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Electricity prices plunge to 2.75 cents per kilowatt-hour as renewable energy dominates on Germany’s Reunification Day.

Wind and solar power peaked at 59.1 percent of German power generation earlier this month. It happened at noon on a very windy and sunny October 3, which is the German holiday commemorating reunification. (Germany also hit peaks of 61 percent, a record, and 59 percent earlier this year.)

Solar and wind provided 36.4 percent of total electricity generation over the entire day, with PV accounting for 11.2 percent.

The electrical grid appears intact but electricity prices took a tumble. According to an analysis by Bernard Chabot of BCCONSULT, low demand from large conventional power plants drove the electricity price index covering Germany, Austria, France and Switzerland to 2.75 cents per kilowatt-hour at 2:00 p.m.

Some additional stats from Chabot’s report about Germany’s power mix on October 3:

  • Solar and wind furnished a total of more than 436 gigawatt-hours.
  • At peak, solar furnished 20.5 gigawatts, with wind peaking at 16.6 gigawatts.
  • Conventional power plants had to ramp down to 23 gigawatts at about noon.

We recently reported on an NREL study specific to one U.S. regional grid (the Western Interconnection), which found the costs of backing up and integrating wind and solar are far smaller than the benefits accrued from the use of renewables. We’ve reported on the ways in which the traditional utility model is under threat from renewables. And we’ve heard from grid experts who see the European grid as strained and soon to be challenged by the onslaught of renewables.

Eric Wesoff: October 18, 2013 via Greentech Media


  • William Rodgers

    Its one thing to say the grid did not “explode”. However that is a strawman argument.

    It is another thing to talk with the grid operators and learn from their perspective what it took to keep that intermittent power running at that level for the few hours the sun was shining sufficiently provide that level of electricity to the grid. It would also be instructive to talk to the grid operators about how they managed to not shed load during those large transients and what their backup plans were in case generation dropped suddenly as generation systems powered by weather are wont to do.

    That would be a much better article. It would also be more useful for this discussion then trying to claim that just because of a possible one day success in Germany, by extrapolation, the US grid can run on a large amount of solar and wind.

    There are questions from professionals such as myself that still need to be answered. Such as how much was power generation was in backup ready to take over but running ineffeciently at low fuel consumption rates? Such how much power was shoved onto other neighboring countries? What was the power swings in Germany since those power transients can have detrimental effects on grid infrastructure? Those articles are the ones that need to be written not cheerleading articles about a one day success story. This is a 24/7/365 marathon not a one day sprint.