On Sunday, May 8,
new high in renewable energy generation. Thanks to a sunny and windy day, at
one point around 1pm the country’s solar, wind, hydro and biomass plants were
supplying about 55 GW of the 63 GW being consumed, or 87%. Power prices
actually went negative for several hours, meaning commercial customers were
being paid to consume electricity. Germany
Last year the average renewable mix was 33%, reports Agora Energiewende, a German clean energy think tank. New wind power coming online should push that even higher.
“We have a greater share of renewable energy every year,” said Christoph Podewils of Agora. “The power system adapted to this quite nicely. This day shows again that a system with large amounts of renewable energy works fine.”
Critics have argued that because of the daily peaks and troughs of renewable energy—as the sun goes in and out and winds rise and fall—it will always have only a niche role in supplying power to major economies. But that’s looking less and less likely. Germany plans to hit 100% renewable energy by 2050, and Denmark’s wind turbines already at some points generate more electricity than the country consumes, exporting the surplus to Germany, Norway and Sweden.