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Germany managed to achieve a new milestone in terms of renewable energy generation this past Sunday. Around 1pm on a sunny and windy day, the biomass, hydro, solar and wind plants supplied almost 55GW out of the 63GW that was being used (or 87%). Interestingly, this led to a drop in prices so significant that they turned negative for a number of hours. This, in turn, meant that customers earned money for using the electricity.
The average renewable mix last year was 33%, according to the Agora Energiewende. As more wind comes in, that average renewable mix is expected to get higher. Christoph Podewils from Agora stated that the percentage of the average renewable mix continues to grow year over year. Over the years, the power system has been able to adapt to the varying percentage. Thus, this latest feat is yet another example of that.
Critics continue to argue that the Sun will merely have a niche role when it comes to supply of power. This is because of the particular times when the Sun comes out and goes in. Germany seems to be intent on scoring 100% renewable energy by the year 2050. Interestingly, countries like Denmark have wind turbines that already produce more electricity than the country consumes. That is not all; it even exports surplus energy to places such as Sweden, Norway and Germany.
The power system in Germany still has a lot to achieve in order for energy suppliers to immediately respond to signals of pricing. Gas power plants may have been taken offline, but coal and nuclear plants cannot be immediately shut down. This is why they continued to run and industrial customers largely benefited from consuming the electricity.