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Power Hardware

Germany Sets New Solar Power Record 568

Posted by Soulskill
from the bright-sunshiny-day dept.
An anonymous reader sends this quote from a Reuters report: "German solar power plants produced a world record 22 gigawatts of electricity per hour — equal to 20 nuclear power stations at full capacity — through the midday hours on Friday and Saturday, the head of a renewable energy think tank said. The German government decided to abandon nuclear power after the Fukushima nuclear disaster last year, closing eight plants immediately and shutting down the remaining nine by 2022. ... The record-breaking amount of solar power shows one of the world's leading industrial nations was able to meet a third of its electricity needs on a work day, Friday, and nearly half on Saturday when factories and offices were closed."
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Germany Sets New Solar Power Record

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  • by Locke2005 (849178) on Saturday May 26, 2012 @03:46PM (#40123059)
    Unless there is a way of storing the energy generated, the capacity of solar plants cannot be included in the calculation of capacity to meet peak demand. In other words, even if the solar at peak could meet all your needs, you still can't retire any of the old plants, because the solar capacity is useless when the sun isn't shining.
    And by the way, hydrogen is not an energy source, it is an energy storage media... meaning it could very well be used to store solar energy.
  • Re:midnight (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ericloewe (2129490) on Saturday May 26, 2012 @04:14PM (#40123277)

    Just wait until electric cars become popular. Then we'll have a problem.

  • by rrohbeck (944847) on Saturday May 26, 2012 @04:16PM (#40123293)

    As opposed to US politics, there is a consensus in German politics. Namely that politics is for the benefit of the people and society. Business is a part of that society, not the other way around.

  • by fnj (64210) on Saturday May 26, 2012 @06:01PM (#40123985)

    22 GW of power produced during very favorable periods. I would be MUCH more interested to find how much the MEAN power over the course of a full year is, and how large a fraction of 22 GW is. I imagine a pretty goddam small fraction. For half of every day, solar power is zero. For many days of the year that are completely overcast, solar power is reduced to a very small part of nominal noonday.

    I.e., annual solar energy production is a much more meaningful measurement than PEAK solar power production.

  • Re:midnight (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Grayhand (2610049) on Saturday May 26, 2012 @06:45PM (#40124353)

    The German nuclear industry was subsidized by at least 80 billion EUR from 1956 to 2007 (and 3.7 billion in 2006 alone) based on extremely conservative estimates, but likely much more. A study commisioned by Greenpeace arrived at a number of 203.7 billion from 1950 to 2010. According to WP at least, http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kernenergie#Deutschland [wikipedia.org]

    Care to add up the numbers we've spent on the military during that same time frame as in percentage of the budget compared to Germany? If we spent the same percentage on the military as Germany and took the savings and spent it on alternative energy we'd have such an energy glut we'd be powering Canada and Mexico as well and trying to figure out how to export electricity to Europe. Fiscal will is all that has held us back. Germany has it we don't.

  • Re:midnight (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 26, 2012 @07:01PM (#40124463)

    No, that would help solving the storage problem.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 26, 2012 @07:30PM (#40124641)

    That is why homeschooling is generally legal in America, while in Germany there is a Nazi-era law
    that persecutes homeschoolers as if they were rapists. In Germany, the freedom to teach one's own
    child is less important than the benefit of having ideological uniformity in the nation, making for a stronger
    society.

    Actually, it's largely because we assign rights differently. In the US, it seems that parents have more rights than their children, so you see home-schooling as the expression of a parent's right to educate their child as they see fit. Within Europe, we're very keen on childrens' rights, and thus it's more important that every child is guaranteed access to a good standard of education, and we feel that home-schooling isn't sufficient for that. It's nothing to do with idealogical uniformity, it's about protecting children from parents that don't really know how to teach.

    Calling this a Nazi-era persecution law just shows an ignorance of European cultural values.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 26, 2012 @10:03PM (#40125561)

    How is the freedom to express one's ideas restricted in Germany?

    Let's say that someone had the opinion that the Nazis weren't the worse human beings to ever walk the face of the earth.

    What if someone believed that the Holocaust didn't kill 12 million people and instead only killed 8 million people?

    Expressing those ideas in modern Germany are expressly forbidden. Despite what other problems there may be, and there are a metric fuckton of them, restricting ideas is not something we're very fond of in the US.

  • Re:midnight (Score:2, Interesting)

    by cheesybagel (670288) on Sunday May 27, 2012 @01:15AM (#40126495)
    One of the reasons the Spanish economy is on the brink was the large renewable subsidies. They probably have every kind of solar power generator in the country including solar towers, parabolic troughs, etc. The last time a country tried these alternative energy schemes was Brazil with their plan to use alcohol in automobiles. It always takes decades before the technology gets cost effective enough. In the meantime you have to face self-imposed large scale misery. Brazil's saving grace was that they eventually reduced alcohol production costs and discovered oil offshore...
  • Re:December (Score:4, Interesting)

    by AmiMoJo (196126) <[ten.3dlrow] [ta] [ojom]> on Sunday May 27, 2012 @06:04AM (#40127437) Homepage

    Good job Germany isn't totally reliant on solar then. In the winter there is plenty of wind. And before you say it, there is never a time when there is no wind anywhere. Never. So as long as you have diversity then it's fine.

    I take your point about peak figures, but they are still useful. In particular France will be interested as it may help cover their peak demands during the summer when nuclear plants are forced to shut down in high ambient temperatures.

  • Re:midnight (Score:5, Interesting)

    by camperdave (969942) on Sunday May 27, 2012 @09:04AM (#40128043) Journal

    Very true. Here in Canada, people often rave about how we could be using solar power; they just don't get it. Solar power is not an efficient solution in Canada, wind power makes far more sense.

    Berlin, Germany is further north than Toronto, Vancouver, Winnipeg, Calgary, Ottawa, Montreal, Halifax, Charlottetown, Fredricton, and Regina. Furthermore, each of these cities receives an average of 30% more solar energy than Berlin, some as high as 60% more. So, given that our populations live at roughly the same latitudes, and we have more area in which to deploy solar, and we get more sun, why would solar be okay for Germany, but not for Canada?

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