Germany Sets New Record

Germany set a new record for renewable energy production in 2010. Combined, wind, biomass and solar supplied 83 TWh, or 13.8% of total supply. As the world watches events unfold at Japan’s nuclear plant, we would do well to consider the German example.

To give perspective, Ontario Power Generation has proposed 2000 MW of new nuclear at the Darlington station, just east of Toronto, Canada’s largest city. The 2000 MW station would produce 14 TWh of power, or about 10% of Ontario’s demand, if it produced 80% of the time. In other words, Germany’s renewable resources (excluding waterpower) already produce almost 6 times the amount the proposed new nuclear station would produce.

German wind produced 37.5 TWh, biomass produced 33.5 TWh and solar produced 12 TWh. Germany seems to have no difficulty integrating this level of renewables into their grid, and they lack the waterpower storage that Ontario has, which of course makes integration of renewable variability easier.

So when you hear supposedly informed commentators in the press, such Gwyn Morgan, Eric Reguly, or Margaret Wente, make glib comments like, “Don’t ever expect renewable energy to replace the baseload nuclear”, just remember, in Germany, they already do.

Leave a Reply