Germany’s overdose of renewable energy

Posted: February 3, 2020 by oldbrew in Energy, ideology, opinion, solar system dynamics, Uncertainty
Tags: , ,

‘The donkey goes on to the ice until it breaks’ – German proverb [image credit:]

Intermittency, meaning unreliability, is of course guaranteed with wind and solar power. The problem being that some governments now proceed as though that doesn’t matter any more, preferring to trumpet absurd claims about ‘saving the climate’. If they persist, eventual power shortages look inevitable.
– – –
Germany now generates over 35% of its yearly electricity consumption from wind and solar sources, says the Asia Times.

Over 30,000 wind turbines have been built, with a total installed capacity of nearly 60 GW.

Germany now has approximately 1.7 million solar power (photovoltaic) installations, with an installed capacity of 46 GW. This looks very impressive.

Unfortunately, most of the time the actual amount of electricity produced is only a fraction of the installed capacity. Worse, on “bad days” it can fall to nearly zero.

In 2016 for example there were 52 nights with essentially no wind blowing in the country. No Sun, no wind.

Even taking “better days” into account, the average electricity output of wind and solar energy installations in Germany amounts to only about 17% of the installed capacity.

The obvious lesson is: if you want a stable, secure electricity supply, then you will need reserve, or backup sources of electricity which can be activated on more or less short notice to fill the gaps between electricity demand and the fluctuating output from wind and solar sources.

The more wind and solar energy a nation decides to generate, the more backup capacity it will require.

On “bad days” these backup sources must be able to supply up to 100% of the nation’s electricity demand. On “good days” (or during “good hours”) the backup sources will be used less, or even turned off, so that their capacity utilization will also be poor.

Not very good economics.

Much better would be to limit wind and solar to a relative minimum, and rely instead upon controllable, non-fluctuating power sources operating with a high capacity factor, to meet the nation’s base load electricity requirements and to adjust total output in accordance with varying demand.

This corresponds to world-wide practice prior to the recent huge buildup with renewable energy.

Continued here.

  1. Coming very soon to the UK. The clueless numpties at Ofgem are proposing a 4-fold increase in wind power by 2030!

  2. c777 says:

    “The sale of petrol and diesel cars will be banned five years earlier than planned, under a climate change drive to be unveiled by Boris Johnson.
    The Government announced in 2017 that it would impose a ban on diesel and petrol cars from 2040 as part of an effort to tackle air pollution.
    However the Prime Minister is said to be speeding up the plans with a view to implementing the ban by 2035”.

    This is just more stupidity, do people realise what this actually means?
    Do they think this will make their food cheaper or more expensive?
    Do they think this will make businesses and the transportation of goods cheaper or more expensive?
    To all those falling for Boris’s pitch, I’m sorry your going to be let down by the Conservatives for the umpteenth time.
    Add this idiocy to the Renewables con trick and this is practically poverty inducing Genocide.
    Once Brexit is out of the way, we need to get rid of these “Grifters”, all of them.
    Nigel is right to keep the Brexit party intact, we’re going to need them again.

  3. oldbrew says:

    Once Germany has got rid of its nuclear (2022) and coal (2038) it will need a lot more gas, much of it from Russia probably. If they can’t or won’t do that they’re going to struggle big time.

  4. Phoenix44 says:

    Wait until they hook up millions of EVs at night and everybody wakes up to find nothing’s been charged.

  5. oldbrew says:

    From the report:
    Given the high costs and other obstacles to creating large electricity storage systems, it is not surprising that Germany’s electricity storage capacity amounts today to less than 2% of total electricity output.

    And once the 2% is gone it has to be re-generated from somewhere. Hardly a reassuring solution except to a very temporary problem. Plus the renewables all get binned after 15-25 years or so.

  6. hunterson7 says:

    People finally saw through the legacy media, special interests and insiders regarding Brexit.
    A logical next question to ask is
    “What else has legacy media obsessed over and denied open discussion about?”

  7. tom0mason says:

    I can not see anything wrong with the major industrial/financial power behind the EU running away with the idea of allowing bureaucratic incompetence and engineering stupidity destroying their electricity grid.
    A German fall from grace might teach those EU and Germans political elites, all those arrogant buggers, a little humility.

    May they long continue making this mistake so that all the world can see what a blood economic and social mess all this ‘renewable’ and ‘sustainable’ bunk makes.

    I do however feel deeply sorry for the German population, they deserve so much better — if only they were to wake-up and realize that they have political power, they have the power to vote for a better way.

  8. oldbrew says:

    Tom – some have woken up it seems…as the report says:

    Already, protests and law suits have brought the construction of new wind turbines in Germany to a near-standstill.

    There’s a follow-up article:
    Don’t like CO2? Advanced nuclear power is the answer
    Renewable wind, solar, hydro and biofuels cannot fill the gap


    So you don’t like CO2? What you need to know, then, is that there’s no alternative to advanced nuclear power.

    Just like Bill Gates said: “let’s quit jerking around with renewables and batteries”

  9. tom0mason says:


    yes I’ve seen some of those reports.
    Unfortunately the Greens still hold sway on the political scene both locally and nationally. Why do so many German’s still vote for the anti-nature, anti-human party I don’t know — maybe the beer at their rallies is better, who knows?

    Interesting links at the end of this puff piece from DW news agency …

  10. oldbrew says:

    Delusions of ‘climate protection.’ Germans have been fed a pile of junk by their own media and it’s still going on.

    At some point reality will catch up with them all.

  11. stpaulchuck says:

    from what I’ve been reading, most of the windmills generally average about 35% of installed capacity in actual output. By the time they die of old age at around 20 years or so and are taken down or replaced, the payback is often net negative.

    It’s too bad somebody didn’t warn us. Oh wait…

  12. Gamecock says:

    ‘climate change innovation fund’

    I can translate: a slush fund for their political friends.

    ‘Advanced nuclear power is the answer’

    Nuclear power may be the answer. ‘Advanced’ is propaganda.

    ‘The Government announced in 2017 that it would impose a ban on diesel and petrol cars from 2040 as part of an effort to tackle air pollution.’

    Completely devoid of intellect. The government can impose a ban on diesel and petrol cars TODAY. Maybe next year or two. Boris out in 5 years. New PM will call the shots.

    Future governments will decide what they want to do; we have absolutely no authority over them.

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