The latest summary presentation from Prof. Bruno Burger of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems arrived in my in box today courtesy of Willem Post and Hugh Sharman. It is a gigantic pdf with 263 slides. I have selected just 7 slides and provide minimal commentary here to illustrate how the Energiewende is going in Germany. Hugh made this observation:
The reality remains that, according to these statistics, the capacity factor of wind and PV in Germany is ummmm…pretty awful
Solar PV capacity GW 35.651
Solar PV production TWh 29.7
Capacity Factor 9.5%
Wind capacity GW 32.513
Wind production TWh 47.2
Capacity Factor 16.6%
Such low capacity factors, especially for solar, may actually push the energy return on invested (ERoEI) to below unity. In other words, more energy may be used to manufacture, install and maintain the units than they ever produce.
Slide 5 Electricity production 2013. Total production is 479.4 TWh. Wind = 9.85%, Solar = 6.60%, Hydro = 3.21%.
Slide 7 Change from 2012 to 2013. Natural gas was the big loser in 2013. Considering that the whole purpose of the Energiewende is to cut CO2 emissions, this is a very strange development since burning coal produces roughly twice as much CO2 per unit of electricity production.
Slide 34 Daily production of solar. Solar production is heavily skewed to the summer months, almost non-existent in the winter months. The maximum daily summer production is 100 times greater than the minimum winter production.
Slide 35 Daily production wind. Wind is highly variable but skewed towards the winter months. Maximum daily production is roughly 100 times minimum daily production.
Slide 37 Daily production of wind and solar. The negative correlation between wind and solar production across a 12 month period goes some way towards smoothing the gross supply but does little to nothing to smooth the variability wind introduces to the system.
Slide 44 Actual generation from gas, coal and nuclear. It is hard coal and gas that is doing most of the load balancing work in Germany.
Slide 51 Export-import balance. With total maximum demand running at about 70 GW, importing and exporting electricity at a rate of ± 10 GW has become an important load balancing tool. Germany may only continue to do this for so long as neighbours (Sweden, Holland and Czech Republic) are willing and / or able to accept the winter wind surpluses.
Missing from the presentation is an analysis of costs. I would like to know what the total direct cost of this experiment has been so far. And what costs are being born by the fossil fuel producers? What is the energy efficiency penalty paid by hard coal plant that is ramped up and down on a regular basis?