What's happening in Germany?

CariboocootCariboocoot Posts: 17,615Banned ✭✭
Today's newsfeed about the power problem in Hawaii has prompted me to relate a snippet that was on the local weather (of all places) last night. The forecaster was talking about a big storm in Germany that was causing power problems due to the recent increase in reliance on solar power.

Now I can't find one single news source that confirms this, logical though it may be. Is this guy talking through his hat or is there really a storm over there taking out solar electric production?

This has always been the problem with solar and wind for grid use; the utilities do not have control of the production which adds another variable. As far as I know it hasn't reached a critical stage, but with Germany and Japan dumping nuclear power in favour of solar they will be the first to find out how bad it could be.

Comments

  • nielniel Posts: 10,311Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What's happening in Germany?

    looking at google earth i'd say germany is getting some good snowfalls off and on being below freezing and there appears to be more extending all of the way to scotland. their only real problem would be peak loadings that solar took care of normally and conserving power would relieve their grid and generators of too much burden.
  • solar_davesolar_dave Posts: 2,337Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What's happening in Germany?

    Wonder if the Gulf Stream conveyor is less than normal?
  • nielniel Posts: 10,311Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What's happening in Germany?
    solar_dave wrote: »
    Wonder if the Gulf Stream conveyor is less than normal?

    i don't know. hey, maybe that explains why i'm not normal any more?:roll::p:p
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Posts: 1,807Banned ✭✭
    Re: What's happening in Germany?
    Now I can't find one single news source that confirms this, logical though it may be. Is this guy talking through his hat or is there really a storm over there taking out solar electric production?

    Solar in Germany in the winter times makes virtually zero power because there is only 6 hours of daylight. They put the solar in for in the summer time. The majority of their power comes from coal and 30 GW of wind capacity in the winter. So somebody was thinking up a story just to fill the radio waves with gab.

    We're going to my wife's parents place in Sweden for Christmas next week. Where they live the sun comes up at 9:30 AM, sets at 2:30 PM and it's dark by 3:00 in the afternoon. They have solar panels on their house. But they only work good in the summer when the sun shines 19 hours a day there. I wonder why that isn't on the news?
    --
    Chris
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Posts: 17,615Banned ✭✭
    Re: What's happening in Germany?
    ChrisOlson wrote: »
    Solar in Germany in the winter times makes virtually zero power because there is only 6 hours of daylight. They put the solar in for in the summer time. The majority of their power comes from coal and 30 GW of wind capacity in the winter. So somebody was thinking up a story just to fill the radio waves with gab.

    In a way, I was kind of hoping it wasn't. Because if the problem of 'no storage' shows up there first, perhaps the solution will too. This idea that we can turn a large portion of grid generation over to solar/wind is still a pipe dream for this reason.
    We're going to my wife's parents place in Sweden for Christmas next week. Where they live the sun comes up at 9:30 AM, sets at 2:30 PM and it's dark by 3:00 in the afternoon. They have solar panels on their house. But they only work good in the summer when the sun shines 19 hours a day there. I wonder why that isn't on the news?
    --
    Chris

    Because "same old" isn't news? :p
    I know that scene too: from 16 hours of sun in Summer to 6 in Winter. Welcome to the Cariboo; it's just like Sweden, but with a different accent. :D
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Posts: 1,807Banned ✭✭
    Re: What's happening in Germany?

    The thing is, the people in Germany aren't stupid. They knew the solar wasn't the best for winter because of their 52 degree north latitude, and overcast snowy conditions. They put it in for summer with the long days. I heard that there was one day last May that the German solar output provided over 50% of all the power for the entire nation for one day! Now that's impressive! And it offsets their fossil fuel use.

    They shut down most of their nuke plants, but they still got coal fired plants and 30 GW of wind capacity. So they're aren't short on power, no matter how big of a story the news media tries to make out of it. They've had some grid instability problems since shutting down the nuke plants. But that has absolutely NOTHING to do with their drive to use solar power to offset their use of fossil fuels in the long term.

    When it comes to the news media if you believe nothing that you hear and only half of what you see, you're usually closer to the truth.

    Sweden leads the world in renewable power. Over 50% of the energy used in Sweden, including for transportation, comes from renewables. But the vast majority of it comes from the huge hydro plants on the Lule north of the Arctic Circle. Sweden has also invested heavily in offshore wind power. And they use solar for distributed generation, installed on buildings and homes. There are days in Sweden when they approach 100% of their electricity from renewable sources. But Sweden is a small country with only 9 million population so their per capita energy consumption is a lot lower than Germany, and they have more resources to generate it per capita.

    Running a nation on renewable power is no different than an off-grid home. When the sun don't shine and the wind don't blow, you need backup generators. Only the news media comes up with these stories, every time there's a power outage someplace, that it all "failed" when there's renewable energy involved. And typically it's right wing, pro Big Oil news media that comes up with it.
    --
    Chris
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Posts: 17,615Banned ✭✭
    Re: What's happening in Germany?

    Yes indeed, Chris.
    Your last comment explains why when I went looking for confirmation of this report I couldn't find any. :roll:

    I bet Sweden is really good at conservation too. North America could solve half its energy problem by just not wasting so much. :grr

    NOTE: This is the first time I've ever moved one of my own threads to a more appropriate category. :p
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Posts: 1,807Banned ✭✭
    Re: What's happening in Germany?
    I bet Sweden is really good at conservation too. North America could solve half its energy problem by just not wasting so much. :grr

    Actually, Sweden's per capita consumption of electricity is 15,700 kWh/year. In the US it is about 12,900 kWh/year. However, more things run on electricity in Sweden and they use very little LP and natural gas because it is so expensive there. There are thousands of electric cars in Sweden - you see 10 year old Citroën's as a common thing in Stockholm. EV's are few and far between here in the US.

    It is two different worlds and typically Europe is at least a decade ahead of North America in conservation and technology. We love going to Sweden because the standard of living there is much higher than in the US. The entire country is a model of efficiency and order with a public transportation system that is so punctual and efficient that you have no need for a car to get to anyplace you want, and arrive there on time. People in the US think nothing of jumping in a SUV and driving 4 blocks to a convenience store to get a gallon of milk. In Sweden, and most of the other European countries this is unthinkable - you either ride a bicycle or in the winter time bundle up and walk those four blocks to get your milk.
    --
    Chris
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