Germany: For the first time on May 15, almost all of Germany’s power demand was supplied by clean energy, marking a revolutionary moment for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s “Energiewende” policy, which aims to boost renewables while phasing out nuclear and fossil fuels, according a Bloomberg report.
According to the provisional data by Agora Energiewende, a research institute in Berlin, the report said that solar and wind power peaked at 2 pm local time on Sunday, with renewables supplying 45.5 gigawatts of the total 45.8 gigawatts demand in energy. The report further stated data from Epex Spot, which noted that “power prices turned negative during several 15-minute periods”, plunging to as low as minus Euro 50 per megawatt-hour.
The report highlighted that countries around Europe are increasingly building infrastructure to generate more renewable energy, in their bid to reduce carbon emissions and boost supply security. When the coal-fired power stations broke down in the United Kingdom on May 10 last year, they were unable to meet the electricity demands for about four hours, during which, Denmark’s wind farms supplied 140% of demand, the report illustrated.
However, even at the peak of power supply from wind and solar energy, the report added that conventional power plants were still supplying 7.7 gigawatts to the grids, on Sunday.
Focusing on the flipside, the report observed that Merkel’s shift to clean energy was not only affecting the revenue margins at coal and gas plants but also increasing costs for consumers, in addition to putting pressure on power grids due to overload of supply from clean energy, besides conventional energy.
Monne Depraetere, an analyst for Bloomberg New Energy Finance, was quoted as saying: “Events like this highlight that eventually we may need to start curtailing because of market-wide oversupply. In the long-run, that may provide a case to build technologies that can manage this oversupply — for example more interconnectors or energy storage.”
He added that despite Germany consuming 100% renewable energy on Sunday, it is unlikely that the country will see clean energy supply 100% of generation anytime in the near future.