Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Clean Power

Renewable Energy In Germany Sets Records In March

In March, Germany posted yet another wind power record, with production peaking at 38.5 GW on March 18, just topping the old record of 38 GW on February 22. The month as a whole was the biggest ever for renewables in the country as well, thanks primarily to more electricity from wind and solar.

Originally published on Energy Transition.
By Craig Morris

Renewable energy made up just over 41% of Germany’s power supply last month, the most ever at around 19.5 TWh. It’s a good thing, too, because nuclear power production may have fallen to its lowest monthly level since the 1970s – even though no nuclear plant has been switched off since 2015. Meanwhile, has France’s tentative nuclear reduction reached a milestone? Craig Morris takes a look.

In March, Germany posted yet another wind power record, with production peaking at 38.5 GW on March 18, just topping the old record of 38 GW on February 22. The month as a whole was the biggest ever for renewables in the country as well, thanks primarily to more electricity from wind and solar. Together, they generated some 12.5 TWh, though it was not a record month for either. (The monthly record for wind is 11.2 TWh from December 2015; for solar, 5.5 TWh from July 2015.) Power from biomass (not wood pellets!) was also strong at 4.5 TWh but also far from its record of 4.8 TWh in December 2014. Likewise, hydropower was some 50% stronger than in recent months, but otherwise unremarkable.

Meanwhile, Germany’s nuclear power production hit its lowest monthly level probably since the fleet was built up in the mid-1970s and 1980s – I simply don’t know where to find such old data by month (if you do, drop us a comment below). But based on annual production data, it seems that Germany has not had so little nuclear power since the mid-1970s. The phaseout alone does not explain it; eight reactors of the 19 that were once online are still in service. Half of them are now down:

  • Neckarwestheim II, the youngest reactor in Germany, went off on Friday night for scheduled refueling, but with a twist: the fuel rods are not simply to be changed. Rather, the operator, EnBW (now wholly owned by the government of the state of Baden-Württemberg, which has a Green Minister-President) wants to inspect each fuel rod and only swap out the ones that need it (report in German). The firm must close the reactor at the end of 2022, so it is working now to ensure that the fuel rods left over then are as spent as possible.
  • Grohnde, another reactor undergoing its regular overhaul, is expected to come online this week after more than a month.
  • Brokdorf remains offline after rust was unexpectedly discovered on its fuel rods at the beginning of February. It is still unclear when the reactor will go back online. Its fate also partly lies with the Greens in the state government of Schleswig-Holstein.
  • Finally, Philippsburg II has been off since December, when an emergency system failed. There is also no date for its ramp-up.

This summer, the next reactor is scheduled to be shut down for good: Gundremmingen B, a plant that is currently running full blast. Under the original phaseout plan from 2002, the reactor would have closed in 2016. It most recently made headlines for being infected with the Conficker computer worm. The last German reactor was switched off almost two years ago.

Across the Rhine, France’s Bugey 5 reactor’s containment vessel is now to be held together with whitewash (lait du chaux) and resin (mastic), as a press release (in French) from French nuclear watchdog ASN explains. The resulting lime mortar is now undergoing tests to see if it does indeed patch up the leaky parts at the bottom of the containment vessel. Bugey 5 has been offline since August 2015. The French hope to get another three reactors online this summer. At Fessenheim 2, the oldest in the country, excessively high carbon concentrations were found. Gravelines 5 needs a new generator, as does Paluel 2 – except that there, the old generator crashed inside the reactor as it was being removed, so a few other things are needed now as well.

In similar news, Fessenheim’s closure has become official with its publication in the Gazette on Sunday. The plant will close whenever the new reactor at Flamanville goes into operation. It is unclear what happen if the EPR reactor turns out to be impossible to finish. France aims to reduce its reliance on nuclear power from 75% of demand to 50% by 2025.

Reprinted with permission.

Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality and cleantech news coverage? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Written By

We publish a number of guest posts from experts in a large variety of fields. This is our contributor account for those special people, organizations, agencies, and companies.


You May Also Like

Clean Power

Berlin gets creative with renewable energy and energy storage in race against Russian gas cutoff this winter.


The BMW i3 is a truly unique electric car — or unique car of any kind, for that matter. The i3 is likely to...

Clean Transport

In a recent press release, Ford announced that it chose the company’s Valencia, Spain, plant for something special. But it was so busy being...

Climate Change

Germany activated the “alarm stage,” phase two of three of the country’s emergency methane-based gas plans, on Thursday after Russia’s Gazprom throttled deliveries by...

Copyright © 2021 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.