Energy

Germans Are Getting Paid To Leave The Lights On All Day

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Tim Pearce Energy Reporter

Germans may get paid to use as much electricity as they can Sunday as Germany’s utility companies try to drain power from the grid to deal with a spike in wind energy production.

Wind turbines across the country are expected to produce 39,190 megawatts of electricity at 7 a.m. Sunday, a new record. That level of output is equivalent to 40 nuclear reactors and is enough to cover half of total German demand, Bloomberg reports.

As energy output climbs, electricity prices are driven lower, sometimes below zero. Experts are predicting Sunday to be the first day this year where electricity prices remain below zero for the entire day, not just a few hours at a time.

Germany experienced a sunny and windy day May 8 that caused renewable energy from solar panels and wind farms to plunge the price below zero for a few hours, according to Quartz.

Renewables are vulnerable to swings in output on a seasonal and daily basis because they are dependent on the weather. Grid operators deal with the fluctuations by cutting off natural gas plants. Nuclear and coal plants are, however, not as responsive to price swings and usually stay running, even when companies are forced to shell out cash for customers to use energy.

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