Germany has remained a net exporter of electricity even after shutting down its whole nuclear fleet. Still some critics say renewable energy is not reliable enough nor is there enough capacity to power major industrial nations. But Chancellor Angela Merkel has said Germany is eager to demonstrate that is indeed possible.
Germany is the world’s third largest user of wind power, they have a progressive state, with a thoroughly modern infrastructure that should be envied, and the country has plans to build more wind turbines. Renewable energies generated 20% of electricity in Germany in 2011, whereas the nuclear power plants’ share in the generation was 18%.
“We have a lot of work ahead of us but we agreed to work together,” Merkel told reporters. The German progress clearly shows that it is much more beneficial to work with nature, than to constantly try to control and undermine it. Maybe the policymakers in India who are still trying to coerce the citizens so that new nuclear power plants can be built should think about following the German lead.
Last week, German solar power plants reminded the world that it has long been a leader in renewable energy technology as they produced a world record 22 gigawatts of electricity per hour through the midday hours on Friday and Saturday, equivalent to 20 nuclear power stations at full capacity, the head of a renewable energy think tank said.
Norbert Allnoch, director of the Institute of the Renewable Energy Industry (IWR) in Muenster, said the 22 gigawatts of solar power per hour fed into the national grid on Saturday met nearly 50 percent of the nation’s midday electricity needs. “This shows Germany is capable of meeting a large share of its electricity needs with solar power,” Allnoch said. “It also shows Germany can do with fewer coal-burning power plants, gas-burning plants and nuclear plants.”
“Never before anywhere has a country produced as much photovoltaic electricity,” Allnoch told Reuters. “Germany came close to the 20 gigawatt (GW) mark a few times in recent weeks. But this was the first time we made it over.”
The 22 GW per hour figure is up from about 14 GW per hour a year ago. Government-mandated support for renewables has helped Germany became a world leader in renewable energy and the country gets about 20 percent of its overall annual electricity from those sources.
Wind, solar and other renewable energy sources currently account for some 20 percent of Germany’s electricity production and are set to produce a third of it within a decade, reaching 80 percent by 2050.
Utilities have complained that their conventional plants’ profitability is too low because they are forced to operate below capacity, which might eventually force them to shut down the plants for good.
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