Did Germany Really Surpass 100% Renewable Power?

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Originally published on Renewables International.
By Craig Morris

Just a week after approaching 90 percent renewable power or more, Germany may have reached 100% yesterday. But the data estimates are still moving.

JOURNALISTS: please check the bullet points below before reporting.

Just a week after reporting a peak of more than 90 percent renewable power, Agora now shows for the first time that green electricity may have briefly touched and slightly surpassed 100% yesterday. However, live stats are just guesstimates, and Agora’s now shows slightly less than 90% (some 56 GW of 64.4 GW) on May 8. Here is the new chart for yesterday.


Expect that chart to change over the next few days. If the past is any indication, the percentage will be revised downwards. And even then, Agora simply may be off. We won’t know for certain until next year.

If you would like to write about this, remember the following:

  • No, Germany did not just get 100% of its energy from renewables. It briefly got around 100% of its electricity from renewables. Power makes up some 20% of energy consumption in Germany. The Germans have some 15% green energy overall.
  • Wind and solar cannot produce negative wholesale prices. Wind farms and solar arrays will never pay you to take electricity off their hands; they will simply curtail.
  • Negative prices come from baseload power plants. They are the ones that would rather pay you to consume tha ramp down below their must-run level. So you have got to get rid of baseload if you want solar and wind.
  • No, seriously, you have got to get rid of baseload.
  • Nuclear is the most inflexible type of baseload. So forget about combining nuclear with wind + solar. They don’t mix any more than oil and water do.
  • 100% renewable power peaks are not just an accomplishment, but also a challenge. Here, the easy part ends and the hard part begins. We still only have 20% wind and solar on the German grid. Moving further means peaks of 120% and more.

The nuclear phaseout will help push off baseload by the end of 2022. Then, storage will increasingly be needed (starting with power to heat, not batteries).

Keep checking Agora’s website to see how the guesstimate develops.

Reprinted with permission.

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8 thoughts on “Did Germany Really Surpass 100% Renewable Power?

  • Surpassing 100 percent would be quite a feat. I can’t help thinking of that spaceman character in “Toy Story” whose goal was to go “to infinity — and beyond!”

    • Unless there’s capability to store, which will be necessary to decarbonize the energy sector. In fact the article says “120%” but it will likely require 400% during peak generation.

      And infinity and beyond – that’s good

      • 100% of their demand and then exported 20% more?

        • Yep, to decarbonize, need to generate 400% of current load at times and store some and trade some with other geographies with different renewable generation profiles. So export is part of the solution for sure.

  • Power makes up some 20% of energy consumption

    I take it you meant electricity here. Otherwise it’d make as much sense as saying “This vehicle’s speed is 1/5 of the total distance”…

  • It’s the return of day shift!!

  • I must not be reading the chart right. That ugly purplish band at the top of the chart is conventional generation, right? And the demand is the reddish/orangey line, right? There’s always considerable separation between the demand line and the top of the solar energy slice, which I would have thought couldn’t be the case when RE hits 100%.

    What am I misunderstanding here?

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