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

By Brian Spaen

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.