Image

Germans Use So Much Wind Energy, Their Power Prices Went Negative

Germans Use So Much Wind Energy, Their Power Prices Went Negative
User Avatar
Updated 6 months ago

Without having proper storage on the electrical grid for renewable energy, there’s been an recurring issue of generating too much of it. For example, last year, California had too much power from solar energy and needed to pay neighboring states to use it. Something similar happened over Christmas day in Germany.

How did this happen? On Christmas Eve and early into the next day, consumers made up to $60 US per megawatt-hour to use energy. These negative rates occur when too much power is generated from renewables and there’s a low demand for it.

Solar and wind generation is wildly inconsistent, with a lot of it based on the season. For example, Germany expects wind turbines to produce around 12 percent of overall power, but that number can significantly rise if there’s major winds. With more capacity being added all the time, it can supply far more energy than anticipated. 

Germany alone has spent over $200 billion on the renewable industry in the last 20 years. Since fossil fuel can’t shut down and restart easily, it’s better for the exchange to pay consumers. That’s now happened over 100 times alone in 2017, which is more frequent than other European countries have seen.

One solution has been to sell the power to neighboring countries, similar to what California has done when they have a surplus of solar generation. However, that’s harder to maintain when these instances become longer. During a weekend in October, Germany achieved negative rates for 31 straight hours.

“[We] now have technology that cannot produce according to the demand, but is producing according to the weather,” Tobias Kurth, managing director of Energy Brainpool, told the New York Times. “[This is one] of the key challenges in the whole transition of the energy market to renewable power.”

Battery storage is ultimately the ideal upcoming solution, as we’ve seen Tesla’s Powerpacks keep South Australia’s electrical grid stabilized. The technology still needs to be improved upon to handle bigger grids, but it’s becoming cheaper to install. Until that’s available, perhaps the best way to relieve stress on these grids is to promote using more power.

We’ve been tailored to use as little energy as possible, such as turning off lights and TVs when not in the same room or at certain times of the day. Renewable energy generation is changing that mindset. Perhaps Germany’s energy companies can promote specific times for people to use higher energy tasks, like running washing machines or charging electric cars, when energy costs are low.

RecircStyle7 Etsy Shops Full Of Cruelty-Free Skincare

These seven Etsy shops from around the world offer an impressive range of cruelty-free products you can feel good about putting on your face.

By Marissa Higgins
3 days ago
RecircNews72 Million New Homes Will Run On Solar Power By 2030

A new report shares why decentralized energy grids will power the homes of the future and make a major difference in the lives of those in developing countries currently with limited or zero access to electricity. 

By Koty Neelis
4 days ago
RecircNewsStarbucks And McDonalds Team Up To Create A Compostable To-Go Cup

Starbucks and McDonalds are working together to rethink to-go cups and inviting others to join them in creating eco-friendly packaging in an effort to reduce waste and environmental impact.

By Koty Neelis
4 days ago
RecircFoodMeat And Dairy Corporations Could Soon Beat Oil As World's Worst Polluters

A new report finds that meat and dairy producers are on track to surpass the oil industry's greenhouse gas emissions.

By Kristin Hunt
4 days ago
Stay Green
Sign up for our newsletter