So much for Germany’s transformation to “green” energies.
Germany’s Bundesnetzagentur (Federal Network Agency for Electricity, Gas, Telecommunications, Post and Railway) is the federal authority overseeing and regulating the German electrical power grid, among other networks.
At its site it has a link to an expert assessment report that analyzes the needs of and risks to the German power grid for the coming 2014/15 winter.
The name of the report: “Examinations for the winter of 2014/15 with respect to risks for system security and the necessity for reserve power plants”.
The 102-page highly technical assessment examines a variety of scenarios in order to see how well Germany’s electrical power grid will hold up this winter. Looking at the report’s conclusion, one can only conclude that the power grid is more unstable and prone to a collapse than at any time in Germany’s post-war period. It’s a debacle knocking at the door.
In the summary on page 97 for example it writes (link added):
Scenarios were parameterized on the basis of historical data and realistically form expected critical situations, but do not necessarily show the worst-case scenario.
Considered scenarios show massive threats to the security and reliability of the electric power supply system which are not manageable without a substantial intervention by the ÜNB and the use of a secured redispatch-potential.
There are no safety reserves for managing additional critical or unexpected situations.”
On page 98 the report re-emphasizes.
In critical situations a substantial threat to system security is to be feared.”
The report’s summary adds: “Ssecure management of the expected critical situations requires comprehensive measures.”
This all means that on a cold winter day, Germany’s power grid could could very well collapse and citizens be left in the cold and dark for hours or even days. Parts of the report have been blacked out, which is hardly reassuring to the reader.
So why has Germany’s power grid, once one of the world’s most stable, become so vulnerable? An editorial piece at the Financial Times sums it nicely. It writes: “Merkel’s decision to phase out nuclear power has been a huge mistake.”
The FT piece writes that Germany has added a huge amount of intermittent wind and solar energy. Not only does this energy act to destabilize the power grid, but it also is costing German citizens and the economy a bundle. What a bargain: Poor quality for high cost! The FT writes that the Energiewende is “designed to make the economy predominantly dependent on renewable sources such as wind and solar power“, and adds that these are “burdens on households and businesses“, something that “Germany can ill afford”, the FT writes.
What’s worse for clean-energy-minded Germans is that the elimination of nuclear energy has led to an increase in coal burning. In the end, Germany’s power system is now dirtier, more unstable than ever, and now costs consumers far more. Does that sound like a great deal? Sounds to me like a monumental mismanagement.
Those of us living in Germany may want to consider installing a wood-burning stove in the weeks ahead as winter quickly approaches.
Hat-tip: 2 readers