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The balance sheet of renewable energies is deceptive

If the annual energy balance for renewables is more positive from year to year, then such celebration is based on a very one-sided view of pure production volumes. Little is said about the contribution of renewables to a reliable power supply.

Electricity from renewable sources is becoming more important, but not more reliable. Without coal, gas and nuclear power, supply would have collapsed.

Although the share of power generation from renewables is increasing, the security of supply is not guaranteed.

Who could blame the energy industry for celebrating the triumph of renewables? Last year, the proportion of electricity generated from renewable sources, 35 percent, was equal to the share of electricity from coal-fired power plants, according to the industry association BDEW.

The year 2018 was again a complete success for the operators of plants generating power using wind, sun, water and biogas.

But appearance is deceptive. A look at the production data for the month of December 2018 illustrates this. Solar power production was hardly relevant in the rather gloomy pre-Christmas period over long distances. In mid-December, there were also a few days with very low wind power generation.

Without coal, gas and even nuclear power, the power supply would have collapsed. Help from abroad would have been... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Electricity from renewable sources is becoming more important, but not more reliable. Without coal, gas and nuclear power, supply would have collapsed.

Although the share of power generation from renewables is increasing, the security of supply is not guaranteed.

Who could blame the energy industry for celebrating the triumph of renewables? Last year, the proportion of electricity generated from renewable sources, 35 percent, was equal to the share of electricity from coal-fired power plants, according to the industry association BDEW.

The year 2018 was again a complete success for the operators of plants generating power using wind, sun, water and biogas.

But appearance is deceptive. A look at the production data for the month of December 2018 illustrates this. Solar power production was hardly relevant in the rather gloomy pre-Christmas period over long distances. In mid-December, there were also a few days with very low wind power generation.

Without coal, gas and even nuclear power, the power supply would have collapsed. Help from abroad would have been possible but only to a very limited extent. In neighboring states, electricity was also scarce over extended periods. European unity always ends when there is a danger of the lights going out in your own country.

If the annual energy balance for renewables is more positive from year to year, then such celebration is based on a very one-sided view of pure production volumes. Little is said about the contribution of renewables to a reliable power supply.

While one may want a cleaner world, getting there without fossil power plants as a back-up solution is not possible. Only fossil generation can ensure that enough electricity is generated every second of a year.

This will not change appreciably even if the federal government were to achieve its goal of increasing the share of renewables in power generation to 65 percent by 2030. If the wind and low solar energy yield coincide, the fossils must be called upon - even if the annual balance of renewables is so positive.

There is no viable solution to this problem. Those seeking to save Germany from a dark recession, i.e. a period without significant wind and solar power production - must depend on fossil power plants. There are always such phases, and they can easily last two weeks.

The availability of low-cost electricity storage that can work in conjunction with wind and solar is not an option today regardless of any political push.

And the incentives for operators of wind turbines or photovoltaic systems to address the limitations of their resources are far too weak. 

Translation from German to English via Google Translate

 


Source: https://www.handelsblatt.co...

JAN 1 2019
http://www.windaction.org/posts/49305-the-balance-sheet-of-renewable-energies-is-deceptive
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