Easter Blackout! Cologne Area And ‘Phantasia’ Amusement Park Lose Power 3 Times In 24 Hours! Green Energy To Blame?

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If there is anything that I can say about the German power grid, it is that power outages have been very rare since I’ve been here. But lately the ones that do occur seem to be doing so far more frequently, and there’s been a lot of talk about grid operators having to constantly intervene to prevent blackouts – something they rarely had to do 10 years ago.

Today T-Online news site here reports that areas near Cologne, Germany blacked out over the Easter weekend. Amusement park Phantasialand lost power three times – in 24 hours!

Hat-tip: DirkH

T-Online writes of “power chaos” as electricity went out for 45 minutes on Sunday and blacked out twice yesterday.

The cause of the outages is being attributed to “technical faults” and a “power supply error”. Parts of the Cologne area, for example the city of Bruhl where the power utility is located, also lost power.

There’s no indication that the erratic green energies such as wind and sun are behind the Easter weekend blackout. My guess is that in this case they are not because the weather conditions were quite stable and saw no spikes of any kind. Yet German blackouts seem to be occurring more frequently as the capacity of sun and wind increases.

Blackouts beoming more common

In 2005 a late November snowstorm across northern Germany caused power transmission towers to collapse under the weight of snow and ice, knocking out power for hours and even days in some regions.

In November 2006 a large part of Western Europe was blacked out as power giant E.on miscalculated on how to handle 10,000 megawatts of wind energy flowing through the power grid. The English Wikipedia page fails to mention anything about the wind energy.

In November 2012 the power in parts of Munich went out due to “a defective line”.  Also read more here. Later a city utility spokesman said, “It is suspected to be a power spike that somehow got through.

Last year again in Munich during the busy Friday morning rush hour the power for 20,000 households went out because of a blown transformer station.

Germany’s power supply has become far more erratic and uncontrollable lately. The power chart for the last two weeks shows the tremendous power spikes that Germany’s power grid had to endure during recent stormy weather.

Agora MarApr 2015

Source: Agora

The above chart shows a major and sudden power spike occurring on March 29 and a super spike that went off the chart on March 31 when a massive 76 gigawatts of wind power got uncontrollably fed in at 1 p.m. How the grid operators went about handling this may be the topic of a later post.

One thing is clear: the situation on Germany’s power grid has gotten far more unstable. German center-left/green weekly Die Zeit here conducted an interview with power expert Frank Umbach. When asked the question of how reliable the German power grid is, Umbach told Die Zeit:

The situation has gotten considerably worse. […] All risk assessments on supply stability show a worsening.”

Moreover Umbach tells Die Zeit that Germany narrowly missed “widespread outages” three times since the country shut down 8 nuclear power plants in 2011 and increased dependency on wind and solar power.

 

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31 responses to “Easter Blackout! Cologne Area And ‘Phantasia’ Amusement Park Lose Power 3 Times In 24 Hours! Green Energy To Blame?”

  1. DirkH

    “My guess is that in this case they are not because the weather conditions were quite stable and saw no spikes of any kind.”

    The so-called Cumulus effect, caused by drifting Cumulus clouds, leads to a sudden off-on-effect of solar plantations over which the shadow of such a cloud moves. So even nice sunny weather can cause rectangular production curves, throwing local grids off the tracks, possibly leading to fault propagation.

    The fact that PhantasiaLand blacked out 3 times on Eastern lets me assume grid overload as most industrial consumers and the entire public sector were offline.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cascading_failure

  2. mwhite

    “snowstorm across northern Germany caused power transmission towers to collapse under the weight of snow and ice, knocking out power for hours and even days in some regions”

    They do seem to stick windmills in those areas where the weather can be at its most extreme.

    1. Bob in Castlemaine

      True M but mountainous regions are often also the home of hydro stations. But in the case of hydro, normally operators can send a burst of power down the transmission line to melt the snow and ice. In the case of wind power the ability to do that is at the whim of the wind?

    2. DirkH

      Mwhite, Bob; Northern Germany is one big plains; That’s why the storms are raging there, no mountains stop them, like the Hurricane alley in USA.
      It is also the most productive agricultural area in Germany so we can’t just evacuate it… you wouldn’t evacuate Kansas either.
      Oh and of course it’s also full of wind turbines as it is … windy. (The value of the wind mills of course being questionable, as I repeatedly said, wind + solar contribute 1 percent to German primary energy consumption)

  3. Steve C

    Looking at that graph, I have to say I have great admiration for the people who drive the system day-by-day. The miracle is that there aren’t more failures.

    And please do tell about that 76GW wind surge on the 31st. It’s the “uncontrollably” bit that intrigues. 🙂

  4. sod

    The German grid is the most stable in the world. And as the variability over the last couple of years (it has been getting even better again…) shows, this will not change.

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

    TAZ has a nice article about the storm peak. It lead to massive export increases, but mostly because base load did not reduce its output by much.

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

    We had a couple of new records, wind did cover 44% of German power consumption on that day.

    In March solar and wind did generate over 10 billion Kwh.

    http://www.pv-magazine.de/nachrichten/details/beitrag/photovoltaik-und-windkraft-weiter-auf-rekordjagd_100018773/

    1. AndyG55

      Wind in the UK.. currently 76 MW out of 27,882 MW

      roflmao !!!!

      It really is a “why bother” type of non-energy. 🙂

    2. DirkH

      “The German grid is the most stable in the world.”

      The most expensive one, yes, the most stable one, rather no more.

      “TAZ has a nice article about the storm peak.”

      No they don’t. TAZ is a bunch of Berlin collectivists, comparable to Daily Kos, denouncing anyone who is not a hard leftist as Neonazi, then apologize in the fine print after one threatens them with a court. They have no technical expertise whatsoever and never will.

  5. DirkH

    “In March solar and wind did generate over 10 billion Kwh.”

    Looky here! A BIG NUMBER! Whoa, impressive big number!
    Solar and Wind produce ONE PERCENT of German Primary ENergy Consumption, sod.
    We can survive with solar and wind alone, on a 1550 standard of living (which would of course not suffice to maintain the hightech solar and wind installations. A musclepower driven agriculture plus some wind driven sawmills would be possible though.)
    There is no society on the planet that persists on solar and wind alone and is at the same time able to expand or maintain the solar and wind installations. Why is there no such society, sod?

    1. sod

      “Solar and Wind produce ONE PERCENT of German Primary ENergy Consumption, sod.”

      This claim is false. Renewables now reach 11% of primary energy consumption in Germany:

      http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/timeline/35a158a8a17711c1f59acd64f1eb66f6.png

      And wind and solar are a major part of those:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renewable_energy_in_Germany

      Please provide a link supporting your claim, because it is false!

      1. AndyG55

        Wow.. 11% sometimes.. maybe !!!! seriously??

        You cannot run industry on sometimes.. maybe !!!

      2. AndyG55

        Think about this sod.

        Install 100MW wind farm.

        Connect to 20MW of industry.

        Get that full 20MW of electricity only about half the time.

        Seriously, what industry or society would put up with that !

        Just thank your lucky stars that the reliability of coal and gas is there to keep the world running.

      3. AndyG55

        Think about this, sod.

        Install 100MW wind farm.

        Connect to 20MW of industry.

        Get that full 20MW of electricity only about half the time.

        Seriously !!!
        What industry or society would put up with that !

        Just thank your lucky stars that the reliability of coal and gas is there to keep the world running.

        1. sod

          “Get that full 20MW of electricity only about half the time.”

          The spanish island El Hierro. is moving towards 100% wind power.

          http://www.npr.org/blogs/parallels/2014/09/17/349223674/tiny-spanish-island-nears-its-goal-100-percent-renewable-energy

          Your line of argument is getting weaker every year.

          1. DirkH

            Also, Pierre, you don’t run your central heating and your car with your solar panels, I would guess.

            sod has simply no idea of the amount of Joules transported day in day out by one gas pipeline.

          2. sod

            El Hierro is samll, but all things start small.

            It is also different, as it has no connection to another grid, so it will run on 100% wind power (pump water storage).

            That is the difference to Samso, which is 100% renewable since some time, but is connected to abigger grid. And like you, is not getting 100% of its own power from its own wind/solar sources.

            http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stefanie-penn-spear/samso-worlds-first-100-re_b_5303237.html

            But on Samso development continues, solar has been added and waste burning for heating, so the move towards the “real” 100% is still ongoing.

            ——————–

            so to sum it up:

            we have small places with 100% own renewables (perfect score).

            we have many places (towns, islands, federal states) now with 100% renewable production, but which still cannot completely rely on their own production. (this will be the norm for some time)

            and we have huge entities moving towards higher and higher percentages of renewables in their electricity prodction (20%, 30% towards 40%).

            What is new now is, that places doimng this can actually SAVE money, as Texas shows:

            http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/mar/28/georgetown-texas-renewable-green-energy

            So expect the numbers to grow!

          3. AndyG55

            roflmoa..

            WOW ! 10,000 people !!!

            And no industry.

            It could survive on candles! 🙂

            Seriously silly sod-post.

            It is you that is lacking any argument !!

          4. AndyG

            WOW ! 10,000 people, and not industry.

            They could survive on candles !

            Seriously.. your arguments are getting to the non-existent stage.

            Meanwhile, in the UK, with all its destruction of its landscape, and desecration of Scotland, and all the massive waste of money, wind is currently producing 1.2% of the countries electricity.

            What a waste and a farce.

          5. AndyG55

            Whoops.. I thought the first post had disappeared into the ether, changed browsers, and left off the ’55.

      4. DirkH

        Here sod.
        https://notrickszone.com/2013/05/16/german-ministry-of-environment-identifies-targets-american-and-german-enemy-skeptics-in-123-page-pamphlet/#comment-498458

        Ok, the wikipedia page you linked to shows that the production of wind and solar energy has risen since I last estimated its share of Primary Energy consumption (PEC). So it’s grown to 2%, I grant you that. Total sum of subsidies has grown with it though; about 20% growth per year, standing at 20bn EUR per year now.

        Generally, electricity is 1/7th of PEC in Germany. Heating is 3/7th, transportation fuels another 3/7th.

        So all those hulking windmills and all those solar plantations produce about 2% of our energy needs…

        So after talking so much about those tiny 2%, can we now talk 49 times as much about the gas pipelines, coal ships and power plants and hydropower that ACTUALLY keep the country running?

        1. sod

          “So all those hulking windmills and all those solar plantations produce about 2% of our energy needs… ”

          Please look at the numbers again. Even nuclear nopw produces LESS than renewables. So it is irrelevant as well?

          http://www.bmwi.de/DE/Themen/Energie/konventionelle-energietraeger,did=540366.html

          I thought.i was posting on a blog called “no tricks zone”. How do you call it, when you limit renewables to those that provide only electricity and then do a comparison to total energy consumption?

          I call it a cheap trick!

          Primary energy consumption in Germany is getting lower. And solar has its part in that, for example by heating water.

          11% renenwables simply tells the fossil fuel industry: you lost 11% of your income. That is good news.

          The houses build around me are heating with wood chips. They have both types of solar on their roofs, use little heating and with the addition of an electric car they will have done the most to leave the fossil fuel cycle.

          1. AndyG55

            “I call it a cheap trick!”

            Nope, wind and solar are far from being cheap. !

            Developed societies need electricity that can be relied on.

            Wind and solar are basically children’s toys, expensive, and unreliable.

            A fad while the stupidity of the anti-CO2 agenda continues.

          2. AndyG55

            “The houses build around me are heating with wood chips”

            Massive pollution if not controlled.. Do you really want to go back to the “smog” era of uncontrolled particulate emissions?

      5. Kurt in Switzerland

        sod:

        Solar and Wind together provide about 14.4% of Germany’s electrical energy (or 6.2% of Germany’s primary energy) — 2014 figures.

        http://www.erneuerbare-energien.de/EE/Redaktion/DE/Standardartikel/Infografiken/infografik_bruttostromerzeugung-2014.html;jsessionid=A501946EBCA0F57EBCE71485DB5DABD2

        http://www.bmwi.de/DE/Themen/Energie/konventionelle-energietraeger,did=540366.html

        Please note, however, that fossil fuels comprise 80% of Germany’s primary energy requirements. With the planned closure of nuclear power plants over the next seven years, this can only increase.

        By the way, “Biomass” and “Hausmüll” make up over 30% of the total renewables contribution to the energy mix.

        So GHG emissions will not be declining.

        1. sod

          “By the way, “Biomass” and “Hausmüll” make up over 30% of the total renewables contribution to the energy mix. ”

          The German CO 2 output is sinking.

          http://www.faz.net/aktuell/wirtschaft/unternehmen/umweltpolitik-deutscher-co2-ausstoss-sinkt-deutlich-13515038.html

          And biomass does reduce the output, as it takes up as much CO2 as it produces.

          wasted food has been transformed from rubbish into a resource.

          http://www.energiezukunft.eu/biomasse/biogas/biogas-aus-bioabfall-boomt-in-europa-gn103047/

  6. Kurt in Switzerland

    Meanwhile, a review of the period January through the present indicates that the Bard 1 Offshore plant still is incapable of supplying anywhere from 50-100% of its power.

    When will this problem be resolved and who will have to pick up the tab in the end?

    http://www.eex-transparency.com/homepage/news/ad-hoc-ticker

  7. Graeme No.3

    This article may not have reached the MSM near your.

    http://www.timesofmalta.com/…/European-energy-needs-re-think-Deloitte-report. 562652‎

  8. Colorado Wellington

    I’m sincerely trying to read this thread but the cry keeps coming back:

    Sod off, Swampy!

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2011/10/09/occupy-london-stock-exchange

  9. Colorado Wellington

    I swear I’m trying to read this thread but the cry keeps coming back:

    Sod off, Swampy!

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2011/10/09/occupy-london-stock-exchange

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