It seems that the woes besetting the German Energiewende (transition the green energies) and the country’s power grids are finally beginning to hit home at the mainstream German media.
For example German HR public radio here writes “increasingly large problems have besieged power grid operator Tennet” and that the company often “has to act at lightning speed to prevent blackouts“. That illustrates just how unstable Germany’s power grid has gotten since the Energiewende started in earnest some 15 years ago.
HR public radio’s Jens Wellhöner describes a grid control center in northern Germany, where workers at the complex control center work tensely to keep the grid from crashing as highly unstable wind and solar energy surge and drop off precipitously with every whim of the weather.
During windy and stormy conditions, the Tennet operated power grid often cannot accept wind energy, and thus control center workers have to force the wind parks to shut down to avert overloading the grid. And conventional gas and coal plant must always be on standby and ready to spring into action at a minute’s notice should wind and sun drop off, as is often the case on cloudy and windless days.
“More than 1000 interventions a year”
Whenever the grid threatens to fly out of control, Tennet grid operators need to move fast and intervene. Years ago before the wind and solar energy were fed in to the grid in significant volumes, operators intervened to avert a black out maybe “up to five times per year“. But today “we are up to 1000 – 1500 interventions per year,” says Volker Weinreich, Director of the Hanover grid control center.
The HR reports further: “The Energiewende means more and more work for the men and women at the control center in Hanover.” And they “must always be alert.” According to Weinreich, the grid “no longer functions without the daily interventions by these employees“.
And according to HR, the situation will stay that way for many years, which is how long it is expected to take to revamp the grid enough to handle the instability. In the meantime, control center workers will have to keep up their full court press to prevent the Tennet-operated power grid from blacking out.
November 29, 2017 at 12:13PM