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Renewables surge to 74% of German demand on Sunday

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Renewable energy created a new record in Germany on Sunday, with wind and solar, supported by biomass and hydro, accounting for 74 per cent of demand in the middle of the day.

As this graph below from think tank Agora Energiewende shows, the combined contribution of renewables reached 43.54 gigawatts between noon and 1pm.

agora sunday in may

That accounted for three quarters of demand, although the inability of some baseload generators to switch themselves off (many did) meant that a record level of more than 10GW of surplus capacity at its peak was exported to neighbouring markets.

The solar output was 15.2GW at its peak, which is just half its rated peak capacity (more than 33GW), but that is because most of the northern half of the country was shrouded in clouds and rain. Wind accounted for 21GW at the 1pm peak, while conventional sources such as nuclear, coal and gas accounted for 26GW – around half their normal daily production peaks.

According to BDEW, the share of renewable power in Germany’s electricity consumption jumped to 27 per cent in the first quarter of 2014, up from 23 per cent a year earlier. Below is a table that shows the various inputs for the past week, leading up to the record peak production day on Sunday.

agora week

 

 

 

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  • tsport100

    Australia’s baseload is only around 20GW.

    • Danuna Tillekeratne

      Germany:Aus=80 million Germans and 80 GW: 20 million folk and 20 GW, but you have no BMW’s. Anyway, Germany is sliding down the slope now. In the next five years, they’ll reverse their RE patterns.

      • Evan Keith Beaver

        Hi Danuna could I have your email address please? I want to email you in 5-years to remind you that you were wrong.

  • patb2009

    That chart appears to either be correlated to some odd time zone, or they just screwed up in the X axis, clearly Peak Solar should be around Solar Noon, and they are instead getting a Peak around 1900 hours. It’s almost as if the basetime is Eastern Standard Time.

    However, that said, the really interesting thing is that there is 1 hour where they really stop exporting and about 4 hours at night where they need to ramp up production.
    The idea that Germany will need about an hour of dispatchable storage and then 4 hours of ramped production, could mean that Germany could dramatically reduce fossil energy demand.

    • Jan Veselý

      There are plans to build 9 big pumped hydro plants in Germany with capacity of about 4,5 GW until 2020 and also a governmental incentive to build energy storages backed up by cheap loans. The same do Japaneese.

  • Luca P.

    Italy has yet likely surpassed this renewable hourly share in 2013.
    Unfortunately there’s not detailed statistic data but see this graph of 26 May 2013:

    http://dataenergia.altervista.org/portale/sites/default/files/grafici/Produzione_oraria_2013-05-26_FVmax_EOLmax_festivo_3.png

    Bioenergies are included in the thermal source (red) together with fossil fuels. In 2013 bioenergies production was at least 14 TWh (an hourly average of 1,6 GW).
    So we can assume at 14 o’clock renewable production was about 23 GW over a demand of 28 GW (about 82%).
    Italy has a more flexible electric system than Germany thanks to combined cycle gas turbine and hydro plants.

  • So what, 74% sounds impressive only until you look at the full story . The combined contribution of renewables reached 43.54 gigawatts (74%) between noon and 1pm on May 12. So that high number was for a single day peak.

    There are issues with single day peak numbers. In electricity markets May is a shoulder month which basically means that people are not using electricity for heating or air conditioning and as a result daily peaks are much lower than summer or winter. Solar is relatively high because we are approaching the summer solstice (high insolation) and long days. Wind is relatively high because there are big
    north south temperature gradients. As a result you would expect renewables to be high.

    In order to be the “answer” you need them to cut the daily peaks during the high demand periods – the large high pressure systems that cause the highest and coldest temperatures of the year. Solar should do a good job in the summer peak because high pressure systems are mostly cloud free, but in the winter the day length is much shorter and insolation is lower so it won’t be as effective. Because high pressure systems are also low wind systems, wind power fails for both peaks.

    The other issue is that the headlines don’t mention an unintended consequence. The “inability of some baseload generators to switch themselves off (many did) meant that a record level of more than 10GW of surplus capacity at its peak was exported to
    neighbouring markets”. In other words the unreliable and intermittent peak of renewable power stressed the electricity transmission system and market.
    The excess power had to be sent someplace which only works if there are
    locations not using renewables who would have their own problems. The electricity market prices went way down with all the excess power which makes those sources that are needed when renewables are not available that much less economically viable.