German Utilities Paid to Stabilize Grid Due to Increased Wind and Solar

feature-0-1406305356810.jpg Germany’s push toward renewable energy is causing so many drops and surges from wind and solar power that the government is paying more utilities than ever to help stabilize the country’s electricity grid.

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  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: German Utilities Paid to Stabilize Grid Due to Increased Wind and Solar

    This was a "known problem" at the start of their clean energy plan. Unfortunately it was ignored by everyone except the utilities who use it as an excuse to stymie any solar use. It seems they have also found a way to turn it into a cash cow.
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 4,964 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: German Utilities Paid to Stabilize Grid Due to Increased Wind and Solar

    I think/hope we all saw this coming, perhaps their adaptation will help the US market plan ahead.

    Is there an investment strategy that involves natural gas generation?
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, 660 ah 24v ForkLift battery. Off grid for @16 of last 17 years. Assorted other systems, and to many panels in the closet to not do more...lol
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,142 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: German Utilities Paid to Stabilize Grid Due to Increased Wind and Solar

    we need to hear something about what will be done on the storage side of the equation.... I find it hard to imagine they are just going to let moneys slip through their fingers (power that could have been stored and sold later or used for 'immediate delivery power)
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
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  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 4,964 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: German Utilities Paid to Stabilize Grid Due to Increased Wind and Solar

    Ideally, for now, they/we can store the energy as fossil fuels, by Not running the fossil fuel energy plants. The problem is they are getting to the point in Germany that they have to keep so many generators spinning at inefficient levels because Solar and Wind are becoming such a large component of their available energy sources and they change very quickly. At one point, one cool spring day Germany was producing greater than 70% of their grid energy from renewable resources.

    The reason I eluded to investment in natural gas generation plants is they are one of the quicker spin up generators, and reasonably clean burning.
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, 660 ah 24v ForkLift battery. Off grid for @16 of last 17 years. Assorted other systems, and to many panels in the closet to not do more...lol
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: German Utilities Paid to Stabilize Grid Due to Increased Wind and Solar

    In future they may utilize flywheel storage: use the solar & wind generated electric to power motors to keep the mass of the fuel-fired turbines spinning when not in use.
  • bill von novakbill von novak Solar Expert Posts: 849 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: German Utilities Paid to Stabilize Grid Due to Increased Wind and Solar
    In future they may utilize flywheel storage: use the solar & wind generated electric to power motors to keep the mass of the fuel-fired turbines spinning when not in use.

    Or just use consumers. Consumers could have a 'smart agent' that will sell load to the utility when it needs to absorb extra power, and that will sell load _reduction_ to the utility when they have a deficit. Even sell stored power if the price is right. From the article:

    "Twenty power companies including Germany’s biggest utilities, EON SE and RWE AG, now get fees for pledging to add or cut electricity within seconds to keep the power system stable, double the number in September, according to data from the nation’s four grid operators. Utilities that sign up to the 800 million-euro ($1.1 billion) balancing market can be paid as much as 400 times wholesale electricity prices, the data show."

    Imagine how many consumers would be willing to use surplus electricity if the utility paid them to do so, or put stored power back on the grid for $10 a kilowatt-hour.
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 4,964 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: German Utilities Paid to Stabilize Grid Due to Increased Wind and Solar
    Or just use consumers. Consumers could have a 'smart agent' that will sell load to the utility when it needs to absorb extra power, and that will sell load _reduction_ to the utility when they have a deficit. Even sell stored power if the price is right. From the article...

    "Imagine how many consumers would be willing to use surplus electricity if the utility paid them to do so, or put stored power back on the grid for $10 a kilowatt-hour.

    Unfortunatly nothing is setup that way, yet, since they may be able to shut down the production of solar array via smart meters, that might be a possibility, but consumers aren't setup to use more power(in general). ...and of course the consumers have a contract that says the Electric company will buy their power... I'd hazard to guess so few have any means to store power, since it, to date, has very little benefit to a reliable grid. Though for enough money...
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, 660 ah 24v ForkLift battery. Off grid for @16 of last 17 years. Assorted other systems, and to many panels in the closet to not do more...lol
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: German Utilities Paid to Stabilize Grid Due to Increased Wind and Solar
    Photowhit wrote: »
    Unfortunatly nothing is setup that way, yet, since they may be able to shut down the production of solar array via smart meters, that might be a possibility, but consumers aren't setup to use more power(in general). ...and of course the consumers have a contract that says the Electric company will buy their power... I'd hazard to guess so few have any means to store power, since it, to date, has very little benefit to a reliable grid. Though for enough money...

    There is some irony in the plan as well, because certain utilities have demonstrated a paranoid fear that people with batteries are "stealing their power" (i.e. time-shifting; buying at low night rate and selling back at peak demand times).

    As solar increases it will need to be successfully integrated into the grid. At the moment it isn't, and the small-scale buy/sell arrangements are only suitable so long as they remain small. If you have 250,000 houses in one location that could run -48 kW to +48 kW it becomes a more difficult management problem.
  • bill von novakbill von novak Solar Expert Posts: 849 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: German Utilities Paid to Stabilize Grid Due to Increased Wind and Solar
    Photowhit wrote: »
    Unfortunatly nothing is setup that way, yet, since they may be able to shut down the production of solar array via smart meters, that might be a possibility, but consumers aren't setup to use more power(in general)
    Well, almost everyone has a thermostat. With electric heat, turning up the thermostat takes more power, and with A/C, turning it down takes more power (and both have advantages at certain times.) It's also pretty simple to do an electric/natural gas DHW system.
    and of course the consumers have a contract that says the Electric company will buy their power... I'd hazard to guess so few have any means to store power, since it, to date, has very little benefit to a reliable grid. Though for enough money...

    Exactly.
  • stephendvstephendv Solar Expert Posts: 1,571 ✭✭
    Re: German Utilities Paid to Stabilize Grid Due to Increased Wind and Solar
    Photowhit wrote: »
    Unfortunatly nothing is setup that way, yet, since they may be able to shut down the production of solar array via smart meters, that might be a possibility, but consumers aren't setup to use more power(in general). ...and of course the consumers have a contract that says the Electric company will buy their power... I'd hazard to guess so few have any means to store power, since it, to date, has very little benefit to a reliable grid. Though for enough money...

    Germany has seen this coming and launched grants to install residential battery based storage systems: http://cleantechnica.com/2014/05/18/germanys-residential-battery-storage-subsidy-success-4000-new-systems-1st-year/
    They've also changed their feed in tariffs so that it's more attractive to use your own solar power instead of injecting it into the grid. This has spawned a whole new market segment of residential power management systems: http://www.sma.de/en/products/monitoring-control/sunny-home-manager.html
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: German Utilities Paid to Stabilize Grid Due to Increased Wind and Solar
    stephendv wrote: »
    Germany has seen this coming and launched grants to install residential battery based storage systems: http://cleantechnica.com/2014/05/18/germanys-residential-battery-storage-subsidy-success-4000-new-systems-1st-year/
    They've also changed their feed in tariffs so that it's more attractive to use your own solar power instead of injecting it into the grid. This has spawned a whole new market segment of residential power management systems: http://www.sma.de/en/products/monitoring-control/sunny-home-manager.html

    In other words their grand plan for solar grid power is in fact spawning vast numbers of what are essentially off-grid systems.
    Oh the irony. :D
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,340 ✭✭✭✭✭
    250Kw iron and chromium redox flow battery

    http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1386&doc_id=273614

    Appears to be on line and running now. Maybe the bugs will get worked out and these will come on-line soon.

    Attachment not found.
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • stephendvstephendv Solar Expert Posts: 1,571 ✭✭
    Re: German Utilities Paid to Stabilize Grid Due to Increased Wind and Solar
    In other words their grand plan for solar grid power is in fact spawning vast numbers of what are essentially off-grid systems.
    Oh the irony. :D

    Hehe, yes. Although grid connected battery systems would solve a lot of problems with RE systems. Since they're distributed you don't have as severe distribution losses as with large solar farms or central generators. And with enough of them you can smooth out the peaks and troughs of RE systems, although getting enough of them installed that they can have an impact on the grid at large will be the hurdle. 4000 battery systems in the entire country is a drop in the ocean.
  • zonebluezoneblue Solar Expert Posts: 1,218 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: German Utilities Paid to Stabilize Grid Due to Increased Wind and Solar

    If you read Scheer, youll know that its popular to hate the german solar program. However the fact is that this is a problem that has existed since the begining of power generation. Even here in NZ surplus power is sometimes dumped, and we have no solar program. In France they have so much nuclear that they are forced to dump power, with rates often going negative. Theyll actually pay you to take surplus power.

    Scheers view, and i agree, is that this is all nothing more than stalling tactics from vested energy interests. Unfortunately, give the risks to the biosphere from fossil and nuclear, what is a business inconvenience for them is of fatal consequence for humanity. Hence the only rational response is to tell the establishment apologists to shut the heck up.

    100% renewable target is the only rational decision. And before you come back at this, you had better have read or be prepeared to read A Solar Manifesto.
    1.8kWp CSUN, 10kWh AGM, Midnite Classic 150, Outback VFX3024E,
    http://zoneblue.org/cms/page.php?view=off-grid-solar


  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,142 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: German Utilities Paid to Stabilize Grid Due to Increased Wind and Solar

    It's too bad that the long distance transport of electricity is so inefficient or they could send it to where it could be used...
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
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  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: German Utilities Paid to Stabilize Grid Due to Increased Wind and Solar

    I guess some countries have really lousy grid management.

    The fact remains it is still easier to control conventional power generating plants because they can produce whenever. Solar and wind only produce when they produce; you can't really switch them on and off. As such the need to store the energy they can make for use when it is demand is even greater than with conventional generation.

    Nothing to do with policies or conspiracies. Just the physics of it. So far.
  • zonebluezoneblue Solar Expert Posts: 1,218 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: German Utilities Paid to Stabilize Grid Due to Increased Wind and Solar
    Nothing to do with policies or conspiracies. Just the physics of it. So far.

    So whats your countrys excuse? Canada of all countrys has more than enough hydro to offset an agressive solar/wind program. But its their *policy* to continue to support fossil and nuclear.

    I know what youre going to say, its all about cost. Well that also doesnt stand scrutiny. Scheer covers this in several chapters. Just two examples:

    1. subsidies and other public costs for fossil/nuclear are a whole order of magnitude higher than for renewables. Without the level of R&D investment provided (and continues to be provided) to the old energys, renewables will naturally will not fall in price as fast. He cites studies with figures like 16+ cents per kWh, worth of public support for establishment energy. If you are going to compare costs, it is not valid to compare a technology with many embodied pubilc benefits with one with embodied and real public costs.

    2. in spite of these public costs, nuclear is now *at least* twice the cost of solar, but that doesnt stop agressive *policy* support for nuclear (and other futilities like space travel and fusion research).
    1.8kWp CSUN, 10kWh AGM, Midnite Classic 150, Outback VFX3024E,
    http://zoneblue.org/cms/page.php?view=off-grid-solar


  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: German Utilities Paid to Stabilize Grid Due to Increased Wind and Solar

    I quite agree that Canada's RE policy is, well, non-existent. But my comment was about the very real problem with large-scale solar installation which has nothing to do with policies. Want all you like, but switching from a reliable 24/7 power source to one that only generates a few hours a day when the sun shines has some practical considerations that no policy can make disappear.

    In fact cost is a major issue here: our vast hydro produces clean energy so cheaply that solar and wind are largely ignored. (Although we do have some sizable wind installations.) In Ontario where they made the mistake of encouraging solar by paying 4X what the power was worth they soon ran into financial difficulties.

    We don't have the greatest solar climate in the world either. It tends to be dark much of the year. Rains and snows too. That Canada doesn't adopt it whole-heartedly isn't strange, but the USA doesn't because of all the private companies fighting to stop it or even get it removed. Lots of potential, not so much realization. The utter lack of a nation-wide comprehensive energy policy to break down the opposition generated (pun intended) by greed and fear would be why.

    Curiously we have vigorous opposition to proposed new hydro dams due to environmental concerns. But that means we either have to do without increased power generation or else build more fossil-fuel plants. Solar is not yet efficient enough to be cost effective, subsidies or not.

    It's a pity people can't (or don't want to) understand how solar can be viable under the right circumstances and that it isn't under the wrong ones.
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,142 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: German Utilities Paid to Stabilize Grid Due to Increased Wind and Solar

    First off Canada is > 5000 miles across, depending on where you measure it... I know cause my butt tells me so when we went across on M.cycle, 4000 miles and we still weren't all the way across there... Not quite like NZ, a nice small country. Is it still 'true' that if the main hydro cable was cut the S Island would drift away? :p:roll:

    Basically you have to look at each province as Utilities (Hydro, etc) fall under Prov jurisdiction. Not sure but I believe the closest Canadian Nuke plant is in Eastern Ontario, ~ 3000 miles away, and I agree there is a long history of small Hydro dams in Ontario, going back hundreds of years. A lot have been shut down and could be revived...

    Subsidies?...Don't know but I suspect you are right, it's hard to dig them up though...
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,360 admin
    Re: German Utilities Paid to Stabilize Grid Due to Increased Wind and Solar

    Its all politics... In California, "Big" Hydro is not considered renewable energy.

    From 2008:

    http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/reprint/speaking_truth_to_wind_power.html
    The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported in 2008, on a dollar per MWh basis, the U.S. government subsidizes wind at $23.34 - compared to reliable energy sources: natural gas at 25 cents; coal at 44 cents; hydro at 67 cents; and nuclear at $1.59,...

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: German Utilities Paid to Stabilize Grid Due to Increased Wind and Solar
    BB. wrote: »
    Its all politics... In California, "Big" Hydro is not considered renewable energy.

    -Bill

    That's because of the song: "They say it never rains in southern California ..." :D
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