental damage they are doing by upsetting the balance of avian wildlife.

          If wind and solar had to pay even a tiny amount of their external costs, there would only be one or two wind turbines, an NO major solar plants on the whole planet.

      2. sod

        ” Surely all that is needed is to reverse the current policy to allow a proper market to operate and so called ‘sustainable’ technologies survive on there merit alone. Remove the obscene subsidies from all generation method and let the markets hidden hand sort out what is needed. ”

        the “hidden hand of market” will sort stuff in a very bad way. In most countries, the electricity grid and production is handled by very few companies (( i am sure you got flooded by offers of cheaper and cheaper electricity before the entrance of renewables?!?).

        Renewables needed help to enter the market and they still need a little help, as they compete with old power plants.

        But the situation is changing fast. Wind and solar PV are the cheapest new sources of electricity. Even offshore wind might not need special subsidies any longer.

        So expect the markets to fix the rest soon: it will be the end of coal and we will see renewables continue to climb.

        1. AndyG55

          If the markets were allowed to FIX electricity supply, without government mandates and subsidies, there would be very few wind turbines or solar plants on the planet.

          You KNOW that, but you just keep yapping along, like a demented Chihuahua.

          1. sod

            “If the markets were allowed to FIX electricity supply, without government mandates and subsidies, there would be very few wind turbines or solar plants on the planet.”

            that is true. Because solar and wind could not establish themselves to a competitive price like they did now with a little help.

            But there also would be ZERO nuclear power plants on this planet without a little help at the start.

            and coal still gets a lot of help these days.

            so your “what if” scenario basically has it all wrong…

          2. AndyG55

            Wind and solar are NOT competitive.

            They will COLLAPSE due to their irregularity of supply as soon as feed-in mandates and subsidies are removes.

            That is all that is keeping the wind and solar scam alive.

          3. AndyG55

            Have you done that “reliability” calculation yet, sob-sob

            I got 4-5% nameplate in whole of UK last April.

            That is TRULY PATHETIC.

            DO you DARE to !!!!

            (as if you were capable,, lol)

          4. sod

            “Have you done that “reliability” calculation yet, sob-sob

            I got 4-5% nameplate in whole of UK last April.”

            it is irrelevant.

            Nuclear fell to 0% in Japan.

            You are always wrong on every topic.

        2. tom0mason

          Sod,

          the “hidden hand of market” will sort stuff in a very bad way.

          How would you know have you ever tried private enterprise — that is without government subsidy?

          1. sod

            have you?

            Most absurd thing the anti-renewables lobby has done so far: new sell all, buy all law forces people to sell at a low price and buy at higher prices.

            http://www.goshennews.com/opinion/editorial-goodbye-solar-power-to-the-people/article_8fbd26c8-d6ba-5ea0-813b-61c545ca6315.html

            Solar is hitting hard and people are striking back with absurd ideas…

  6. sod

    can someone please explain to me, why the headline is using terms like “uncontrolled” (it is not uncontrolled!) or “record-breaking” (which record was broken?)?

    In the real world, we managed something great: over the whole day, renewables provided about 2/3 of demand in Germany. A short time ago, people would have claimed this was impossible.

    The peak percentage was even 85%.

    http://www.deutschlandfunk.de/energie-erneuerbare-lieferten-am-sonntag-zwei-drittel-des.2850.de.html?drn:news_id=740392

    Germany now gets about 1/3 of its electricity from renewables and the percentage will keep rising. This is a good thing. We will break further records and it is only a matter of time until we start hitting 100% for the first time.

    It is already a reality in parts of the country, for example Bavaria which has a huge number of PV solar:

    http://regio-aktuell24.de/bayernwerk-ag-rekordueberschuss-an-erneuerbarer-energie-am-wochenende/19210

    Just look at the graphs. The world is changing:

    https://www.energy-charts.de/power.htm?year=2017&source=all-sources&week=17

    1. AndyG55

      The world is changing

      Yep. People are WAKING UP to the AGW SCAM, and the economic damage it is doing.

      Meanwhile in China…

      https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2017/05/04/chinese-firms-to-invest-15bn-in-pakistani-coal-fired-power/

      https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2017/05/03/chinas-production-of-electricity-from-coal-surges-to-record-levels/

      Keep up the good work, China and friends, in ensuring atmospheric CO2 supplies for MANY years to come 🙂

      1. sod

        INVEST!

        nobody is holding you back. Pakistani coal plants served by chinese coal. sounds great to me. All in!

        1. AndyG55

          All that extra atmospheric CO2.

          Great hey , sob-sob 🙂

          And there is Germany throttling their country with every increasing unreliable power supply on the far-left alter of a scam religion..

          DOH !!!

        2. DirkH

          sod 4. May 2017 at 1:54 PM | Permalink | Reply
          “INVEST!

          nobody is holding you back. Pakistani coal plants served by chinese coal. sounds great to me. All in!”

          Well, green communists like the CDU will destroy markets by use of force, obliterating investors.

          When investing in a socialist regime, you *MUST* be on the side of the regime.

    2. Reasonable Skeptic

      “can someone please explain to me, why the headline is using terms like “uncontrolled” (it is not uncontrolled!) or “record-breaking” (which record was broken?)?”

      Sure.

      Both solar and wind are uncontrolled. So technically the adjective is correct. The fact that this large infusion of green energy caused negative pricing of energy is why it was applied here and not on most days.

      Record Breaking is referring to the negative pricing, but like all records, which exact one can be quite variable. Was it the -.10 euro, was it the duration it was negative, was it the total amount paid by taxpayers?

      The main point was that only a highly regulated system could produce a negative cost result. Why would anybody produce something and then pay people to take it from you? The answer is that they have no choice but to do so.

      So how do you fix it? Not by adding 3x the amount of uncontrolled sources of energy.

      1. sod

        “Both solar and wind are uncontrolled. So technically the adjective is correct. ”

        no. you can switch them on and off. The right term is “variable”.

        1. Reasonable Skeptic

          “no. you can switch them on and off. The right term is “variable”.”

          That may be true, but why didn’t they shut them off? Is it due to regulations that keep them producing when they should have been shut off?

        2. AndyG55

          NO, the RIGHT term is UNRELIABLE. !!

          Sob-seb still REFUSE to answer the question of reliability.

          Its a simple calculation.

          What is the percentage of nameplate that wind provides 95% of the time.

          calculations to be don’t over a 3 month period at 30 minute time steps.

          A couple of years ago, I did this calc for the whole of UK for a “good” month, and got a value of around 4-5%.

          That is absolutely PATHETIC reliability.

          1. AndyG55

            typo correction …

            calculations to be DONE over a 3 month

      2. SebastianH

        I wonder how France is able to throttle their nuclear plants (they had last Sunday) and why German nuclear plants and some of the brown coal plants can’t be throttled.

        The fix is obviously more flexible power plants. With the nuclear power plants shutting down the situation will relax a bit, but there soon enough will be hours where 100% of the electricity will come from renewables. The number of those hours will only grow and inflexible fossile fuel power plants will get more an more problems.

        1. AndyG55

          The fix is obviously to have a RELIABLE power source, coal gas, nuclear supplying a CONSTANT bulk of the base load supply…

          … Instead of manically unreliable sources being allowed to rule what happens.

  7. Bitter&twisted

    Sod “off”

  8. sod

    There is a major misconception here:

    whatever you think about the past, solar PV now has become cheaper than electricity from the grid.

    so everyone who can use the electricity that his roof is producing will change to PV over time. That is basic market at work.

    and you folks love the market, or do you not?

    1. tom0mason

      Complete nonsense sod, remove the subsidy and solar is extremely expensive by any metric you wish to use($/kKh, $/installation, etc.). Also it is utterly unreliable which is THE BIG PROBLEM.

      1. tom0mason

        oops,

        ($/kWh, $/installation, etc.)
        not ($/kKh, $/installation, etc.)

      2. SebastianH

        Really? Large scale utility solar is at 7-8 €-cents and residential photovoltaics get 12.x €-cents. Which means if you were to use all the kWh you produce and not receive any subsidy you would pay less than those 12.x €-cents for those kWh.

    2. AndyG55

      Subsidy sob-sob. Not many people would have solar on their houses if it weren’t for those subsidies and the promise of stupidly high feed-in tariffs.

      Do you have solar on your granny’s basement, sob-sob?

      1. sod

        “Not many people would have solar on their houses if it weren’t for those subsidies and the promise of stupidly high feed-in tariffs.”

        are you using the insults to hide how slow your thinking is?

        i was not talking about subsidies. Just look at solar PV at the price of today. It is cheaper than buying electricity basically everywhere.

        so the economic reality is simple: people will install solar PV to save money on their electricity use.

        1. DirkH

          Because electricity is artifically made expensive by the Green Communist CDU regime.

          Mad rules lead to mad solutions.

        2. AndyG55

          “Do you have solar on your granny’s basement, sob-sob?”

          Yes or no.

          If so, did she receive a subsidy to install it

          Yes or no.

          Why do you keep proving me correct by refusing to answer questions that show up you far-left hypocrisy?

          It is NOT cheaper, once subsidies are removed,

          And it only works 1/3 of the time at the very best

          POINTLESS and WASTEFUL..

  9. yonason (from my cell phone)

    Slightly OT, but very good insight into one aspect of what is wrong with “green energy.”
    http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2017/05/our-low-energy-media-at-work.php

    As if there wasn’t enough wrong with the scheme as it is.

  10. Crispin in Waterloo

    When Germany dumps the power into the Central European Grid it is bought (taken with a disposal fee) by places like the Czech Republic’s distributor (CR).

    In return the coal powered plants in the CR are dropped like a hot potato because they have to cover their coal costs and ‘can’t compete’ on ‘price’. The German power (during most peaks of production, not just this one) is dumped in this manner, undermining the viability of coal fired power plants.

    CR is in reply, taking this dumping (which is what it is) to the WTO for violating the rules of international trade (which it does).

    The bottom line will be that Germany will have to turn off all the generating capacity they do not need at any particular time, or get fined for putting legitimate producers out of business, just like steel or butter dumping. Sooner or later that will undermine the guaranteed off-take from windmills and solar panels forcing them to increase prices to pay their mortgages. They are already getting retail or better.

    Have a look at the contracts: were the disconnected wind turbine owners paid for the power they did not produce, as per the UK contracts? Big Green has its hollow fangs deep into the neck of the German distributor.

  11. tom0mason

    Yes almost a half generation ago we could only dream of such joys unreliable electricity supplies could bring…
    http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0007/000748/074804eo.pdf