Welcome to the Renewable Energy Future: A Lesson From Germany

By:  Rebecca Terrell
05/16/2012
       
Welcome to the Renewable Energy Future: A Lesson From Germany

Germany's power grid is in trouble, and federal regulators are warning something must be done before the onset of winter's usual skyrocketing energy demands. They say the current grid is unable to support the forced transition from nuclear to government mandated "renewable" energies and must be expanded quickly to avoid blackouts.

Germany's power grid is in trouble, and federal regulators are warning something must be done before the onset of winter's usual skyrocketing energy demands. They say the current grid is unable to support the forced transition from nuclear to government mandated "renewable" energies and must be expanded quickly to avoid blackouts.

 

"The situation of the power grid in the Winter 2011/12 was very tense," recounted a press release announcing publication of the annual report from the Federal Network Agency (FNA), Germany's energy regulating bureau. But the tension didn't surprise regulators.

Last August they recommended precautionary measures in light of the nuclear power station shutdowns forced by Germany's nuclear energy exit bill. The legislation, passed in July in a knee-jerk reaction to Japan's Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster, wiped out 40 percent of German nuclear capacity. This, along with the unpredictability of wind and solar power and February's unexpected gas supply shortage, forced the country to lean heavily on emergency reserves and imports from Austria.

"Reserve capacity in Germany and Austria was strained on multiple occasions," reads the FNA annual report. The agency recommends about 1,000 megawatts of reserve power to be on standby this coming winter. It also promises to implement "regulatory measures" to "ban the shutdown of conventional power plants" in an effort to meet demand.

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