Gaps in German power supply through 2030 possible – report
Clean Energy Wire
Higher electricity demand, fewer fossil power plants, and insufficient renewable energy, combined with extreme weather conditions, could lead to gaps in Germany’s power supply in the coming years, an analysis by the Institute of Energy Economics (EWI) at the University of Cologne has found. The researchers warned that security of electricity supply is not guaranteed in all circumstances over the course of this decade. Decisive factors that could impact supply security include the increasing demand for electricity due to ongoing electrification, the dismantling of fossil power plant capacities, and the relatively slow expansion of renewable energy sources."The flexibilization of electricity demand is therefore of significant importance for the security of supply with electricity," said EWI manager Philip Schnaars. Additional wind and PV capacity can also contribute to increasing security of supply in extreme weather situations. This additional benefit is greatest when excess energy can be stored and then used to cover peak loads, the researchers found.
The researchers examined historical weather data to find out under what circumstances supply gaps could occur. The analysis of weather data from 1982 to 2016 showed that there could be supply gaps, especially in weather conditions with significantly below-average wind availability in northern and central Europe, and very limited sunshine in southern Europe. These two weather anomalies combined, for example, in January 1997 and December 2007 over a longer period of at least seven days. The EWI team analysed and quantified the possibility of supply gaps for the 2025 to 2030 period in various scenarios. They examined different paths to phasing out coal, the expansion of renewables, the availability of electricity imports and storage capacities, and the degree of electrification.