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Published on March 27th, 2013 | by Giles Parkinson


Germany’s Electricity Split March 24 — Actual Vs. Planned (Charts)

March 27th, 2013 by  

Reposted from RenewEconomy:

Today’s Graph of the Day will tell a story that will be repeated more regularly in coming months and years – the growing impact of solar and wind energy in countries such as Germany.

This comes from Sunday (March 24) and shows that in the middle of the day, more than half of Germany’s electricity output came from wind and solar. Two things are striking – one is the amount of solar capacity produced on a day in early spring, with nearly 20GW at its peak. The second is the consistent contribution of wind energy, which accounted for more than 25 per cent of the overall output throughout the day.

Imagine, then, what will happen when Germany doubles the amount of wind and solar production, as it plans to do within the next decade. On days like this, there will simply be no room for fossil fuel production – the so-called “base load”. Any coal or gas fired generation that remains will need to be capable of being switched on and off on demand. The base load/peakload model will be turned on its head – to be replaced by dispatchable and non dispatchable generation. Fossil fuels will be required just to fill in the gaps.

Re graph: The yellow bit is solar production, the light green is wind, and the grey is “conventional” – which includes coal, gas and nuclear, as well as  biomass and hydro.

germany solar wind split

The original graph can be found here. Notice, too, the difference between what was delivered by wind and solar, and what was planned (graph below). There’s little difference. For all the talk about “intermittent” renewables, their output is actually quite predictable – more so than swings in demand ever were.

germany solar wind planned power march 2013

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About the Author

is the founding editor of RenewEconomy.com.au, an Australian-based website that provides news and analysis on cleantech, carbon, and climate issues. Giles is based in Sydney and is watching the (slow, but quickening) transformation of Australia's energy grid with great interest.

  • RSMills

    Giles It would be enlightened to combine hydro and bio-mass into a renewable graph and break it out from conventional fuels. That would show a large reduction in the percentage of needed fossil fuels.

    • yeah, i love these fraunhofer graphs, but the way “other” is lumped together makes it seem bigger. all split out, solar & wind look more significant, imho. or renewables lumped together vs fossils vs nukes.

      • Dimitar Mirchev

        There is separate graph with uran, coals, gas, run on river, etc.

  • agelbert

    Love it! Go Germany!

  • jburt56

    Wait, haven’t you heard that the “wind doesn’t always blow?”

    • oh, shite…. will have to retract these graphs and all others about wind power. thanks for the catch! 😉

      • jburt56

        People aren’t getting that once you install thousands of turbines over a continent you almost always have power 24/7.

        • I know, our limited thinking. It’s a wonder we’ve come as far as we have.

          • jburt56

            It’ll just take accumulated operation experience.

  • Dimitar Mirchev

    You can also see it here :


    Pages 46, 59 (with import and export) and 72

    Also particulary interesting is page 57 “Calendar Week 10” with import and export. If you cut the export you can clearly see the morning and eveing peaks of usage of non-renewable (expensive) energy.

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