Sunday, 2 February 2014

Germany's Renewables a menace to Industry

Image: Der Spiegel
Last year, after Fukushima, German Chancellor Angela Merkel decided the country should move from Nuclear Power to renewables. In Business week, last November:
Nuclear plants supplied about one-quarter of Germany’s power before the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan triggered a meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. The disaster turned the German public against atomic energy, and Chancellor Angela Merkel immediately closed the country’s eight oldest reactors.
How much energy did Germany expect from renewables?
The government is planning to get 80 percent of its electricity from renewables by 2050, up from about 23 percent now.
However, the fluctuating input from renewables is destabilising the grid. Hydro Aluminium in Hamburg had some plant destroyed  due to interruption to energy supply. (link)
It was 3 a.m. on a Wednesday when the machines suddenly ground to a halt. The rolling mill's highly sensitive monitor stopped production so abruptly that the aluminium belts snagged. They hit the machines and destroyed a piece of the mill. The reason: The voltage off the electricity grid weakened for just a millisecond.  
Members of the Association of German Industrial Energy Companies (VIK) has revealed that short interruptions to the grid has grown by 29% in the past three years and
the number of service failures has grown 31 percent, and almost half of those failures have led to production stoppages. Damages have ranged between €10,000 and hundreds of thousands of euros, according to company information.

At other industrial companies, executives at the highest levels are also thinking about freeing themselves from Germany's electricity grid to cushion the consequences of the country's transition to renewable energy. 
Read more at SpiegelOnLinel.