Renewable Energy Generation Hits All Time Highs in Denmark and Germany
Denmark's and Germany's wind and solar electricity generation is peaking, covering much of their countries' need, setting the trend for renewable energy systems that do not cost the Earth.
In the last month, solar and wind energy has been reaching record breaking figures in some countries in Europe.
On November 4th this year, Denmark's wind turbines covered 122% of the countries demand for electricity.
"This is the highest registered figure so far," says Preben Maegaard, director of the Nordic Folkcenter for Renewable Energy.
A month before on October 3rd, Germany's renewable energy peaked at 59.1% with a combination of solar and wind. Across the entire day, 36% of total electricity generation was achieved, with solar contributing 11% at 20.5 gigawatts at its peak.
"It was around midday on October 3, which just happened to be Germany's annual Reunification Day holiday, when the sun was at its fullest and the significant peak was reached. Over the entire day, 36.4% of total electricity generation was achieved with solar and wind power; solar panels contributed 11.2% on their own. At its peak, solar accounted for 20.5 gigawatts.
"Although the electrical grid withstood the large amount of renewable energy flowing to it, you'll be pleased to know that electricity prices also dived. A drop in demand from big, conventional power plants led the electricity price index at 2:00pm to 2.75 cents per kilowatt hour. The index covers Germany, Austria, France, and Switzerland.
"So there you have it. A country as large and industrialized as Germany can and did operate successfully, albeit on a national holiday, using a large percentage of renewable energy. And this is only the beginning," comments Jim Winstead.
These surges not only showed that renewable energy can supply energy needs, but neither power grids broke down under the surge.
How different is Britain with its plans to build more nuclear reactors in partnership with China and France and continue backing the Big Six energy companies who produce dirty, expensive energy? Currently in Britain, for every 100 unit generated by coal and gas fired stations, 61.5 units are lost through inefficient generation and heat wastage. We need a localised energy revolution.
Things You Can Do
Find out how much power Denmark is generating right now! See www.energinet.dk/Flash/Forside/UK/index.html (Map and figures are updated every 10 minutes.)
SWITCH to Good Energy, a UK renewable energy company that does not buy gas, coal or nuclear powered electricity. GET A QUOTE HERE.
Watch: Heat Your Room for 8p a Day
Preben Maegaard, director of the Nordic Folkcenter for Renewable Energy
This is very misleading. What about the days when it isnt sunny or windy? Do we just turn off the life-support systems and wait for the sun to come out? Wind and solar are very diffuse sources of energy compared to fossil fuels or nuclear; they cannot replace these energy-dense fuels, and they need gas back-up in any case. A lot of the time Germany's wind/solar provide less than 1% of their electricity. In the past few years Germany has added far more new coal (dirty lignite) than it has new renewables. Also, it takes far longer to scale renewables than it does nuclear, and is more costly. Wind and solar are good but will never play more than a minor role in our energy mix.
It also has to be considered: is wind and solar really renewable? Making solar panels is a dirty business, outsourced to China so we dont have to think about it; wind requires vast coke smelting industry to make the huge steel towers. and they only last 20years tops, compare 50-60 years life span for coal/nuclear power stations. Both wind and solar depend entirely on rare earth minerals, hardly a "renewable" resource.
As a permaculture teacher, Graham, you will know that there is a cascading hierarchy of priorities with energy. First we design all new builds to harvest sunlight through passive solar technology with thermal mass and capture that heat for as long as possible with good insulation. We design in natural light as much as we can. Then we insulate old buildings and use materials and technology to preserve heat and light. Conservation of resources first. Then we look at small scale localised micro generation community power systems. We know that after heat is lost up cooling towers, servicing a huge central grid system is also very inefficient. Then and only then do we turn to larger scale renewables for all the reasons you state. We have 2 crises at the moment. The first one is dangerous climate change cause by CO2 in the atmosphere. All the scientific models predict a change in sea levels and a destabilised climate. Coal only adds to this problem. Nuclear, the second problem, requires vast amount of water to cool reactors and spent fuel rods. So plants are located on coasts. This is not logical or wise. The time scales of managing waste is also far beyond our capacity and thus expensive. So nuclear coupled with climate change is neither safe or efficient use of resources. This is common sense but it is not currently economic sense in a society that wants centralised energy systems tied to the Stock Exchange. Let's be honest, energy is political. That is the real problem or we would carry out all the sensible lower cost low CO2 options first, wouldn't we?