Germany had been increasingly meeting its energy demands through renewable energy sources. A few days ago its energy production through such eco-friendly sources was so high; it had to pay its people to consume the electricity.
Germany hit a new high in production of electricity from renewable energy resources over the weekend. At one point, Germany had produced enough energy to meet 95 percent of its power demand. This forced the power prices to go “negative” for several hours, reported QZ. In other words, commercial customers in Germany were being paid to consume electricity.
At 11 a.m. last Sunday, Germany’s renewable energy production plants produced so much electricity they met 95 percent of Germany’s power demands. On average, the country was able to produce enough energy through eco-friendly sources to meet 87 percent of its energy requirement. Interestingly, since traditional power plants which either relied on nuclear power or by burning coal couldn’t halt their production, the prices of electricity plummeted, allowing consumers to actually make a profit by being connected to the country’s power grid.
Germany is one of the few European countries that have been spearheading the transition towards clean energy. It has been steadily working towards decreasing it reliance on fossil fuels and other non-renewable energy sources. The country is in the middle of an initiative called “Energiewende” which means “energy transition”.
Through the long term project, the government hopes to drastically cut down on greenhouse gas emissions by about 80 to 95 percent, reported the Daily Mail. Additionally, following the Fukushima disaster in Japan, Germany also intends to phase out nuclear power before 2022. The country plans to rely on renewable energy sources for meeting at least 60 percent of power demands before 2050. But given the rapid pace of development, and Sunday’s incident, it appears Germany might meet its goal well ahead of schedule.
It’s astonishing note that just last year; renewable energy sources contributed just 33 percent of the nation’s energy production. Speaking about the increasing contribution of renewable energy towards the nation power grid, shared Christoph Podewils of Agora Energiewende, a German clean energy think tank,
“We have a greater share of renewable energy every year. The power system adapted to this quite nicely. This day shows again that a system with large amounts of renewable energy works fine.”
The energy production was boosted by unusual windy conditions and ample, unhindered sunlight. Sunday’s requirement was 57.8 gigawatts. While there will be very few such days when the country is blessed with such high intensity of natural forces, solar power managed to meet 45.2 percent of that total, wind power 36 percent, biomass power 8.9 percent, and hydropower plants 4.8 percent.
To consistently rely on renewable energy sources, Germany still has to make significant strides in development of technology. Moreover, the country still needs to improve the efficiency of the equipment and find new ways of storing energy. The storage systems will gradually release energy on days that aren’t windy or sunny. Nonetheless, despite being an industrious nation, Germany’s commitment to renewable energy is commendable, said Osha Gray Davidson, who has written a book on Energiewende,
“Manufacturing accounts for much more of the German economy than the American economy, and they have 80 million people – much larger than a country like Denmark, which gets more of its power from renewables but has a much smaller industrial base, and has a population of 5.5 million people.”
Multiple towns, cities, and now entire countries like Germany are proving that renewable energy can be relied upon to power large and developed areas. Interestingly, densely populated countries like China are not only spending more on eco-friendly energy productions technologies, but also discussing unifying the world’s power grids to ensure adequate supply of power to all corners of the world.
[Photo by David McNew/Getty Images]