Clean Power

Published on May 15th, 2014 | by Sandy Dechert


Germany Reached Nearly 75% Renewable Power Use On Sunday

May 15th, 2014 by  

Germany's renewable history (Chabon)

Germany’s renewable history.
Image Credit: Bernard Chabot

Distributed Renewable Energy results for 3 European nations

En route to its 2050 Energiewende goal of 80% of the nation’s power being supplied by renewables, especially spurred on by the phaseout of nuclear reactors, Germany broke another renewable energy record on Sunday, May 11, 2014. Europe’s biggest clean-energy market reached almost 75% renewable power market share noon on that day.

As the Disruptive Renewables chart created by Renewables International that is featured on the right shows, electricity prices went negative for much of the afternoon.

Renewables hit another record in the first quarter 2014 by supplying 27%—over one quarter—of Germany’s electricity demand. Bloomberg reports that the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW), which represents 1,800 companies, calculated that renewable generators produced 40.2 billion kWh of electricity this past quarter, up from 35.7 billion kWh in the same period last year. BDEW attributes the achievement to additional installations and favorable weather.

Bernard ChabotBernard Chabot, a well-known renewable energy consultant based in France, sees the 27% figure as indicative of renewable energy’s potential, as Kiley Kroh of ThinkProgress reports:

“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.”

Renewable energy in Germany has grown tremendously in the past decade, with wind and solar the nation’s most productive technologies. (See lead graphic.) The 27% renewable power use amount is double the share of US electricity supplied by renewables recently.

As reported in Solar Love and this blog in March, the ECLAREON PV Grid Parity Monitor of parity proximity indicated that the PV Levelized Cost of Electricity in Germany, Italy, and Spain has reached retail parity with the grids in those nations. Commercial solar power there is no longer more expensive than conventional energy sources.

positioning matrix (Eclareon) [Grid parity is defined as the moment when PV LCOE becomes competitive with grid electricity prices. Once PV grid parity is reached, electricity consumers would be better off by self-consuming PV-generated electricity instead of purchasing electricity from the grid.]

Germany and Italy are better positioned than Spain, however, because of the latter nation’s lack of regulatory support for PV self-consumption. In fact, Spain has instituted retroactive solar feed-in tariff cuts and blocks individuals from using solar power not generated by the country’s official energy companies.

Germany and Italy have comparatively low PV installation prices. Each boasts a competitive system, low discount rates, and high retail electricity prices. Mexico, well positioned, is likely to reach parity next, and France, with a relatively neutral regulatory profile, soon afterward.

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About the Author

covers environmental, health, renewable and conventional energy, and climate change news. She's currently on the climate beat for Important Media, having attended last year's COP20 in Lima Peru. Sandy has also worked for groundbreaking environmental consultants and a Fortune 100 health care firm. She writes for several weblogs and attributes her modest success to an "indelible habit of poking around to satisfy my own curiosity."

  • Cosette

    News from Germany.

    Solar photovoltaic power installed each quarter in Germany and weighted average cost of photovoltaic electricity for new installations. (in french)

    Quarterly data tables are updated.

  • Peter Gray

    Way to go, Germany!
    Can’t wait to hear what the denialists have to say about this. Banned-by-Bob? Anyone else? Fox News? George Will?

  • vulvox

    WOW! They are leading the world. Its impressive how different they are taking the Japanese fukushima disaster than the Japanese themselves. They have very adaptable economy.

  • heinbloed

    73.4 % real grid EE.

    But 100% potential !!!!

    It was Mother’s Day last sunday in Germany. And the Energiewender had promised it to Mum: 100% RE we will provide, you’ll see !

    And they made it. But the incumbent stinkers and radiators could not get out of the way, so only 73.4% arrived at Mum’s party.

    The grid was congested by the dino power plants which couldn’t throttle down any further, slow in the mind and slow on action.
    The windparks and PV-parks were throttled down instead by the grid authorities.
    To avoid an overheating of cables and transformers.

    The news in German only, sorry:

    found on the old Energiewende crack’s home page” Sonnenseite”, the very Mr. Franz Alt:,73+Prozent+erneuerbare+Stromproduktion+am+Muttertag,6,a28566.html

    Who runs as well an English Sunnyside :

    Official target exceeded, 34 years before the dinos thought they need a hanky.

    100% !!

    • Bob_Wallace

      Here’s how Google translates the page…

      “On Mother’s Day 11/05/2014, at 13:00 clock were with renewable energy sources in Germany 73.4% generated by the current needed.

      A total of 59.221 gigawatts (GW) were consumed at 13:00 clock. Of these, 3,786 GW produced biogas plants, hydroelectric power plants 3,083 GW, wind turbines and photovoltaic systems 15.237 21.36 GW GW. The gap of 15.755 GW was filled with electricity from nuclear, coal, and lignite power plants. The inertial power plants generated even 26.187 GW because they are inflexible and difficult abzuregeln.For this reason, many wind turbines and photovoltaic panels were governed by the network operators so that power lines were not overloaded.

      If these sources have not been governed, the renewable energy Germany had supplied even at 100% power.Although solar and wind write any invoice that renewable energy sources are switched off and instead produces expensive and harmful nuclear and coal power again and again. This is the energy transition paradox .”

      • Matt

        I wonder why they didn’t hold back hydro instead of wind. Then they would have had it for Monday.

        • Bob_Wallace

          I could be run of river hydro or hydro that for some reason couldn’t be shut off.

          There have been times in the PNW when wind was curtailed and hydro run because (IIRC) fish needed the flow.

          • Matt

            Ok then soon big storage needed. Then could either store the wind for Monday or stored enough Friday/Saturday by letting coal run at most efficient rate, so you could turn them off Sunday. Wild dream with me for a min, think 2 days storage. Then storage isn’t just for green power, it can be used to make those coal plant run only at their best rate (most efficient) and then turn them off for a day or so. The whole concept of spinning reserve (most waste rate) goes away.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Just build storage (when we need it) and replace coal with renewable generation. Let’s get on with solving our problems rather than foot-dragging.

  • jacobmccandless

    That is amazing.

  • heinbloed

    In Bernard Cabot’s report we look at page 37.

    There we see the impact of RE on the market price.

    With 10% RE in the grid the average daily price is € 40.-/MWh
    With 40% RE in the grid the average daily price is € 20,-/MWh

    Mr. Chabot took the April spot market numbers from the EEX, the official electricity trading platform.

    Mr. Chabot shows us as well that there was only 1 day in April with slightly less than 10% RE in the German grid.

    The power plant owners are losing money nearly every day, the minimum they have to get for their MWh is € 30.-
    This number is stated by RWE chief Terium, the CEO of Germany’s largest or second largest power plant operator.
    The only part of RWE’s empire with increasing profits is the RE section:

    This is what the “Distributed Renewables” chart in Sandy Dechert’s article (s.a.) shows.

    Hence the demands for bad banks serving the coal and atomic mafia.

  • heinbloed

    A little correction:

    Germany’s RE-electricity covered more than 30% of the national demand during the first quarter2014, about 33% to be more precise.
    PV+Wind covered 27%, that is correct.

    The BDEW released only their data for PV and Wind.
    The total amount of RE-electricity includes also hydro-and biomasspower, for these the number wheren’t released by the BDEW.
    So it was reported in the German energy press:

    For actual and past RE-contributions look at

    Coal mines idled, -powerplants retired, Poland’s goverment hopes for war to save coal industry. Or money from the EU to fund a bad bank:

    similar to the German atomic mafia :

    20% of Germany’s coal imports came from Poland. But they have ceased buying, the bunkers at the mines can’t take anymore.
    5 Million tonnes could find a buyer:

    This is the efect of over 30% RE in the grid combined with a mild winter.

    Austria leads away, the Governator is back:

  • Matthew

    I’m really getting tired of our country being so stupid. I don’t understand how we can value or tolerate ignorance.

    • I know…

    • jacobmccandless

      Germans don’t make tornadoes with their bio-energy. Had we not had the power grid knocked out 3 time a week it would leave more room for advancement. Oh yeah the drought doesn’t help the economy either … nor does it fill hydro-electric damns. Reservoirs or prisons. We should out do the Germans by tripling our inmate capacity in 2014. By 2020 70% of our population will be in jail.

    • Chris Marshalk

      Ignorance = Australian government.

      I’m sure if they could do any less for the renewables, they just did, killed it completely. Disappointed.

  • JamesWimberley

    The Energiewende power target for 2050 is indeed 80% renewables. But the more important one is an 80% reduction in carbon emissions, implying very large efficiency gains in the other sectors: heating, industrial processes, and transport.

    • lol

      But they cut back 70% on renewable

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