Power Brawl: German Power Prices Rocket As Excess Wind & Solar Dumped On Neighbours
German energy policy is a fiasco; the so-called energy transition is a debacle. Germans suffer the highest power prices in Europe, all thanks to an obsession with intermittent wind and solar.
When the sun sets and/or calm weather sets in, Germany is forced to import huge volumes of power from its neighbours, particularly nuclear-powered France and coal-fired Poland.
Then, when the sun’s up and breezes return, awash with power it cannot possibly consume, Germany slashes its prices and dumps the stuff on its neighbours.
The result is power market chaos, as No Tricks Zone reports.
German Electricity Imports Hit New Record, Rise 43.3 Percent in First Half Of 2020!
No Tricks Zone
16 September 2020
You would think that with all the added wind and solar energy in Germany, along with all the conventional power plants on standby, all totaling up to huge unneeded capacity, there would be no need to import any power at all. Well, think again.
The German epochtimes.de here reports that German imports of electricity in fact: “rose by 43.3 percent to 25.7 billion kilowatt hours in the first half of 2020 compared with the first half of 2019.”
The epochtimes.de explains further:
One reason for this was the declining share of domestic feed-in from base-load-capable, mostly conventionally operated power plants, which mainly use coal, nuclear energy and natural gas. As a result, electricity was imported to cover the demand for electricity, especially when there was no wind or darkness. The main import country for electricity was France with 8.7 billion kilowatt hours.
Overall, however, more electricity was still exported from Germany.”
What the article does not mention, however, is the reason for the rise in export from Germany. On windy and sunshine-plenty days, Germany produces more electricity than needed, and so is forced to dump the excess power into neighboring foreign markets – often at negative prices. The negative prices, in combination with the mandatory feed-in tariffs and excess production capacity, all means higher costs for consumers.
Little wonder that at close to 35 US cents per kwh, Germany’s electricity prices are among the highest in the world.
No Tricks Zone
Not only is Germany cannibalising Europe’s power market, its offshore wind farms are cannibalising each other. More from No Tricks Zone.
New Study Shows German Offshore Wind Turbines May Cannibalize Each Other When Improperly Sited
No Tricks Zone
15 September 2020
According to a new study, the expansion of offshore wind energy planned to date could lead to less electricity actually being produced at higher costs because, according to current planning, wind farms are taking the wind away from each other.
The researchers from the Technical University of Denmark in Roskilde and the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry in Jena, Germany have investigated the topic. The study entitled “Making the Most of Offshore Wind” was commissioned by the Agora Energiewende and Agora Verkehrswende think tanks.
The report looks at that the question whether energy models used today by wind farm planners and investors can adequately capture the interaction effects between turbines stemming from very large areas covered with offshore wind farms at high installed capacity density.
Among the study’s key findings:
Offshore wind power needs sufficient space, as the full load operating time may otherwise shrink from currently around 4,000 hours per year to between 3,000 and 3,300 hours. The more turbines are installed in a region, the less efficient offshore wind production becomes due to a lack of wind recovery. If Germany were to install 50 to 70 GW solely in the German Bight, the number of full-load hours achieved by offshore wind farms would decrease considerably.”
Countries on the North and Baltic Seas should cooperate with a view to maximizing the wind yield and full-load hours of their offshore wind farms. In order to maximize the efficiency and potential of offshore wind, the planning and development of wind farms – as well as broader maritime spatial planning – should be intelligently coordinated across national borders. This finding is relevant to both the North and Baltic Seas. In addition, floating offshore wind farms could enable the creative integration of deep waters into wind farm planning.”
More unexpected costs, inefficiency
In a nutshell: a central pillar of the German and European transition to green energies threatens to become even more inefficient and more expensive than planned.
No Tricks Zone