25.01.2019 | A great deal has gone wrong in Germany's transformation of the power system
Germany is restructuring power production, will shut down its nuclear power plants by 2022 and wants a massive increase in the proportion of renewable energies. However, the German energy turnaround is not only costly, it has often resulted in absurd market interventions. Taking a close look is worthwhile - for Switzerland as well.
It is a familiar ritual at the beginning of the year in Germany - success stories about the green energy turnaround make the rounds. The praise put forth by Think Tank Agora Energiewende: The proportion of energy from wind power, photovoltaic and biomass is at 35 per cent and already at the same level as coal-fired power plant production. And by the year 2030, 65 per cent of power production will come from renewable energies.
A great deal of media attention also occurs when the news is that the entire daily power demand can been covered by renewables. However, when the situation is precisely the contrary - as was the case on Thursday, 10 January 2018, when the proportion of green electricity at 2.00 p.m. dropped to only 12.3 per cent - it's hardly worth a headline.
Electricity production in Germany on 11 December 2018 (Source/Graphics: Fraunhofer ISE)
A lot of wind in Germany on 25 December 2018
This was the situation on Thursday 10.1. 2019 during the whole day
And this is how it looks in summer on a sunny and windy day - electricity production in Germany on 11 August 2018
This example and the daily graphic of power production are exemplary in demonstrating the main problem of the German energy turnaround: Production from renewables fluctuates strongly and can often not be precisely predicted. In periods when there is little sun and wind, the lack of more efficient, technical solutions with large batteries for storage requires conventional reserve capacities to compensate shortages in order to ensure the supply of electricity to German households and industry.
The energy turnaround has not been a success story in other areas as well. The latest monitoring results by McKinsey indicate, "The key goals are still not being reached in terms of the energy turnaround." According to a survey the German population stands behind the energy turnaround in principle, but only 16 per cent are satisfied with how policy-makers are implementing it.
These are the facts about the dark side:
"Irsinn (insanity) in Irsching," is the headline in the "Handelsblatt". The "NZZ" title is: "Systematic absurdity in the German energy turnaround". So it is worthwhile to take a closer look in Switzerland in order to avoid similar, costly mistakes and endangering security of supply when implementing the Energy Strategy 2050 and setting the political framework conditions for electricity production.