Germany raises renewable bar again: clean energy meets nearly 100% of demand (copy 1)

Germany’s renewable energy sector reached new heights yesterday, exactly a week after the country saw clean energy meet 95% of its power needs.

Data from Agora Energiewende published today showed that solar and wind power peaked at 2pm on Sunday, and joined by biomass and hydro the clean energy sector delivered 45.5 GW of power at a time when German demand was 45.8 GW.

For several 15-minute periods on Sunday, power prices once again dropped into the negative, falling as low as $57/MWh, according to analysts Epex Spot. Last week something similar happened, with Germany effectively paying commercial customers to consume energy.

Despite cool conditions across much of the country on Sunday, high winds and prolonged periods of sunshine during the middle of the day meant that clean energy met pretty much 100% of Germany’s power needs at that time, having reached 95% on the previous Sunday, May 8.

Germany’s complicated energy network – with the country able to export much of its conventional power to neighboring countries – actually served to support its renewable integration over the weekend. When solar and wind peaked, around 7.7 GW of conventional power (provided by coal and gas) was being generated, but Germany was able to divert that power to other networks.

“If Germany was an island, with no export cables, this would be technically impossible because you always need to have some thermal generation running as a back up supply for when the wind or solar drop off,” said Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) analyst Monne Depraetere.

As increased volumes of intermittent renewable power comes on to the grid, Germany has identified a handful of approaches designed for dealing with these new challenges, including more storage, more interconnectors and maybe the exclusion of certain regions from future onshore wind power auctions.