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Germany Produces Record-Breaking 5.1 Terawatt Hours of Solar Energy In One Month 687

oritonic1 writes "Germany is rapidly developing a tradition of shattering its own renewable energy goals and leaving the rest of the world in the dust. This past July was no exception, as the nation produced 5.1 TWh of solar power (PDF), beating not only its own solar production record, but also eclipsing the record 5TWh of wind power produced by German turbines in January. Renewables are doing so well, in fact, that one of Germany's biggest utilities is threatening to migrate to Turkey."
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Germany Produces Record-Breaking 5.1 Terawatt Hours of Solar Energy In One Month

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  • NO NO NO (Score:5, Funny)

    by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) * <mojo@Nospam.world3.net> on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @06:46PM (#44624679) Homepage Journal

    This can't be right, solar doesn't work, Germany is too far north, the lights must go off every night, PV is a stupid technology, nuclear is the only way!!1 How can this be happening, it must be a liberal media lie put out by the scientifically illiterate eco-nazis... it... it just can't...

    • Re:NO NO NO (Score:4, Informative)

      by Ruede ( 824831 ) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @06:56PM (#44624773)

      i am paying 24,26 €cents per kwh

      i prefer the prieces of nuclear power.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by IonOtter ( 629215 )

        "i prefer the prieces of nuclear power..."

        Ask the people of Fukushima how they feel about those low-low prices.

        • Re:NO NO NO (Score:4, Insightful)

          by bdwebb ( 985489 ) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @07:49PM (#44625361)
          Sensationalism much? They feel fine...only their warm-fuzzies were really effected and mostly due to trauma from either proximity to the plant's fire or due to the massive fucking tsunami that caused all of the actual problems . (http://www.cnn.com/2013/02/28/world/asia/japan-who-radiation [cnn.com])

          The lifetime risk of contracting certain types of cancer rose slightly for a small group of people because they were exposed to radiation from the nuclear disaster, the WHO said Thursday.

          The notable exception was young emergency workers at the plant, who inhaled high doses of radioactive iodine, probably raising their risk of developing thyroid cancer. But since the thyroid is relatively resistant to cancer, the overall risk for these people remains low, the report said.

          Otherwise, any increase in human disease after the partial meltdown triggered by the March 2011 tsunami is "likely to remain below detectable levels," the WHO said in its report.

          So basically the tsunami and resulting devastation from the tsunami's aftermath are what the people in Fukushima are really concerned about...not growing extra arms or dying of cancer any sooner than they already would have. The real question for people there is whether or not they are willing to pay double price for their power and be safe from the apparent nuclear menace that is destroying lives...I'm betting people like cheap power.

          • "So basically the tsunami and resulting devastation from the tsunami's aftermath are what the people in Fukushima are really concerned about...not growing extra arms or dying of cancer any sooner than they already would have."

            That's the other people, they clean up, rebuild their house and go on with their life.

            The people in Fukushima will have to wait for a couple of hundred years, live in tents and get 10.000$ for their lost property if they are lucky.

        • Re:NO NO NO (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Mozai ( 3547 ) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @07:58PM (#44625425) Homepage

          Sure. While I'm asking the people of Fukashima, you go ask the four thousand US coal miners each year with blacklung, or if its easier, the six thousand that die each year in China from coal mine accidents. While you're doing that, don't forget to check out the uranium and thorium that gets upchucked into the atmosphere where it can't be contained in a discrete area. http://web.ornl.gov/info/ornlreview/rev26-34/text/colmain.html [ornl.gov]

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by he-sk ( 103163 )

            In case you haven't noticed: This is an article about SOLAR power, not COAL. Nobody in their right mind is proposing to keep using coal to get off nuclear. You don't have to chose between the two. Germany plans to get rid of both. And consistently bringing up the radiation danger of coal plants (which are based on a single study from the 70s and does not take current technology into account) in discussions about renewable energy is a straw man.

            • by Pieroxy ( 222434 )

              In case you haven't noticed: This is an article about SOLAR power, not COAL. Nobody in their right mind is proposing to keep using coal to get off nuclear. You don't have to chose between the two. Germany plans to get rid of both.

              And Germany plans to shut down on all those nights that when there are no wind? Give me a break. Solar and Wind power are GREAT but they cannot replace another source of steady power, because they are both intermittent by nature. And Germany clearly stated they plan on getting rid of all nuclear. As a matter of fact, they have recommissioned quite a few fossil-fuel-based plants already.

              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by dwsobw ( 2723483 )
                No it is called "Windgas" or "Power-to-gas" where you just produce hydrogen or even methan with renewable energy (mildly efficient: 50-67% power -> gas -> power) and inject it into the gas network. There already working prototypes (granted I think they are all sub MW stations). But they improved from 25kW to 500kW within 3 years (2009 - 2012). Nice sideeffect is that in theory renewable energy could in the long run power our gas-cars and gas-heating and highly efficient gas-power stations.
              • Re:NO NO NO (Score:5, Interesting)

                by GoogleShill ( 2732413 ) on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @11:24AM (#44631383)

                And Germany plans to shut down on all those nights that when there are no wind? Give me a break.

                Man, if only we had people smart enough to figure out how to store extra energy for the times when the sun isn't shining, or the wind isn't blowing.

                It's not rocket science to figure out how to power a town using just the power available from a non 100% duty-cycle power source. Generate extra while you can and store it in capacitors.

                Hell, the UK has a bunch of storage reservoirs waiting just to dump through turbines to handle the extra load from tea kettles fired up during breaks in the World Cup.

      • Re: NO NO NO (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @07:05PM (#44624879)

        Nuclear subsidies are in your taxes, where you don't see them. Solar subsidies are in the electricity price, where you see them. Nuclear energy is not cheap energy, and while it does work for base load, you only need to look at France in the winter and in the summer to see that relying on nuclear does not cover all loads, so you also need other power plants on standby, so nuclear does not have an advantage over wind and solar there.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by khallow ( 566160 )

          Nuclear subsidies are in your taxes, where you don't see them. Solar subsidies are in the electricity price, where you see them.

          In other words, both those subsidies are in the same place. Whether you "see" them or not depends on what "see" means and how you spin it.

        • by Bengie ( 1121981 )
          And coal taxes us by health care for coal miners and other breathing issues caused by pollution.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by tbf ( 462972 )

        Problem isn't renewable energy, problem is the horribly bad EEG law Rot/Grün was drafting: Industries got excluded from paying renewable energy compensation, still a fixed price must be paid for renewable energy. So everytime the energy price drops at the European Energy Exchange in Leipzig the consumer's energy price rises. Yet another example how socialism fails. See http://www.lvz-online.de/leipzig/wirtschaft/strompreise-an-der-leipziger-boerse-sinken--buerger-zahlen-mehr-fuer-energie/r-wirtschaft-a

      • Re:NO NO NO (Score:4, Insightful)

        by symbolset ( 646467 ) * on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @09:31PM (#44626093) Journal
        Until the spent fuel is disposed of it isn't you paying for that nuclear power. It is your children and grandchildren.
      • Re:NO NO NO (Score:5, Interesting)

        by WOOFYGOOFY ( 1334993 ) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @09:57PM (#44626251)

        If you don't put on price on energy usage then there's no incentive for appliances and lights to become more efficient. Sure you pay more, but Germany is proof of what can be achieved with solar and wind. BTW Germany's economy is the best in the EU; they were last seeing bailing out the rest of Europe.

        Don't ask how much something costs without also asking what you get for your money. Germany gets closer to energy self-sufficiency , creates a proof not of concept but of implementation for the rest of the world to benefit from which can and will offset more climate change which saves Germany and everyone else the astronomical, nation destroying costs - which will ultimately fail after they bankrupt us- involved with trying merely counteract climate change.

        So what is the financial cost? It's negative, because the very people paying higher electricity costs today will be spared having to fork over the all the rest of their money to battle climate change later.

        Don't ask how much something is, that's a brain-dead question. Ask what are you're getting for your money, and set the horizon for analysis to be the rest of your life, at least, or even your children's lives if you're the sort of person who is capable of being about something other than just yourself.

        Thanks Germany !



      • i am paying 24,26 €cents per kwh

        Germany is one of the cloudiest places on the planet. Solar is a lot more cost effective in sunny places where it actually makes sense.

      • Re:NO NO NO (Score:4, Informative)

        by Stephan Schulz ( 948 ) <schulz@eprover.org> on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @03:07AM (#44627645) Homepage

        i prefer the prieces of nuclear power.

        You have never seen the price of nuclear power. From massive subsidies to develop nuclear technology (both civilian and military) to subsidised insurance to low-balling decommissioning costs, nuclear energy has been so heavily subsidised, it's not even funny. And that's not even talking about nuclear waste storage, which still is an open problem wherever there are working nuclear installations.

    • What I'm more interested in is what is the percentage breakdown of various energy sources for the total energy consumption of the country.
    • Re:NO NO NO (Score:5, Informative)

      by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @07:07PM (#44624913) Homepage

      Well to quote the wikipedia page quoting a financial times article:

      Due to the costs of this "Energiewende" Germany now has Europes highest energy costs. Costs have risen over the last 5 years even for industrial consumers who are exempted from the costs of the renewable energy subsidy that consumers pay. In 2013, energy was 4 times cheaper in the United States than in Europe, and 6 times cheaper than in Germany.

      It comes at a price and the sweet spots to produce renewables have already been picked, to keep it up they must use less and less ideal areas and means. Nice to see them lead but it's not really an act the whole world can follow.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

        Gotta love statistics. "Europe" includes a large number of countries with widely varying prices. If you compare Germany to similar north western European countries it isn't particularly expensive. Other countries happen to have some nice natural resources, or they subsidise the cost through general taxation (especially for nuclear power).

        The US is a terrible polluter and has lots of fraked natural gas that have driven down prices, so isn't a very useful comparison.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by khallow ( 566160 )

          The US is a terrible polluter and has lots of fraked natural gas that have driven down prices, so isn't a very useful comparison.

          Unless electricity costs matter to you more than those other concerns (the "terrible polluter" is about as polluting as the EU and fracking just doesn't seem that bad compared to normal oil drilling) at the minor levels they occur at.

      • by dgharmon ( 2564621 ) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @07:40PM (#44625273) Homepage
        "Oh, the solar power haters* are going to love this oneâ"a recent study by Germanyâ(TM)s Institute for Future Energy Systems (IZES), conducted on behalf of of the German Solar Industry Association (BSW-Solar), has found that, on average, solar power has reduced the price of electricity 10% in Germany (on the EPEX exchange). It reduces prices up to 40% in the early afternoon, when electricity demand is peaking and electricity typically costs the most. Thereâ(TM)s a visual of that (in German) here:" link [cleantechnica.com]
      • Re:NO NO NO (Score:5, Informative)

        by aliquis ( 678370 ) <dospam@gmail.com> on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @09:30PM (#44626087) Homepage

        Nice to see them lead but it's not really an act the whole world can follow.

        Sure it can. At the cost of higher energy price.

        There's lots of related stories.

        I just read in a somewhat recent magazine (0-2 year old) how here in Sweden/Scandinavia I think they was often recycling 90-95% (or just 95%) of the building material when they broke down a building.
        In the rest of the Europe they was trying to reach 50-95% (or 50-90.)
        In the US? 20%.

        There's also that story about that plastic stuff in the pacific.

        Over here in Sweden almost all aluminium cans are recycled, you pay 1 SEK for them when you get your drink and you get 1 SEK back when you recycle them. When people go out and drink (and just throw or put down their beer somewhere) or maybe leave their soda cans some people browse the cities for cans and look through the trash cans to pick them up and return them.
        We do the same for glass (1 SEK) and PET (1 or 2 SEK) bottles.
        We have had the same system for beer, cider and wine bottles to. I don't know how it works atm because I don't buy them anyway.

        I'm supplied with a compost bag holder and free paper bags to put my compost in and suppost to drop that content into a compost box outside. At the parking lot (same area) I can also leave all packaging which is made of plastic, metal, glass, cardboard and papers&magazines. If you live further out on the country side there's bigger ones like these: http://www.orebro.se/310.html [orebro.se]

        Around the city there's places like this:
        http://www.orebro.se/305.html [orebro.se]
        They are made like this:
        http://www.orebro.se/download/18.1ae77d4612f5d50ab538000632/Atleverket_karta+%C3%B6ver+ramp+och+containrar.pdf [orebro.se]
        http://www.orebro.se/download/18.1ae77d4612f5d50ab538000634/Mellringe_karta+%C3%B6ver+ramp+och+containrar.pdf [orebro.se]
        http://www.trollhattan.se/Documents/Tekniska/renhallning/avc_detaljplan_stor2.jpg [trollhattan.se]
        Here's a photo of one:
        http://www.orebrohus21.se/att/Hovstas%20nya%20%C3%A5tervinningscentral.JPG [orebrohus21.se]
        http://www.emmaboda.se/upload/Om%20kommunen/Kommunala%20bolag/MHAB/Kopia%20av%20IMG_3356.JPG [emmaboda.se]

        There you can leave more or less everything. Electronic (everything with built in battery, TVs, ..), dish washers, fridges, freezers, things you can burn (mostly wood and furniture), plastic, asbestos, metal, light bulbs and FLs, I assume there's also room for things like garden left overs for people with no compost of their own, batteries, paint, thinners, oil, ..

        In general the rest garbage is burned for long-distance/district heating (and there's places which burn more nasty stuff to.)

        As for land fills those exist to but with clay in the bottom and they put stuff above and so on but I guess that may be the case in many places. But as I understand things we've actually got a bigger demand for garbage to burn (though I assume we get some pollutans/filter material by doing so) than garbage so we import garbage ..

        They are rebuilding the largest one (?) in VÃsterÃ¥s:
        http://www.malarenergi.se/sv/om-malarenergi/vara-anlaggningar/kraftvarmeverket/Valkommen-till-fornyelsebloggen/ [malarenergi.se]
        I don't know where to find the nice looking schematics picture but whatever.

    • You must be pretty tough to knock down those straw men!

      5.1TWh is probably enough that, with all existing sources of energy, they could fully supply their exports or cut off all imports and have a small surplus. It would be, at most, slightly under 1/9th of what Germany produces on a down month. Note also that the output from solar has dropped, so all told they're at... just under 7 TWh in renewables.

      But let's ignore that the vast majority of energy production continues to be fossil fuels, which pollute cons

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by poity ( 465672 )

      Please try to run smelters on PV, build cars and planes on wind.
      Renewables advocates always forget industry when poo-pooing nuclear.

    • by khallow ( 566160 )
      What's not right? Germany pays a huge amount of money to make solar work. Those technical arguments still apply, but you can spend a bunch of money to ignore them.
    • by ackthpt ( 218170 )

      This can't be right, solar doesn't work, Germany is too far north, the lights must go off every night, PV is a stupid technology, nuclear is the only way!!1 How can this be happening, it must be a liberal media lie put out by the scientifically illiterate eco-nazis... it... it just can't...

      Worry not, the average American Household keeps Green and Renewable Energy at bay by leaving lights on all over the house, the refrigerator door open while doing something else, having the TV running while not in the room, having dozens of wall-warts sucking energy to power nothing at all, but burning up watts through cheap inefficient design, pre-heating ovens and stoves, etc.

      I'm considered subversive for managing a monthly combined bill of about 30 dollars. I expect their coming to get me, reprogram me s

    • Well, I help to save energy by switching of my bedroom lights every night when I go to sleep...

  • But...but... (Score:5, Informative)

    by IonOtter ( 629215 ) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @06:47PM (#44624693) Homepage

    But Germany gets so much more sun than the US! We can't compete with that?!

    (I wish I were kidding...) [americablog.com]

  • by Red_Chaos1 ( 95148 ) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @06:56PM (#44624775)

    "...that one of Germany's biggest utilities is threatening to migrate to Turkey."

    Don't let the door hit your ass on the way out.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jklovanc ( 1603149 )

      If you buy power only at night or when wind generators are not working but require us to keep our plants available 24/7 there is a problem. When you need power from conventional plants you really need it but we can't charge extra to keep up the infrastructure.

      Don't let the door hit your ass on the way out.

      You will say something different during a winter storm where solar is almost zero and wind generators are shut down due to over speed. It does not matter if you use fossil fuel heat if the electric controls don't work. Welcome to the problem with green

  • At what cost? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @06:58PM (#44624789)

    Discussion of technological breakthroughs is meaningless without a discussion of the cost.

    We have the technological capacity to build a hotel on the moon and run flights daily. We don't have the means to do it on an even remotely economically reasonable basis.

    And in discussing costs, I mean real costs. Subsidies to the renewable energies and penalties/fees to the fossil fuel based energies are distortions to the economic picture and must be excluded for an honest discussion on the topic. Here in California I saw a state sponsored study that attempted to prove that recycling plastic bottles was more economic than treating them as trash. I actually read the study and what I found is that the authors allowed subsidies to be included in the revenues of the recycling agencies and extra fees charged to landfills (and related) to be counted in the costs of the trash side. Naturally if your agenda is recycling and you have regulatory control over the revenues and costs... you're studying your ability to exercise power: not the economics behind an industry.

  • Obviously there are subsidies to encourage buying solar panels. However, whats really burning the utilities is how the pricing is worked out in Germany. The utilities have to pay top tier price for small scale solar power (ie if you have solar panels on your roof, generating an excess). The way the ends up working is that each kilowatt hour your neighbors put into the grid, the more you have to pay to pull power from the grid. More solar power drives the price up.

    I don't see how this can last long
    • Interesting. Actually, first incentivizing consumers at the expense of utilities, and then later doing the opposite, might make sense from the perspective of a revenue constrained country like Germany.

      The trouble with California is that the rules depend on when and where you bought in. Some people are only allowed to earn back up to the connection fee.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    a single nuclear plant (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravelines_Nuclear_Power_Plant) produces 38 Twh or about 7.5 times more than ALL of Germany's solar power! Don't get me wrong, I think renewables are amazing but the numbers look impressive until you compare them to how the world really powers itself...renewables have a LONG way to go.

    • Months vs years... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @07:19PM (#44625015)

      "In 2006 the plant produced 38.14 TWh". In a full year. The 5.1 TWh of solar power was for a single month.

      Renewables still have a long way to go, but it's 12 times better than you think. :)

    • I think your post would have been more interesting if you would have included the length of time comparison. How long does the NPP put out 38 Twh per amount of fuel compared to renewable's 7.5?

  • Percentages, please (Score:5, Informative)

    by rogerz ( 78608 ) <roger AT 3playmedia DOT com> on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @07:04PM (#44624877)

    Perhaps I should RTFA, but looking at the Wikipedia page on Energy_in_Germany, that looks to be about 10% of monthly electricity consumption, (generously, given that it's summer), and less than 2% of total energy consumption.

    • Perhaps I should RTFA, but looking at the Wikipedia page on Energy_in_Germany, that looks to be about 10% of monthly electricity consumption, (generously, given that it's summer), and less than 2% of total energy consumption.

      You were expecting better reporting in a post to Slashdot?

      The US has vast reaches of desert land in the southwest for sola and n the plains sstates for wind. The northeast and the northwest for hydropower. The Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf coasts for a mix of technologies beyond coal and oil.

      It is the difference between the natural resources of a continental empire and those of a single central European state.

  • by sgt scrub ( 869860 ) <saintium.yahoo@com> on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @07:22PM (#44625041)

    I can't see Turkey putting out more energy than coal or natural gas. Surely it wouldn't be any cheaper, or cleaner, to burn Turkey than what they are using now.

  • Germany uses on the order of 4,000 TWw per year. 5 TWh in the peak solar month... still a long ways to go. Then again, Germany sticks other countrys with over half of its energy needs.

  • by cpm99352 ( 939350 ) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @07:23PM (#44625057)
    The Forbes article states "Under current regulations, electricity generated by renewable energy resources are given priority access to the grid. As a result, electricity generated by coal and gas-fired plants is only used “to make up for any shortfalls,” according to the AFP."

    Does this mean that the nuclear stations have to divert their power when the wind picks up or the sun comes out? I'm certainly no expert, but I thought in the US it is the opposite, so that the wind stations have to go on bypass and the dams/nuclear stations have priority. Or is the Forbes article simply incorrect?
  • That is the problem. Notice that conventional electricity generation is used when there is not enough green power produced. Storms that would over speed wind power and block most of the solar power happen quite often and could drop green power generation drastically. During those times convention power plants need to be available. If they are not profitable then they will not be available and brownouts and blackouts will occur due to lack of power. The problem with green power is not generation; it is stor

  • Amazing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @07:44PM (#44625305) Journal

    Any mention of solar or any other renewable energy on Slashdot brings out an army of trolls, dolts, nincompoops and people who haven't commented on a story in ages, but suddenly have a pressing need to hold forth on solar energy. People who say, "It takes 7TW just to build a goddamn solar panel!" or, "Solar's no good because it's only 10%, and since coal is 30%, then that means coal is better because clouds!!" as if we'd passed the limits of technology in the 1890's and had better just get used to what we've got. I don't know what motivates people, or what brings them out for these stories, but it's pretty clear that if there is a concerted corporate effort to spread disinformation about energy, it's definitely working.

    The same people who will discuss seriously the best type of deep space drive for a manned mission to the Cygnus constellation will aver with absolute certainty that solar energy is just a pie-in-the-sky pipe dream.

    If I was a sociologist, I'd study the phenomenon. But that would just depress me.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

      I think a big part of it is outrage at the "idiots" who are don't understand nuclear power and are afraid of it, ruining the party for everyone else. You see a lot of people ranting about the "scientifically illiterate greens" and hippies who want to go back to the stone age, so it's clear they don't listen to or understand the actual arguments or developments in technology.

      It's a common problem everywhere. Find some group to blame and vent anger at and the momentum builds by itself.

      There is also a belief t

  • by jklovanc ( 1603149 ) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @07:54PM (#44625393)

    The chart says that there is 34.558 GW of solar capacity installed. They then show that 19.4Twh of energy was produced in the first seven months. Lets do some math. The longest day in Frankfurt is 16 hours and 23 minutes while the shortest day is 8 hours and 3 minutes. Therefore, on average the sun is up for 12 hours.19400Gwh / 7 months / 30 days / 12 hours = 7.4 Mw produced on average. That is 22% of capacity. That would mean that when the sun is up solar plants are producing, on average, 22% of their installed capacity. What happened to the other 78%?

    Lets do the same calculation for wind power. 24200 TWh /7 months/ 30 days / 24 hours = 4.8 Mw. 4.8/30.533 = 16% (wind works after dark so not daylight adjustment). Where is the other 84% of capacity.

    • Woah, hang on there on the daylight calculation. You have to factor in the angle to the sun. At dusk and dawn, your panels will be rotated at glancing incidence to the sun, they won't be presenting very much surface area to be illuminated.

      Assuming the produced power scales linearly with received intensity (I'm not willing to bet on this assumption....), if I've done my math correctly, you can only expect the average to be about a factor of 1/pi of the peak. How do your calculations work out if you normal

  • by steveha ( 103154 ) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @07:54PM (#44625403) Homepage

    Here are the numbers from the chart on page 4:

    Electricity production: first seven months 2013

    Uranium -- 52.1 TWh
    Brown Coal -- 85.1 TWh
    Hard Coal -- 65.5 TWh
    Gas -- 23.8 TWh
    Wind -- 24.2 TWh
    Solar -- 19.4 TWh
    Run of River -- 10.5 TWh

    Total energy production was about 280.6 TWh, renewable was 54.1 TWh (or about 19.3% of all energy production).

    Also interesting is the chart on page 9, "Monthly Production Solar". It is a bar graph, so these numbers are mostly my eyeball estimates:

    January: 0.35 TWh (exact number)
    February: 0.6 TWh (my estimate)
    March: 2.3 TWh (my estimate)
    April: 3.1 TWh (my estimate)
    May: 3.3 TWh (my estimate)
    June: 4.3 TWh (my estimate)
    July: 5.1 TWh (exact number)

    So winter really is bad for solar in Germany, but other months it isn't bad. Interestingly, wind does better in Winter... chart on page 10, "Monthly Production Wind", same deal as above (mostly eyeball estimates with two exact numbers):

    January: 5.0 TWh (exact number)
    February: 3.2 TWh (my estimate)
    March: 4.7 TWh (my estimate)
    April: 3.3 TWh (my estimate)
    May: 2.8 TWh (my estimate)
    June: 3.3 TWh (my estimate)
    July: 1.7 TWh (exact number)

    It doesn't look like renewables will be able to produce 100% of power needs any time soon in Germany, but they are producing about 1/5 of all energy. More than I expected.

    Critics claim that Germany is paying six times as much [bbc.co.uk] for power, to finance all the renewables. (Per that article, 18 billion Euros paid on power that has a market value of 3 billion Euros) See also the Wikipedia article on Renewable energy in Germany [wikipedia.org].

    Presumably though this is an investment and the renewables will keep providing power once their costs have been paid fully. I'm wondering if, over the operational lifetime of the solar and wind power equipment, they will wind up producing enough power that they will have actually been a good investment?

    IMHO it would make more sense for them to keep the nuclear power plants and try to shut down coal plants, but that's not their plan.

  • Nuclear (Score:5, Informative)

    by the eric conspiracy ( 20178 ) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @08:44PM (#44625775)

    The 900 lb gorilla in the room is the shutdown of nuclear generation. This is causing a much faster increase in coal consumption and construction of more coal burning plants in Europe.

    A lot of what is being mined and burned is nasty brown stuff too.

    The idea is that it's going to be replaced by renewables. Someday maybe, but I bet not in my lifetime. The upshot is that despite all this solar etc. the EU is spewing more CO2 than ever.

    The Economist has a great article about it. They call it the 'Golden Age of Coal' [economist.com].

  • Background Info (Score:5, Informative)

    by Tom ( 822 ) on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @01:50AM (#44627409) Homepage Journal

    Some more info - I am a German living in Germany, and I've been following non-mainstream media on this very topic for quite a while.

    Solar and wind are exploding, much quicker than anyone expected. In fact, so quickly that it has the government in panic, probably courtesy of the big energy corporations. You see, most solar and wind power is decentralized, deployed in small batches by thousands of small companies or private owners. The plans for big off-shore wind parks are moving ahead much, much more slowly.

    So, the government broke their own promises, retro-actively(!!!) changed the law and reduced the subsidies for clean energy. When you read "subsidies" you should realize that both coal and nuclear are also heavily subsidized. With the recent changes, more so then renewable energy.
    In addition, a law that exempts the really huge energy users in the industry was massively expanded and these days most energy-heavy industrial users are exempt from energy taxes. This makes electrical power a lot cheaper for them then for the consumer, who of course needs to pay for the difference. The purpose of this is obviously to reduce public support for renewable energy, because it has all been accompanied by a massive PR campaign about rising energy costs.

    The fact is that the actual price of electricity has come down. If you look at the power exchange (like a stock exchange, just for energy prices), there were days when the price of electrical power was negative for several hours. Yes, that's right, there was so much energy being produced that the producers paid you for taking it off their hands. Sounds insane, isn't - electrical energy can't be stored easily, and you can't just make it vanish. If supply and demand aren't in balance, the stability of the energy network is in danger.

    Of course, private consumers didn't notice and weren't given cheap energy. See above.

    There's a massive political tug-of-war going on within Germany right now. On the one hand there are hundreds of mostly small or medium-sized companies that are driving the renewable energy market, building and installing wind turbines and solar panels. On the other hand are about half a dozen big old energy-power companies who simply missed the boat and are still heavily invested into coal and nuclear. There's a whole story there about the Germany government's flip-flopping on nuclear power over the years, too much to include in this post.

  • Windup (Score:3, Funny)

    by Impy the Impiuos Imp ( 442658 ) on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @03:04AM (#44627639) Journal

    "I'm sure in the future you can just generate nineteen point twenty one jiggawatts from a windmill, but in the 1950s it's a little hard to do."

"Our vision is to speed up time, eventually eliminating it." -- Alex Schure