Renewable energy share reaches record high in Germany, PV Magazine 31. JULY 2014 New installations coupled with favorable climatic conditions helped boost the share of renewables to a record 28.5% in the first half of 2014. The share of renewable energy in gross domestic energy consumption is expected to rise to a record high of 28.5% in the first half of 2014, according to a preliminary survey by the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW).
The construction of new renewable installations coupled with favorable climatic conditions helped boost the share of renewables to record levels by mid-year. In the first half of 2013, the renewables share of gross domestic energy consumption was at 24.6%.
Producing 18.3 billion kilowatt hours, photovoltaic power generation increased by 27.3%, while wind grew by 21.4% to 31 billion kilowatt hours. Biomass energy generation increased 5.2% to 22 billion kilowatt hours in the period……..
Energy generation by conventional plants on decline
The production by conventional power plants is declining significantly, BDEW reported……..
Gas and electricity consumption saw a general decline in the period: Natural gas consumption amounted to 445.7 billion kilowatt hours, down some 20% from 555.5 billion. The BDEW attributed the drop to significantly warmer weather in 2014, which lowered overall heating demand, especially compared to the very cold first half of 2013. A decline in production in Germany’s chemical industry likewise contributed to lower gas use. Adjusted for temperature, natural gas consumption still fell nearly 7%.
Electricity consumption in the period dropped 5% to 268 billion kilowatt hours, down from 282 billion a year ago, due mainly to the mild weather.
German green energy law clears final hurdle http://af.reuters.com/article/commoditiesNews/idAFL6N0PM3KB20140711?pageNumber=2&virtualBrandChannel=0 FRANKFURT, July 11 (Reuters) – Germany’s upper house of parliament, the Bundesrat, approved on Friday revamped legislation on funding renewable energy, clearing the way for the law to come into force on Aug. 1.
The far-reaching law, which seeks to cap support payments for renewables without jeopardising the country’s shift towards a low carbon economy, had hung in the balance, after months of negotiations, due to wrangling with European Union authorities over its compatibility with state aid guidelines.
But Brussels granted its consent this week, providing encouragement to the Bundesrat, which represents Germany’s 16 states, to vote through the reform package to the renewable energy act (EEG) in its Friday session.
“Germany has embarked on a long project to derive the energy supply of an industrial nation from renewable energy sources, which is historically without parallel,” Stefan Wenzel, environment minister of the state of Lower Saxony, told the Bundesrat.
Germany’s lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, approved the reform package two weeks ago. On Wednesday, European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said Berlin had allayed concerns that German industry might receive unfair advantages through exemptions from obligatory payments towards the cost of funding green energy. He also said Germany had cleared up two other remaining issues – the need to bring foreign renewable power into planned auctions for green energy from 2017 and to change the system of allowing industrial companies, which produce their own power, full discounts on the EEG after that date.
In 2011 Germany embarked on a strategy to accelerate its exit from nuclear energy in light of Japan’s Fukushima crisis, stepping up its renewables expansion and lowering its dependence on power stations that run on gas and coal.
Green energy from sources such as wind or sunshine has already reached a share of 25 percent of Germany’s power mix and is meant to reach 45 percent by 2025 and 60 percent by 2035.
The EEG reform is aimed at lowering the cost of green energy funding for consumers, among a number of other elements that will be introduced in future, including compensation of conventional producers for loss of market share. (Reporting by Markus Wacket and Vera Eckert; Editing by Gareth Jones)
In short, German policy gave renewables fair access to the grid, promoted competition, weakened monopolies, and helped citizens and communities own half of renewable capacity. In 2013, Germany’s nuclear generation reached a 30-year low while renewable generation, 56% greater, set a new record, reaching an average of 27% of domestic use in the first quarter of 2014 and a brief peak of 74% on 11 May.
How Opposite Energy Policies Turned The Fukushima Disaster Into A Loss For Japan And A Win For
Germany Forbes, Amory B Lovins 28 June 14 Japan thinks of itself as famously poor in energy, but this national identity rests on a semantic confusion. Japan is indeed poor in fossil fuels—but among all major industrial countries, it’s the richest in renewableenergy like sun, wind, and geothermal. For example, Japan has nine times Germany’s renewable energy resources. Yet Japan makes about nine times less of its electricity from renewables (excluding hydropower) than Germany does.
That’s not because Japan has inferior engineers or weaker industries, but only because Japan’s government allows its powerful allies—regional utility monopolies—to protect their profits by blocking competitors. Since there’s no mandatory wholesale power market, only about 1% of power is traded, and utilities own almost all the wires and power plants and hence can decide whom they will allow to compete against their own assets, the vibrant independent power sector has only a 2.3% market share; under real competition it would take most of the rest. These conditions have caused an extraordinary divergence between Japan’s and Germany’s electricity outcomes. Continue reading
German State to Reach 100% Renewable Power This Year http://inhabitat.com/german-state-to-reach-
100-renewable-power-this-year/ by Josh Marks, 06/25/14 Germany recently smashed three solar energy records in just two weeks and set a new overall renewables record last month with 74 percent clean energy use during the middle of the day. Now the Federal Republic’s northernmost — and windiest — state of Schleswig-Holstein is set to generate all of its electricity from green energy this year. The state, which borders Denmark and the North and Baltic Seas, has a goal to generate 300 percent of its electricity needs from renewables.
Schleswig-Holstein is home to more than 200 businesses in the wind energy sector with around 7,000 employees. As of 2010, wind power in Germany provided more than 96,000 jobs and that figure is expected to increase as the nation commits to phasing out nuclear energy and replacing it with renewables.
While Schleswig-Holstein aims to become the first of Germany’s 16 states to pass the 300 percent renewables mark, a Bavarian village has already blown past that milestone. In 2011, Wildpoldsried produced a whopping 321 percent of its electricity from clean energy, generating four million Euro (US $5.7 million) in revenue by selling it back to the national grid. Via CleanTechnica
Germany says no more credit guarantees for nuclear exports BERLIN, June 12 (Reuters) - Germany’s government has decided to stop issuing credit guarantees for exports of equipment used for nuclear power generation because the risks to public safety are too great, the Economy Ministry said on Thursday.
The guarantees offer security to exporters and banks who do business in emerging markets where there is a risk of non-payment.
For years, critics have called for a halt to Germany’s so-called Hermes guarantees for nuclear exports, such as those used in atomic plants in Brazil. China and India also want new nuclear plants to help fulfil their energy needs.
Credit guarantees will continue to be available for the decommissioning or tearing-down of nuclear plants as well as for research. Guarantees already issued will not be affected. http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/06/12/germany-exports-nuclear-idUSL5N0OT41420140612
Renewable Energy Growth Greater Than Nuclear Decline in Germany Clean Technica, JamesWimberley 3 June 14,
Foreigners lecturing Germans that they should keep their nuclear reactors running are wasting their time. The well-heeled nuclear lobby in Germany has completely failed to sell its product to a firmly anti-nuclear public, and has given up, so why should a few foreign bloggers make a difference?
FWIW, I agree with the argument – ten years of avoided coal power is not to be sniffed at. But the Energiewende is a package: phase out nukes and gas first, then coal. and replace them with renewables.
The real purpose of publicists like Adams is to convince Americans that the Energiewende is a hoax so that they will support their own domestic nuke-building. This objective is less hopeless, but not by much. Wall Street and the Administration have lost interest. Republicans in Congress will defend existing nuclear subsidies, but don’t have any appetite for upping them to the Hinkleyish scale needed for a significant revival of the American nuclear industry. Move on, there’s nothing to see here.http://cleantechnica.com/2014/06/03/renewable-energy-growth-germany-nuclear-decline/
Renewable Energy Growth Greater Than Nuclear Decline in Germany http://cleantechnica.com/2014/06/03/renewable-energy-growth-germany-nuclear-decline/ Energiewende Germany wrote this on Twitter:
Renewables have grown more than nuclear been shut down. Coal? In decline again.
Rod Adams, who tries to delay deployment of renewable energy since he rightly perceives it as dangerous competition to his preferred nuclear option, challenged that:
@EnergiewendeGER Do you have credible sources for that assertion?
This is a good occasion to have a new look at the figures. The renewable side of the statistics is best documented in this PDF published by Bernard Chabot at RenewablesInternational a couple of days ago, based on data released by the German Ministry of Economy in this report (in German language).
But first we need to get data for the nuclear decline, so as to find a suitable time frame for measuring the renewable growth.
The mid-term decline of nuclear in Germany is easily documented by looking at the figures released by Arbeitsgemeinschaft Energiebilanzen.
Nuclear peaked in 2001 at 171.3 TWh. It has been relatively stable for the five years until 2006, where it scored 167,4 TWh. From there on it’s a rapid decline. 148,8 TWh in 2008. 140,6 TWh in 2010. 108,0 TWh in 2011. 99,5 TWh in 2012. And 97,3 TWh in 2013.
That’s a decline of 74 TWh in the 12 years since 2001, and a decline of 42.9 TWh since 2010 (the last year before the Fukushima accident).
So has renewable grown more than that in those years?
Renewable scored around 36 TWh in 2001 and 152.6 TWh in 2013. That’s an increase of 116.6 TWh, which beats the nuclear decline since 2001 by a large margin.
The figure for renewable energy in 2010 was 104.8 TWh, which means an increase of 47.8 TWh, again beating the nuclear decline since 2010, though the margin is smaller in this case.
So, to answer Rod Adams’ question, there are reliable sources for the assertion that nuclear decline has not been able to keep up with renewable growth in Germany.
I am not sure if the opposite result would be worth much as a pro-nuclear argument, since it would mean that nuclear is declining even faster than it already is. That’s not a competition you really want to win if you are pro nuclear energy.
While I’m at it, there are some other interesting points found in the report by Bernard Chabot.
For one, Germany is well on track to reach the target of 35% renewable energy electricity generation in 2020. The figure for 2013 was already at 25.4%.
Solar capacity was at 35.9 GW at the end of last year, beating wind with 34.7 GW. That solar capacity figure is way ahead of the national renewable energy action plan Germany filed with the EU in 2010 (Table 10 at page 116), where the government expected only 27.3 GW in 2013. The number for wind is only slightly higher than expectations (33 GW).
Germany’s Gabriel says state won’t pay for nuclear decommissioning http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/05/18/uk-germany-energy-nuclear-idUKKBN0DY0EM20140518 BERLIN Sun May 18, (Reuters) - Germany‘s economy minister has joined Angela Merkel in rejecting talk that utilities might hand over responsibility for decommissioning Germany’s nuclear powerplants to a new public entity, as the projected costs of decommissioning rise.
“It should not be tax payers who pay for the clean-up of atomic waste but rather those who made money for decades through running nuclear power stations,” Sigmar Gabriel told the newspaper Bild am Sonntag in an interview published on Sunday.
Two sources told Reuters last weekend that utilities were in talks with the government about setting up a “bad bank” for nuclear plants, in response to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to close them all by 2022 after the Fukushima disaster.
The foundation would use provisions earmarked by the nuclear plant operators but would also take on the risk of unforeseen extra costs, effectively capping the utilities’ liability.
The Environment Ministry said last week the utilities bore full responsibility for safely decommissioning and dismantling the nine nuclear power plants still on the grid.
One of the sources had told Reuters that if the state takes over responsibility for the decommissioning, the utilities might be willing to drop their legal claims against the government for compensation for having to shut the plants. The four operators of nuclear plants in Germany – the German companies E.ON (EONGn.DE), RWE (RWEG.DE) and EnBW (EBKG.DE) and Sweden’s Vattenfall VATN.UL – have set aside total provisions of around 36 billion euros (29.3 billion pounds) for dismantling the plants and disposing of nuclear waste.
Germany’s Spiegel magazine reported on Sunday that government experts predicted a possible shortfall of 3.5 billion euros for the clean up, as costs had risen sharply. (Reporting by Alexandra Hudson; Editing by Larry King)
A bad bank for nuclear, as public assumes risk for closure costs http://reneweconomy.com.au/2014/a-bad-bank-for-nuclear-as-public-assumes-risk-for-closure-costs-39365 By Craig Morris on 16 May 2014 Energy Transition Over the weekend, there were reports of talks about the creation of a “bad bank” for German nuclear plants, which are to be shut down successively by the end of 2022.
Critics charge that the proposal is yet another attempt to privatize profits and nationalize losses. But Craig Morris has a bit more understanding for the firms’ position. At the end of February, the German hard coal sector made a proposal that revealed the sector’s actual situation: a bad bank. We continue to hear many reports about coal making a comeback in Germany, but in reality the uptick in 2013 will prove to be short-lived; coal power is already dramatically down in Q1 2014. And going forwards, hard coal in particular will be squeezed out even during the nuclear phaseout.
Now, the firms that run coal and nuclear plants think the idea might be useful to them during the nuclear phaseout. A quick glance at the idea is enough to make your hair stand on end, and the comments on German news websites (such as here – in German) are filled with outrage:
- The provisions set aside for the dismantling of the nuclear plants would be transferred to a state-owned foundation (the bad bank), which would then use the money for the phaseout.
- The government – meaning “the public” – would then run the risks, specifically if the costs exceed the provisions.
- In return, the power firms would drop their lawsuits against the German government with the ICSID (International Centre for Settlement and Disputes) settlements court in DC. Sweden’s Vattenfall has a minority holding in the Brokdorf nuclear plant in Germany along with Eon and is suing the German government in DC.
- Surprisingly, while Eon and EnBW (Vattenfall is apparently not involved in the negotiations for a bad bank) would be able to hand over their provisions, RWE would reportedly need a capital increase – has the firm spent its nuclear provisions on something else?
The case of Vattenfall is especially interesting. In the fall of 2010, the German government reneged on the original nuclear phaseout agreement of 2002 and extended the service lives of nuclear plants by 8 to 14 years, depending on the plant. In return, the government imposed a tax on the nuclear fuel rods to be consumed – allegedly to prevent windfall profits. But after Fukushima – only a few months later – those power plant extensions were revoked, but the tax remained.
In all likelihood, the four utilities agreed that the foreigner – Vattenfall, the one with the smallest nuclear assets – would “test the waters” and see whether a court case against the nuclear tax could be won. Last month, a German court ruled that the nuclear tax was illegal, so the current negotiations may be taking place against that backdrop.
There are, however, different readings of who wants what now. German economics daily Handelsblatt writes in its newsletter on Monday that “the government in Berlin wants to have the roughly 35 billion euros in nuclear provisions from Eon, RWE, EnBW, and Vattenfall,” the four utilities that run nuclear plants and Germany. This report in English at the Financial Times also makes it sound like the German government has plans of its own.
Technically, of course, the public already runs the risks. If anything goes wrong, the liability of these firms is limited. And while this limited liability has often been decried as unfair, we should keep in mind that the power firms themselves – from the US to Germany – never wanted to build nuclear plants. The nuclear power sector was originally an attempt to make the production of nuclear weapons more palatable to the public. The power sector wanted nothing to do with the technology, which they did not understand and did not trust. Once the government had limited their liability, they essentially began building the kind of power plants they understood but merely boiled the water with nuclear fuel rods instead of coal. Some 50 years ago, RWE in particular felt that nuclear would conflict with its fleet of coal plants. The result is hundreds of nuclear plants of crappy design, with numerous design options having barely been investigated.
The German government thus forced these companies into nuclear decades ago and now it is forcing them out. All of this is unfair to these firms. It’s also unfair to the German public, which never asked for nuclear power but has to pay for the entire mess. Whatever the outcome, perhaps the main argument against nuclear is that it’s hard to do it fairly.
Germany Sets New Record, Generating 74 Percent Of Energy Needs From Renewable Energy http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/05/13/3436923/germany-energy-records/
BY KILEY KROH MAY 13, 2014 ON SUNDAY, GERMANY’S IMPRESSIVE STREAK OF RENEWABLE ENERGY MILESTONES CONTINUED, WITH RENEWABLE ENERGY GENERATION SURGING TO A RECORD PORTION — NEARLY 75 PERCENT — OF THE COUNTRY’S OVERALL ENERGY DEMAND BY MIDDAY. WITH WIND AND SOLAR IN PARTICULAR FILLING SUCH A HUGE PORTION OF THE COUNTRY’S POWER DEMAND, ELECTRICITY PRICES ACTUALLY DIPPED INTO THE NEGATIVE FOR MUCH OF THE AFTERNOON, ACCORDING TO RENEWABLES INTERNATIONAL.
In the first quarter of 2014, renewable energy sources met a record 27 percent of the country’s electricity demand, thanks to additional installations and favorable weather. “Renewable generators produced 40.2 billion
kilowatt-hours of electricity, up from 35.7 billion kilowatt-hours in the same period last year,” Bloomberg reported. Much of the country’s renewable energy growth has occurred in the past decade and, as a point of comparison, Germany’s 27 percent is double the approximately 13 percent of U.S. electricity supply powered by renewables as of November 2013.
Observers say the records will keep coming as Germany continues its Energiewende, or energy transformation, which aims to power the country almost entirely on renewable sources by 2050.
“Once again, it was demonstrated that a modern electricity system such as the German one can already accept large penetration rates of variable but predictable renewable energy sources such as wind and solar PV power,” said Bernard Chabot, a renewable energy consultant based in France, via email. “In fact there are no technical and economic obstacles to go first to 20 percent of annual electricity demand penetration rate from a combination of those two technologies, then 50 percent and beyond by combining them with other renewables and energy efficiency measures and some progressive storage solutions at a modest level.”
To reach the lofty goal of 80 percent renewables by 2050, Germany had to move quickly. Despite being known for gray skies, the country has installed an astonishing amount of solar photovoltaic (PV) power — setting multiple solar power generation records along the way. At the end of 2012, Germany had installed considerably more solar power capacity per capita than any other country. The rapid growth has slowed, however, with 3.3 GW of PV installed in 2013, compared to 7.6 in 2012. And as countries like the U.S., Japan and China catch up, installations have continued to drop in 2014.
Regardless, a recent analysis by the consulting firm Eclareon found that solar power has reached grid parity in Germany, meaning once all of the costs are accounted for, the price of commercial solar power is now equal to retail electricity rates.
And wind power reached record output levels last year — producing a massive 25.2 GW and accounting for 39 percent of the electricity supply on a single day in December.
The unprecedented growth of solar PV in particular has been fueled in large part by policies that incentivize clean energy. Germany’s simple feed-in tariff (FIT) policy, which pays renewable energy producers a set amount for the electricity they produce under long-term contracts, has driven the solar power boom. But as installations continued to outpace government targets, Germany announced last year that it would begin scaling back its feed-in tariff.
German utilities and government clash over nuclear ‘bad bank’ By Jeevan Vasagar in Berlin http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/49c5b222-d926-11e3-837f-00144feabdc0.html#axzz31XFPjIHH 11 May 14,
The power companies are engaged in a decommissioning exercise with an estimated cost of more than €30bn after Berlin announced an accelerated exit from nuclear energy following the Fukushima disaster in 2011. The work includes demolishing nuclear plants and disposing of radioactive waste.
German utilities Eon, RWE and EnBW have discussed the creation of a state-owned foundation to oversee the decommissioning process. Under their plan, the utilities would transfer to the foundation billions of euros in reserves that they have built up to pay for demolition and disposal. In return, the German government would shoulder the risk for any cost overruns.
But that proposal, first reported in Der Spiegel on Sunday, was rejected by German environment minister Barbara Hendricks. She said: “The full responsibility for the safe phasing out, closure, decommissioning and interim storage of nuclear waste lies with the energy companies.”
One German energy executive said on Sunday that while the idea had been discussed, there were no concrete plans. Eon, RWE and EnBW all declined to comment.
The proposal is the latest sign of strain between Berlin and utilities, which have clashed in the courts over the closure of nuclear plants and the validity of a nuclear fuel tax.
The fight comes at a time when German power companies are struggling because the favourable treatment given to renewable energy has battered the profitability of their conventional electricity plants.
The country’s seven oldest nuclear plants were all taken offline immediately after the Japanese disaster, while an eighth plant that was offline at the time stayed shut: the remaining nine are to be closed down by 2022.
Eon said in March that it intended to shut the Grafenrheinfeld nuclear plant in Bavaria seven months before schedule because of its lack of profitability.
That plant, in a state that is home to some of Germany’s most successful manufacturers, will now close in May 2015.
Berlin’s abrupt decision to phase out nuclear energy represented a U-turn on a 2010 deal to extend the lives of nuclear plants. The companies agreed, in that deal, to a tax on nuclear fuel, which was introduced at the start of 2011 – and remains in place, despite the change of policy.
A court in Hamburg ruled in April that the German state should repay more than €2.2bn in nuclear fuel taxes to the utilities.
However, this decision is not legally binding and the case has been referred to the European Court of Justice.
RWE is pursuing a civil claim for damages over the decision by the state government of Hesse to order the closure of the Biblis nuclear power plant after Fukushima.
Do you see reactors in Paris? No, but in the countryside you do. Do you see reactors in Zurich, Switzerland? No, but there is a lot of nuclear stuff to the NW of Zurich and they want to put a nuclear dump 40 minutes due north of Zurich. I checked and that area of South Carolina is around 48% black which for a country (USA) which is 13% black is high. Very sad that they were so proud of their black president, who is now dumping German waste on them!
Ditto for Shelby county (48% black) around Memphis, Tennessee where they are dumping low level rad waste in poor conditions – possibly the low level German rad waste burned at Oak Ridge Tennessee. I think they are dismantling reactor cores in an island in the Mississippi River near Memphis, if I recall correctly. Claiborne county where the Mississippi reactors are is probably a higher percentage African American. It is in the top poorest counties in the USA. This is most likely where they would put a Mississippi dump.
It’s where the waste sits anyway, while the Las Vegas casino operators block Yucca mountain. These areas of SC, Miss, and Tenn are very poor. Also, the South Dakota uranium mines are in very poor areas with large American Indian-Lakota Sioux populations. I guess that it’s because the US really doesn’t have much or any standards on these things, and Germany may.
But, Germany exporting its waste to Italy, Tennessee and South Carolina certainly looks racist in the broader sense of non-German, because there is plenty of space in the poor, rural parts of Germany and a lot of it is contaminated by Chernobyl fallout and probably from its power plants. Germany is earthquake prone, but oddly enough so is South Carolina. Germany is wet, but not as wet as South Carolina and certainly not as hot, and there would be some suitable geology someplace in Germany I would think – of the hard-rock variety. I saw part of a documentary which said that Germany exported its bad loans to Irish banks and maybe Scottish ones, such that Ireland had to bail the banks out and Germany’s banks did fine. You should inquire about it sometime.
Nuclear waste heads into the virtual realm Physics World, Apr 16, 2014 A new computer-based tool designed to help find the best sites for nuclear-waste repositories and to win public confidence in them has been developed by researchers in Germany. The €3m VIRTUS virtual underground laboratory will allow scientists to explore the behaviour of highly radioactive materials inside specific rock formations, with the aim of making it cheaper to develop and build repositories. Critics, however, argue that the new software will do little to improve safety and might disrupt real laboratory studies of nuclear waste.
Many scientists believe that the best way to dispose of spent nuclear fuel and other long-lived radioactive materials is to bury them hundreds of metres underground, with Sweden and Finland having both selected sites for national waste repositories next to existing nuclear power stations. France also plans to open its own facility in 2025, and, like Sweden, has built a major underground lab to test the geology and technologies to be used at the site.
However, there are severe technical and societal problems associated with repositories, not least that the waste they contain will remain harmful for hundreds of thousands of years. The development of a national repository in Germany, for example, has been mired in controversy. A formal site-selection process has still to be set up, even though exploratory work at the Gorleben salt mine in the north of the country began as far back as the 1970s. The nearby Asse mine, meanwhile, was set up in the 1960s as a research facility but was decommissioned in 1997 after a brine leak threatened to flood the complex and cause it to collapse.
Developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Factory Operation and Automation (IFF) in Magdeburg, together with Germany’s nuclear-safety organization (GRS), the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources and the waste-repository company DBE Technology, VIRTUS will attempt to partially address this issue. The software enables detailed models of specific rock formations or mine structures to be created and then fed into a simulation to calculate how a repository would evolve physically and chemically over time. The results of these calculations can then be visualized graphically, and it is planned that members of the public will in future be able to see those graphics inside a 360° projection system…….http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/2014/apr/16/nuclear-waste-heads-into-the-virtual-realm
Sonnenschiff: Solar City Produces 4X the Energy it Consumes http://inhabitat.com/sonnenschiff-solar-city-produces-4x-the-energy-it-needs/ by Andrew Michler, 07/27/11 Sonnenschiff solar city in Freiburg, Germany is very much net positive. The self-sustaining city accomplishes this feat through smart solar design and lots and lots of photovoltaic panels pointed in the right direction. It seems like a simple strategy — but designers often incorporate solar installations as an afterthought, or worse, as a label. Designed by Rolf Disch, the Sonnenschiff (Solar Ship) and Solarsiedlung (Solar Village) emphasize power production from the start by smartly incorporating a series of large rooftop solar arrays that double as sun shades. The buildings are also built to Passivhaus standards, which allows the project to produce four times the amount of energy it consumes!
Electricity Prices Fall In Europe As German Renewable Energy Output Increases http://www.triplepundit.com/2014/04/electricity-prices-fall-europe-german-renewable-energy-increases/ Gina-Marie Cheeseman | Tuesday April 15th, 2014 For the fifth consecutive month, electricity prices in countries neighboring Germany have decreased, recently released Platts data reveals, due in large part to increased solar and wind generation in Germany.
The Platts Continental Power Index (CONT), described as a “demand-weighted base load average of day-ahead contracts assessed in Germany, Switzerland, France, Belgium and the Netherlands,” dropped steadily in early 2014. The index decreased to €35.06 (or about $48.50) per megawatt hour in March, an 18 percent drop from February. Overall, the index is down by more than 39 percent since peaking at €50.50/MWh in November of last year.
“A mid-March surge in German wind output followed seven days of peak solar output, which rose above 20 gigawatts (GW) to a new monthly record of 23 GW on March 20,” Andreas Franke, Platts managing editor of European power and gas said in a news release.
“German power prices for March 16 delivery turned negative as wind power output rose above 24 GW combined with stronger solar production,” Franke continued. “Further along the curve, German year-ahead power prices fell below €34/MWh in March for the first time in more than nine years as the price CO2 fell drastically and coal prices retreated.”
Germany currently gets about 25 percent of its electricity from renewable energy, and the goal is to increase that number to at least 80 percent by 2050. German wind and solar output for the first three months of 2014 increased by 40 percent — or 6.5 terawatt-hours — compared with last year, according to the Platts data. Wind power increased 31 percent from the first quarter of 2013, while solar power increased 74 percent from more than a year earlier. Germany’s combined wind and solar portfolio is more than 70 gigawatts, making them the country’s largest sources of power when measured by installed capacity.
Data for the past three years from the Fraunhofer Institute shows that wind and solar power generation increased, while energy generation from natural gas fired power plants decreased significantly. Solar and wind power generation in Germany in 2013 increased by 36 percent in export surplus from 2012 levels. Photovoltaic power also increased by 44 percent from 2011 to 2012.
Reuters reported last week that German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet approved a reform measure for the country’s renewable energy law. The reform measure “will slow the growth of green energy…and force new investors in green power to take some risk,” according to Reuters. The German government wants to keep electricity affordable while allowing the renewable energy sector to grow. And growth in renewables is something that the government wants. Under the reform measure, the government wants to increase renewable energy generation to 40 to 45 percent of total electricity production by 2025 and 55 to 60 percent by 2035.
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