"The Eclipse 2015: Preview of the Power System in 2030"
Friday’s solar eclipse will provide a taste of Germany’s power system in 2030, according to a new study commissioned by energy think tank Agora Energiewende*. Depending on the amount of sunshine, electricity generation from renewable sources will fluctuate by up to 15 gigawatts within an hour on Friday, which should become a common occurrence in 15 years’ time, according to calculations by research institute Fraunhofer IWES.
Friday's fluctuations are expected to be manageable because grid operators have booked flexible power generation capacities. “If today’s comparatively inflexible power system copes with the solar eclipse, then 2030’s power system will handle similar situations effortlessly,” says Agora head Patrick Graichen. “Because of the Energiewende, the power system must become more flexible anyway.” Many technologies to improve the balance between supply and demand are already available, but they need to be developed further, according to the study. A secure future power system will require additional integration with other European power systems, domestic grid extensions, better integration of large consumers into the power market, the development of flexible storage technologies, and highly flexible power plants, argue the study's authors.
See the study in German here.
See a CLEW news article about the eclipse here.
“A third of Germans think blackouts possible during eclipse”
A large majority of Germans still support the Energiewende, according to a survey by consultancy PwC. 92 percent of respondents approved of the transition to renewable energies. More than a third said the German Energiewende was on track, while almost 50 percent believed the project needed major revisions, even if it was right in principle. Around a third of Germans were concerned that Friday’s solar eclipse might lead to widespread blackouts. But most thought that scenario unlikely, and 61 percent of respondents believed the risk of blackouts was small.
Berlin's ruling coalition to discuss thorny Energiewende issues
Members of Germany's ruling grand coalition will discuss controversial aspects of the Energiewende at a meeting on Saturday, Dow Jones reports. Attendees will include Sigmar Gabriel, Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, as well as other senior energy and enonomics experts, insiders told the newswire. Hot potatoes include a final decision on capacity markets and the redesign of the power market, Bavaria’s blocking of planned electricity superhighways to transport wind power from north to south, and a reduction of CO2 emissions from the power sector, according to the report.
“Energy transition pushes EnBW into the red”
Germany’s third-largest utility, EnBW, booked a loss last year because of the Energiewende, according to a report by Reuters. While sales increased slightly to 21 billion euros, EnBW incurred a loss of 450 million euros compared with a profit of 51 million a year earlier. Like rivals E.ON and RWE, EnBW had to reduce the value of conventional and loss-making power plants on its balance sheet. EnBW wants to increase its exposure to renewable energies but its earnings in the sector were down 13 percent in 2014.
See the report in German here.
See a report from Deutsche Welle on the results in English here.
See CLEW’s dossier on the large utilities’ fight for survival here.
Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi)
Ministry presents reform proposals for modern distribution networks
The federal government wants to reform the way distribution grid operators are rewarded for investment in new grid connections. “The distribution grid plays a vital role in the success of the energy transition,” BMWi state secretary Rainer Baake said. The distribution network is the lowest voltage grid that was originally designed to deliver power from the large overland transmission lines to households and other small consumers. Today, 80 percent of renewable power produced is fed into the distribution network, requiring considerable investment into its modernisation and extension, a ministry press release says. The new rules will give faster refunds to grid operators who invest in the distribution network and grant an “efficiency bonus” to those operators who invest into particularly efficient – for example smart grid – solutions.
See the press release in German here.
*Like the Clean Energy Wire, Agora Energiewende is a project funded by Stiftung Mercator and the European Climate Foundation.