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Fear of power grid collapse grows

Published: 27 Nov 2012 13:47 GMT+01:00

Critical situations such as dangerous power fluctuations have "increased dramatically overall," according to a government report seen by financial daily Handelsblatt.

The Federal Network Agency and Federal Cartell Office are due to present their “Monitoring Report 2012” on Wednesday. The paper reported that Germans should expect the country's electricity network to be less reliable.

A primary cause of the precariousness was, the report said, the rising amount of power being taken from renewable sources such as wind or sun, which fluctuate more than traditional energy sources.

To compensate for dips in output from greener power sources, grid operators have had to increase how hard power plants are working accordingly, to fill in during busy periods, or quickly power down plants in times of overcapacity.

Adding to this the fact that Germany is trying to switch to using more renewable sources, but doing so very slowly, experts are concerned that the whole network is teetering on the brink of collapse.

By way of example, Handelsblatt used an area between the Lower Saxon Sottrum area, and Borken in the central state of Hesse. In 2011 the stretch experienced 319 hours in which power was in danger of cutting out. This was 1,242 percent higher than the previous year.

Between Remptendorf, in Thuringia, and Redwitz in Bavaria, though, there was just 1,727 hours in the entirety of 2011 where power was under threat.

The Local/jcw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

14:30 November 27, 2012 by auslanderus
Who is going to pay for the damages when in the middle of winter the lights go out and there is no power for hours? What about the people on life support in hospitals or those at home that need the power for pumps to help people breath? What about the frozen water pipes that break for no heat? Hows about the edlerly when they have no heat? Turn off the power plants and replace then with what?
14:41 November 27, 2012 by raandy
This will be the apocalypse for Germany.
15:03 November 27, 2012 by pelliot
The energy policy in Germany is being driven by publicity seeking politicians and green activists -- with complete disregard for the complexities facing a stable power grid. These idiots should move to their own village which relies solely on wind and solar and leave the rest of us alone.

I am not anti-green energy -- but I know its limits. The reality is, until high capacity battery technology improves and is available to the masses the vast majority of our electricity must come from nuclear, coal and gas power plants to ensure grid stability.
22:50 November 27, 2012 by pepsionice
Lets put this in the right context.....when Italy is considered more reliable for power being there....than Germany....then there's something wrong. Every single German ought to stand up and recognize this right away. The bottom line is grid-trust (my term for this mess). When you start to say that a dozen towns in Germany may lack 180 hours next year in grid potential....you need to ask why and grasp what you are accepting in life.

In North Korea....you get roughly three hours of power per day in the vast majority of the country. In the best neighborhoods....you have full power all year-round. But roughly ninety percent of North Korea rarely gets more than three hours per day. If the standard in Germany starts to become twenty-two hours a day.....it might change your prospective on life.
03:00 November 28, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
Seems like Dr. Merkyl and Mr. Hyde are not telling us everyting. Where is all the money really going?
12:39 November 30, 2012 by truth is treason
UN Agenda 21 comes to Germany. Maybe we should not shut down all these power plants that emit dangerous Dihydrogen oxide (H2O) steam, that is the white gas coming out of the towers. We if the nuclear power stations shut down the power for domestic needs then it will be welcome to quick certain deaths from cold far greater than slow nuclear contamination IF an accident happens.
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