Germany: Renewables covered almost all demand on New Year’s morning

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On New Year’s morning, renewable energy power plants installed in Germany produced enough electricity to meet the entire country’s demand.

This is shown by the figures on portal, Smard, which the German Federal Ministry of Economics and the Federal Network Agency launched around six months ago. Particularly bewteen the hours of 3 and 6 am, total demand and generation from renewable sources were very close to each other.

German newspaper, Süddeutsche Zeitung (Friday edition) dates the “clean energy premiere” – meaning Germany was completely supplied with renewable electricity for the first time in history – at 6 am on January 1, 2018.

Electricity demand was just under 41,000 MW and, thus, at a very low level. All of the wind turbines installed on- and off-shore in Germany managed alone to generate power for more than 34,500 MW.

Biomass and hydropower, on the other hand, generated well over 6,000 MW of electricity at that time. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, all of Germany’s PV systems could not contribute to the historic hour.

These numbers, however, are still to be treated with caution. If we compare them with the data on power consumption and generation in Agora Energiewende’s Agorameter, the share of renewables on New Year’s morning was 90%. However, the Berlin think tank also points out that these numbers and statistics are still provisional.

Holidays and Sundays are predestined for high shares of renewable energies, due to the traditionally low electricity demand. On Whit Sunday, for example, strong wind and bright sunshine came together.

According to the Süddeutsche Zeitung, Pentecost or May 1 were always considered “hot candidates” for achieving a power supply with 100% renewable energy. “No one expected us to reach the 100 percent on a winter’s day early in the morning,” the paper wrote quoting Rainer Baake, Secretary of State in the Federal Ministry of Economics.

Whether 90, 95 or 100%  – the statistics clearly show that on New Year’s day, more power than needed was generated. So, it is not surprising that the electricity prices on the stock exchange on New Year’s Eve at 11 pm became negative until until 3 pm of the following day.

For operators of renewable energies, which are compelled to sell power through direct marketing, this means that they receive no compensation for the electricity they generated for this period – as coal and gas power plants in Germany continued to produce at full speed.