‘Die Energiewende’ in Germany

As explained in the first post, Flidar gathers data on offshore sites for the possibility of windfarms. As the Flidar project is partially confidential, we cannot fully discuss the content of our thesis.  As subject for this blog we will discuss the possibilities, problems and the future of offshore renewable energy production.

Recently there were two interesting videos on the VRT news (Dutch). They show how Germany is investing in renewable energy today, the advantages it brings but also the problems that coinside. In this post we will discuss the energiewende by 2022 in Germany.

Video 1 – Energiewende Germany

Video 2 – Energiewende Germany

Germany is investing enormously on being nuke-free in 2022, to achieve this goal they are building lots of new windfarms and solar installations. One of the biggest problems this brings is the capacity of the power net. Renewable energy is a more unpredictable source and has high peaks and low dips, for this reason the power net could get an overload or insufficient energy.

As a solution to the energy dips more energy storage could be the solution. Today, the most effective way to store energy is still pumping it to a higher location when you have an excess of power, and letting it drop again through a turbine and generator to supply energy in case of a shortage. As for now, there are not enough pumpinstallations to supply the needs. A few years ago they needed to intervene a few dozen of times a year. Today, this number has increased to a few hundred interventions a year.

For solving the overload  they estimate 3000km of new high-voltage cables will be needed in Germany. Another problem for the power net is the region where they produce their energy. Wind power is mostly harvested in the north at sea or near the shore. But most of the factorys and energy consuming industry of Germany lie in the south, which causes more transport of energy and as for now they still don’t know who will build and pay for this.

By 2020 they want 35% renewable energy, compared to Belgium where the goal is 13% by 2020, it is an enourmous amount. For Belgium, where they plan for a nuclear exit in 2025 there is still a lot of work to be done.

Sources: http://www.deredactie.be , http://economie.fgov.be, http://www.destandaard.be

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6 thoughts on “‘Die Energiewende’ in Germany

  1. One of the big challenge is indeed placing infrastructure to connect all suppliers and users. A few years ago I read something about an Italian architect who designed a future for Europe. He thought that Europe had to be better connected for the transportation of energy. Different countries have to support each other whenever one has lack of energy. And huge structures for storing energy will have to be built. This is a vision and an ideal but there is some truth in it. To change our energy sources to renewable ones there has to be an infrastructure and this takes time and money. We also have to be able to storage enough energy to compensate the instability of renewable energy resources. So probably the change to green energy is too fast. This is my opinion, is it right to say that this is your opinion to?

  2. tijlcrauwels says:

    I certainly think it is possible. The biggest problem they’re facing right now is the same they’re facing everywhere, the financial crisis and politics.
    The problem of the powergrid is not that they won’t be able to build it in time, it is who is going to fund, build, plan and agree to it. In the past it took Germany 11 years to build a power grid expansion. Now they’re looking to do it in half the time.
    As for power shortages the capacity of storing energy should be increased. But also Gas fired ‘reserve power plants’ should be build (which nobody wants to do because they will only work when there’s a shortage, which is in an economic point of view not profitable) and alternative ways of generating electricity should be explored to make it more reliable. (e.g. Tidal energy, wave energy) This is possible, but will be a challenge because of the time limit (2022).
    Fact remains that it was a drastic measure to change the phase-out of nuclear energy from 2036 to 2022 after Fukushima and they will be facing a lot of deadlines and difficulties to achieve it.
    So my personal opinion on this matter is that it is very fast to change it by 2022, but that it certainly should be possible if all minds are set in the same direction. I think it is a shame that politics is, like always, one of the deciding factors.

    • A few days ago I saw an interesting documentary about latest technology evolution in energy supply (Dox: The 4th Revolution). It seems that that Denmark had a huge problems during the oil crisis in the middle of the seventies because it was 100% dependent on oil (mostly imported oil). So they decided to invested a lot in renewable energy, their goal was to produce 100 % renewable energy. Everywhere you look you see windmills which deliver energy for single homes, farms, factories and cities. They started to recover also heat from the production of electricity from gas-engines who are running a lot on biomass,… In other power stations it is normally wasted, but they use this hot water to heat whole cities or even small towns. 80% of all the heating in Denmark is done in the form of district heating. Instead of a few big power stations, where such hot water is wasted, they have hundreds of these small combined heat power stations.
      They claim that that a windmill park in California one, that is one of the biggest in the world, is in very bad shape. And that when all the windmills are repaired, and if necessary replaced, by the latest technology it would produce the same amount of energy as 5 nuclear reactors would.
      In this documentary they say that one have to be realist and has to see obstacles like politics and change in market share, you would be naïve not to take these into account. But analyst give to pessimistic signals to the outside world, they should encourage communities instead of demotivating them, otherwise they will slow the process even more down!
      A very interesting documentary! (Also about Electric cars (Tesla ) , passive houses,…)

  3. gabuglio says:

    At the end of the first video you posted they say that in the near future they have to build a lot more of the primitive pump systems if they want to keep working on their research of modern ways to save energy. When these modern alternatives are found, what will happen with the primitive pump systems that they have to build now? Are there any alternative projects that involve electric energy where they can be used?

    • tijlcrauwels says:

      These pump systems have the same function as a regular battery. There will always be the need to store energy when there’s a peak of energyproduction, or when the consumption is low. You can solve this by making the renewable energy more reliable, but you will always need a buffer. So I don’t think these pump stations will lose their functionallity very soon.
      It’s like the Energy production where it’s not the question which type of production you will use, it’s which combination of different solutions (Wind + Solar + Wave + ….). So when they discover newer and cheaper ways to store energy, they will be most likely used together with these pump stations.

      One of these alternative solutions is a new kind of battery: http://www.ted.com/talks/donald_sadoway_the_missing_link_to_renewable_energy.html Which is especially designed for grid-use. Your post about the windmills apple is designing is also one of these new solutions.

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