Renewables Provide Half of Germany's Power - For A Few Hours

Renewables Provide Half of Germany's Power - For A Few Hours
Renewables Provide Half of Germany's Power - For A Few Hours

Renewable enthusiasts were celebrating last week when wind and solar provided just over half of Germany's electricity for a few hours on April 18. "Wind, solar provide half Germany's electricity," said the headline in RenewEconomy. But this statement needs qualifying.

As you can see from the graph, wind and solar edged toward half the power load only between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. during the day. The wind (green) was fairly steady throughout the day and night and solar kicked in with a big boost in the middle of the day. At its height around noon, wind and solar were providing about 37,000 MW while other forms of generation (gray) were at only about 32,000. But even over the 24-hour period, fossil fuels and nuclear provided quite a bit more electricity. And this was on a day when the wind blew and the sun shone.

The more telling figure is Angela Merkel's recent lament that fossil fuel plants are being forced to lose money because wind and solar are always given preference when they are available. Merkel has proposed paying a "capacity" fee to fossil and nuclear plants for being available even when they are not needed. But that means Germans will be paying for their electricity twice! No wonder power costs have risen 50 percent since Germany began the nuclear phase-out and are now scheduled to rise even more.

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