Sunshine to burn off morning fog

Mornings full of thick, grey fog will continue to greet Germany’s early risers, but the bright reds and yellows of autumn will be highlighted by sunshine-filled and comfortable afternoons across the country over the weekend.

Sunshine to burn off morning fog
Photo: DPA

“The high pressure system ‘Ulla’ will determine weather in much of Germany at the weekend,” German Weather Service (DWD) meteorologist Helmut Malewski said.

Most of Germany will continue to contend with morning fog, and temperatures, depending on the fog’s resolution, will range from 13 to 18 degrees. In areas where the morning mist is more persistent, highs may remain around 10 degrees.

Only the north-west will be influenced by an Atlantic low-pressure system, bringing clouds but little precipitation, according to the DWD report.

Click here for The Local’s weather forecast

Friday night will be cloudy in northern and western Germany and cool in southern regions. In southern and south-eastern areas, overnight lows near freezing could cause ground frost.

On Saturday lowland regions will experience fog and low-level cloud that may dissolve only partially or not at all. Otherwise, the day looks sunny and dry with only a few thin clouds. Depending on the duration of the sunshine, temperatures will rise to 12 degrees on the coast and up to 18 degrees in the west, though thicker clouds in north-western areas may cause temperatures to drop a few degrees.

The DWD predicts overnight fog formation Saturday, leading to another grey morning on Sunday, with varying resolution expected throughout the day. Conditions will be partly cloudy and may include scattered showers in the west. Daytime temperatures will vary from 12 to 17 degrees, though particularly foggy areas may not top 10 degrees.

“Also at the beginning of the coming week, the peaceful weather conditions will change only slightly,” Malewski said.

Monday’s temperatures, ranging from 12 degrees on the Baltic Sea up to 17 degrees along the Rhine River, will also be impacted by the amount of fog – in some areas, dense fog patches will keep temperatures under 10 degrees.

According to the DWD’s monthly report, this October was one of the sunniest on record. The 160 hours of sunshine put the month in the top six of its kind since 1951. Though vitamin D doses were up, October’s changing weather conditions alternated between some of the warmest days on record – and some of the coldest.

Indian summer conditions at the beginning of the month led to a record high of 28.9 degrees, measured in Worms on October 2. In addition, up to four days of temperatures above 25 degrees were logged in multiple stations around the country.

A sharp drop in temperatures caused thermometers around the country to plummet below 10 degrees on October 7 and 8, with the first snowfall crowning northern Germany’s highest peak – the Brocken – on October 8. The coldest temperature for the month was recorded at -7.6 degrees in Oberstdorf on October 22.

The Local/emh

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Why sunny weather in Germany can switch off solar panels

The more the sun shines in the southern German town of Aurach, the more likely it is that Jens Husemann's solar panels will be disconnected from the grid -- an exasperating paradox at a time when Germany is navigating an energy supply crisis.

Why sunny weather in Germany can switch off solar panels

“It’s being switched off every day,” Husemann told AFP during a recent sunny spell, saying there had been more than 120 days of forced shutdowns so far this year.

Husemann, who runs an energy conversion business near Munich, also owns a sprawling solar power system on the flat roof of a transport company in Aurach, Bavaria.

The energy generated flows into power lines run by grid operator N-Ergie, which then distributes it on the network.

But in sunny weather, the power lines are becoming overloaded — leading the grid operator to cut off supply from the solar panels.

“It’s a betrayal of the population,” said Husemann, pointing to soaring electricity prices and a continued push to install more solar panels across Germany.

Europe’s biggest economy is eyeing an ambitious switch to renewables making up 80 percent of its electricity from 2030 in a bid to go carbon neutral.

N-ergie thermal power station

The thermal power station of energy supplier N-Ergie in Nuremberg, southern Germany. (Photo by Christof STACHE / AFP)

But Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has put a spanner in the works.

Moscow has cut gas supplies to Germany by 80 percent, in what is believed to be a bid to weaken the European powerhouse’s resolve in backing Ukraine.

READ ALSO: OPINION: How many massacres will it take for Germany to turn off Russian gas?

As a result, Berlin has been scrambling for alternative sources across the world to replace the shortfall.

This makes it all the more frustrating for Husemann, whose solar panels normally generate enough electricity for 50 households. With the repeated shutdowns, he suspects they will only supply half of their capacity by the end
of the year.

Grid bottlenecks

Grid operator N-Ergie, which is responsible for harvesting electricity from Husemann’s panels, admits the situation is less than ideal.

There were 257 days last year when it had to cut off supply from solar panels on parts of the grid.

“We are currently witnessing — and this is a good thing — an unprecedented boom in photovoltaic parks,” Rainer Kleedoerfer, head of N-Ergie’s development department, told AFP.

An employee of energy supplier N-ERGIE working at the company's network control centre in Nuremberg, southern Germany. 

An employee of energy supplier N-Ergie working at the company’s network control centre in Nuremberg, southern Germany.  (Photo by Christof STACHE / AFP)

But while it takes just a couple of years to commission a solar power plant, updating the necessary infrastructure takes between five and 10 years, he said.

“The number of interventions and the amount of curtailed energy have increased continuously in recent years” as a result, according to N-Ergie spokesman Michael Enderlein.

“The likelihood is that grid bottlenecks will actually increase in the coming years,” while resolving them will take several more years, Enderlein said.

According to Carsten Koenig, managing director of the German Solar Industry Association, the problem is not unique to solar power and also affects wind energy.

READ ALSO: Reader question – Should I modernise my heating system in Germany?

Solar bottlenecks tend to be regional and temporary, he said. “Occasionally, however, we hear that especially in rural areas in Bavaria, the shutdowns are more frequent.”

2.4 million households

Koenig agrees the problem is likely to get worse before it gets better.

“This will be especially true if political measures aimed at sufficiently expanding the power grid in Germany… drag on for too long,” he said.

Some 6.1 terawatt hours of electricity from renewables had to be curtailed in 2020, according to the most recent figures available.

With an average consumption of around 2,500 kilowatt hours per year in a two-person household, this would have been enough to power around 2.4 million households.

A spokesman for Germany’s Federal Network Agency said it did not share the belief that “it will not be possible to expand the network in line with demand in the coming years”.

Only some aspects of the expansion are seeing delays, the spokesman said — mainly due to slow approval procedures and a lack of specialist companies to do the work.

According to Husemann there have also been delays to the payments he is supposed to receive in return for the solar power he supplies — or cannot supply.

He said he is already owed around 35,000 euros ($35,600) for electricity produced so far this year that has never found its way into a socket.