By now we have all learned that wind and solar energy are highly volatile sources, and thus massively strain the power grids they get fed into once a certain scale is reached. This is now especially the case in Germany, a country that has, in an uncontrolled manner, aggressively installed wind and solar energy over the past decade.
Little wonder the German government stepped in and recently scaled back the subsidies.
But the recent government action has come too late. Yesterday Germany’s flagship daily the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung here posted a DPA news release on the mounting woes of the German Energiewende (transition to renewable energies). It begins with:
In 2015 grid operators had to intervene in the power grid like never before in order to prevent the lights in Germany from going out. The bill will be picked up by the consumer.”
During windy days, wind turbines often produce too much energy, energy that no one needs, and grid operators such as Tennet in turn force wind parks to close down to keep the grid from melting down. However, the grid operators still have to pay these shut down wind farms for the power that would have been produced. As more wind power comes online, wind park operators are forced to shut down more and more often, but with pay. The result – more costs for the grid operator. These costs from payments for unproduced electricity of course get passed along to the consumers. The FAZ writes:
The power consumers are going to feel this development over the coming year, as feed-in tariffs for green energy now make up 20% of the electricity bill.
The result? Costs from feed-in tariffs are expected to rise another 6% or more this year alone, the FAZ writes.
The German flagship daily also writes of numerous grid bottlenecks and unstable conditions, and grid operators are frequently forced to intervene to prevent blackouts – often temporarily shutting down regular power plants in an attempt to relieve overloads – thus making them unprofitable.
As more and more wind and solar energy are added on without any notion of planning, Germany’s power grid is now in dire need of massive revamping. Huge power transmission lines need to be built across the country in order to balance out the huge regional power overloads cause by volatile wind and sun. Not only is this going to take time, but it is also going to cost many billions more, the FAZ reports.