The media arm of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and several media outlets claim Sunday was a “historic day” because green energy provided 100 percent of Germany’s electricity, but a global warming researcher says the hype is only “feeding delusions.”
“Consider this. If German renewables provided consistent electricity, you would not see these headlines,” Robert Wilson, an ecosystem and climate change researcher at the University of Strathclyde, said on Twitter Monday in response to a post by United Nation’s Climate Action. Germany’s power grid can’t handle so much unpredictable and highly intermittent wind and solar power, meaning using 100 percent green energy doesn’t last long and damages the power grid.
Media accounts confirm green energy only powered 100 percent of Germany for a 15-minute period near the middle of the day when the country effectively paid commercial customers to consume electricity.
A similar event occurred last Tuesday when wind and solar power nearly burnt out Germany’s power grid. The media outlet Quartz attempted to spin the near disaster as a huge triumph, lauding the fact green energy briefly provided 87 percent of Germany’s power, but there was very real damage to the power grid.
Power grids require demand for electricity exactly match supply in order to function, which is an enormous problem for wind and solar power since their output cannot be accurately predicted in advance or easily adjusted. Wind and solar can burn out the grid if they produce too much, or not enough, electricity, leading to brownouts or blackouts. Such damage has already occurred in Germany and in other grids that rely too much on solar and wind power — like California.
Germany has been minimizing the damage from over-utilizing wind and solar by literally paying consumers to take excess power and paying power producers to shut down. Germany paid wind farms $548 million last year to switch off in order to prevent damage to the country’s electric grid.
Due to the damaging effects green energy has had on Germany’s grid, the government plans to cap the total amount of wind energy at 40 to 45 percent of national capacity, according to a report published last month by the German newspaper Berliner Zeitung. By 2019, Germany will get rid of 6,000 megawatts of wind power capacity.
Despite the cut backs to wind power, the German government estimates it will spend over $1.1 trillion financially supporting wind power, even though building wind turbines hasn’t achieved the government’s goal of actually reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to slow global warming.
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