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German state to go 100% renewable power… this year

On the border to Denmark, Schleswig-Holstein is a largely rural state – and Germany’s windiest area. It is home to the country’s only Energiewende Minister, and it will produce as much green electricity as it consumes total electricity over the year for the first time in 2014.

Two years ago, we reported on the state’s plans to go 300 percent renewable, a target that then-Environmental Minister Peter Altmaier did not doubt the state could reach. He merely wondered who the state would sell to given all of the other targets for 100 percent renewables in power supply elsewhere in the country.

This year, Schleswig-Holstein will cross a symbolic milestone towards that goal by producing as much renewable electricity as the state consumes in electricity (including conventional) over the year as a whole – meaning that the figure is a net calculation, not that the state can do without interconnections to Denmark and other parts of Germany. Indeed, the state needs the grid both to sell its excess renewable power and to purchase conventional electricity.

In April, the state’s Energiewende Minister told German website Klimaretter that the government’s new target for 40-45 percent renewable electricity by 2025 is not enough to offset the drop in nuclear power by the end of the phaseout in December 2022 – a statement that stretches the case. In 2013, Germany met 25 percent of its domestic power demand from renewables, with nuclear making up around 15 percent. Renewables would therefore need to grow by 15 percent to completely offset nuclear, putting the country at 40 percent renewable power by 2022.

Provided that Germany reaches the upper end of that target corridor, Germany will indeed offset its nuclear power completely. The real problem is that the upper limit means that Germany will not cut into its electricity from fossil fuel enough – the coal phaseout will be postponed until after the nuclear phaseout under business as usual.

For a closer look at how Germany’s targets are likely to pan out, see Thomas Gerke’s calculation. (Craig Morris)

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12 Comments on "German state to go 100% renewable power… this year "

  1. MattMarriott - 04.07.2014, 14:12 Uhr (Report comment)

    Renewable Energy Self-Sufficiency: Guess who became the world's leader in 2013
    One of the supposedly poorest EU states became 2013 the world's leader in Self-Sufficiency for energy from renewable sources. As expected from the famous final Laws its population is not aware of this fact. Actually it's not even aware of its own production data. As expected from the illuminati religion: - the main state owned energy producing corporation was sold 2012, supposedly to the communist Party of China. - the current data was first mentioned by illuminati mass media by french state TV France24, July 28, 2013. - neither the video nor the tran are available at the site france24.fr. Of course this simplest of all data would be the last thing that the portuguese "government" or media would mention.
    Portugal is the only EU or US state that produces more than 35% of the energy it consumes from renewable sources. With 70% in 2013 and 88% in the first half of 2014 of its total consumption now coming from renewable sources (compared to 13% in the USA) it's the leader for renewable energy among all EU or US states. Second in Illuminatziland comes Norway with 47%, although it also produces three times more oil that all EU states together!
    [b]"Rich" Germany, in reality not only TOTALLY depleted from gas and oil but now also of coal[/b] Germany is now nearly totally dependent on energy imports: - hardly any hydro power in an almost entirely flat country, except for a fring along the pre-Alps. - windy but exposed to storm damage in the north coast.

  2. Nichol - 23.06.2014, 13:46 Uhr (Report comment)

    When will energy intensive industry start to adapt to the future by investing in the flexibility to make use of that inevitable production peaks that are already starting to make electricity very cheap at moments with high renewable electricity production?
    With 300% renewables there will be clean Aluminium, even electrolytic steel. No more optimising for baseload, but the opposite: flexible peaking-demand. Starting with the producers of electricity, but soon the users will start to realise the opportunities.

  3. heinbloed - 22.06.2014, 14:21 Uhr (Report comment)

    @ photomofo:
    " Do you know of a document that has all these plants with projected closure dates? "
    No, sorry. You'ld have to check the individual power plants and the press statements of the owners.

  4. photomofo - 22.06.2014, 07:53 Uhr (Report comment)

    Thanks... I have a similar smaller list but there are projected closure dates. Do you know of a document that has all these plants with projected closure dates?

  5. heinbloed - 21.06.2014, 13:31 Uhr (Report comment)

    @ photomofo:
    To avoid an undersupply of el. the German grid controll authority (Bundesnetzagentur) is keeping a close eye on the sypply side. They plan the power supply for at least 1 year ahead. Power plant owners have to register at least 1 year before the planned closing or mothballing of their plants to the grid controll authority. This gives ample of time. In case there is a risk for local el.power shortage the power plant owner can be legally forced to keep the plant running.
    Here the list of proposed mothballing and closures:


    As you can see there was never (with or without REs ) any risk of an undersupplied grid, be it sunny or dark. The power system is well organised, even on a broader European foundation (international exchange).
    The UK is fearing an oversupply of power from Ireland, it would make the atomic power plants useless, being forced out of the market.
    The semi-official reason is a 'closed time schedule'. Liars they are.
    The Irish RE development is marching with huge steps, 50% wind power this year:

  6. photomofo - 21.06.2014, 02:08 Uhr (Report comment)

    What do you think will happen on the weekends when there's much more PV/Wind but much less load? Will there be more net-exports then? And what do you think would happen if you made several GWs of load controllable? Would that tend to make the exports go up. What if the Ukrainian thing gets worse and you have a bad winter this year and gas prices spike and heat pump incentives get rolled aggressively which then spikes the solar market back up. Or what if the LED manufacturers have a bidding war and slash prices and night-time load shrinks 10%. It's unpredictable. Is not just about generation capacity vs. load. It's about efficiency and flexibility and fungibility and weather.
    I don't find this question all that interesting. A proportional place holder guess seems like a fine way to sketch things out. What's going to happen this year is what I want to know.

  7. Ulenspiegel - 19.06.2014, 10:38 Uhr (Report comment)

    to my knowledge there is no dispute that we will see a a gap between dispatachable power and peak demand around 2018, this has simple technical reasons (age of power plants).
    The only dispute is, how large the gap will be after 2022: minimum around 5 GW, maximum around 15 GW as more power plants become unprofitable.
    The Austrian Verbund shut down coal power permanently and mothballed NG power plants, they expect to run them in 2018 again. :-)
    So there is still my question, why do people expect increasing NET exports?

  8. photomofo - 18.06.2014, 21:10 Uhr (Report comment)

    I definitely miss your point. 2018 is too far out to make a detailed prediction - look at predictions 4 years ago of today. In 2018 Germany may or may not have capacity markets, tougher carbon rules, better price signals, incentives for existing pumped storage plants and so on. Hypothetically, if Germany implements capacity markets that could lead to more negative prices which would possibly make pumped storage economic again.
    I thought you were talking about current dynamics. If one had to guess what the net-exports were going to be in 2018 the quick and dirty way to do it would be to take current ratios of renewables to imports/exports and extrapolate them - you go from 150 TWh of renewables with 30 TWh of net-exports to 250 TWh of renewables with 50 TWh exports. The extrapolation is a decent SWAG.

  9. Ulenspiegel - 18.06.2014, 08:12 Uhr (Report comment)

    I think you miss the point. Higher shares of RE will of course increase in the German context (lack of domestic storage capacity) the GROSS exports, that is undisputed and IMHO trivial. However, the claim is that NET exports will increase and I simply can not find good arguments for this projection..
    At the moment we have excess (coal) capacity that substitutes expensive NG in neighbour countries. Around 2018 we have the situation that the German dispatchabel capacity is less than the peak demand in winter. How can this situation lead to higher NET exports?

  10. photomofo - 17.06.2014, 01:50 Uhr (Report comment)

    What's the latest news on the FiT restructuring?
    Here's a quote from an article today in PV Magazine.
    "To be sufficient to do the legitimate demands to involve the self-consumption systems at the cost of the energy transition, it would be better to change the structure of network charges."
    Und zee original German.
    "Damit würden aktuelle Probleme verschärft und nicht gelöst.“ Um den berechtigten Forderungen genüge zu tun, die Eigenverbrauchsanlagen an den Kosten der Energiewende zu beteiligen, wäre es besser, die Struktur der Netzentgelte zu verändern."
    It's a true statement. You could put 50% of the fixed T&D charges onto bills as a standard charge. This would amount to 15 Euros or so and it would address the issues of free-loading which seem to come up. This move would be revenue neutral for utilities because kWh rates would come down by 2 to 4 cents/kWh to balance out the fixed fee. When you look at the numbers shifting network fees would actually have a more deleterious effect on PV economics than the proposed surcharge. Two reasons to still do take the high road. 1. Spreading T&D infrastructure fees more equitably make sense. 2. The 40% surcharge on self-consumed production is just the tip of the iceberg. Before you know it there's be all sorts of fees piling on.
    There should be no surcharge on self-consumption. Zero... not above 10 kW or 30 kW or even 100 kW. It should be entirely off the table. What you do in your own bedroom with your own electricity is your own business.

  11. photomofo - 17.06.2014, 22:48 Uhr (Report comment)

    95 TWh of new renewables would displace the lost nuclear but you'd add a considerable amount of unpredictability into the system. You'd likely have more situations where coal plants would decide to stay at their current power level rather than ramping down around wind/solar output - this would unfortunately lead to more coal exports.
    The ideal thing to do would make it so that coal plants aren't put in a position where they have to choose between ramping or exporting. Germany could do this by investing in flexible load. The flexible load would kick in during the solar noon for example. Basically, when you leave for work in the morning you'd have a load of laundry in the washer or dryer on delayed start. The load would start when there was solar power available. Same thing would work for dishes, domestic hot water and space heating. Excess wind could also be used to trigger the delayed start.
    If you had load following solar and wind output you probably see a reduction in coal exports. Logically, you'd also probably see a reduction in the surcharge. Why would that be? It's a market right... Supply and Demand. If you increase demand right when there's extra solar/wind you'll hold up the price of electricity on the market - prices which would otherwise be forced to dip down due to over-supply. The higher electricity prices will narrow the gap between wholesale and FiTs thus reducing the surcharge. Hope that makes sense. If you like the idea spread it around...
    Anybody ever hear of a variable frequency drives (VFD)? It's a motor that has adjustable speed. You can add a VFD to a refrigerator for about 25 Euro. The VFD would actually pay itself off in about 2 years from energy savings. This is because the VFD allows the refrigerator to pick a compressor operating speed that's better matched to the system conditions it sees. For example, conditions might allow the pump to reduce speed and operate for a longer duty cycle. Anybody who's taken pump theory may remember the acronym Very Hard Problems are as easy as 1, 2, 3.
    Volume pumped is proportional to Rotor Speed to the first power. Pump head is proportional to Rotor speed squared. Pump power is proportional to Rotor Speed cubed.
    Doubling the speed doubles the volume pumped but it drives power use up 8 fold.
    Had to dust off some cobwebs to get into that memory file... Anyways the increased efficiency means less kWhs are used. VFDs can go in lots of places. The thing I like about them is you could have your PV system inverter talk to your VFD driven devices and have them govern the associated appliances to closely match the output from a PV system. There's a co-optimized operating point you'd want to be at. Another interesting idea is to imagine all refrigerators equipped with VFD. Normally the VFD would be programmed to maximize efficiency but in case of a Grid Emergency the VFD could switch into a frequency control mode and help the system stabilize. Pretty damn neat idea. Hell of a lot more interesting than talking about carbon emissions.

  12. Ulenspiegel - 17.06.2014, 11:39 Uhr (Report comment)

    It would be very helpful to get an reason why you are expect much higher exports.
    For me the situation is something like: The domestic demand is stagnating/slightly decreasing and a reduced number of base load power plants increases the chance that gas power plants will have some kind of come-back after 2018. However, electricity from NG or biogas is quite expensive, which hampers exports. What is wrong with my assumptions?
    Without increase of exports I do not see any real problem to reach the target, al least, as long as the main contribution by on-shore wind is not choked. 3 GW added on-shore capacity with at least 2500 FLH are plus 60 TWh in 2020, 5 GW ofshore add 20 TWh, 15 GW PV contribute additional 16 TWh, this mean that 95 TWh. This number omits increased FLH of repowering projects and additon of biomass.

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