• Germany's news in English

Revamp set for renewable power plants to prevent shut-downs

The Local · 5 Nov 2011, 10:28

Published: 05 Nov 2011 10:28 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Citing documents from the economy ministry, the news magazine said the government was currently holding consultations on the shutdown issue, which could result in an across-the-board blackout.

Major frequency fluctuations in the power grid can overburden older renewable power plants, causing them to switch off. At risk are facilities whose combined energy output totals more than 20 gigawatts, or the capacity of about 20 mid-sized nuclear power plants.

About half of these plants go offline automatically when frequencies in the grid rise above 50.5 hertz or fall below 49.5 hertz. The rest can withstand a range of 49 to 51 hertz.

Though extreme frequencies of 50.5 or 51 hertz are extremely rare, the sub-working group in the German economy ministry says preparations are still needed, according to Spiegel.

If renewable plants, which now account for over one-fifth of the German power supply in some months, were to simultaneously go offline, disruptions to factory production alone would cost billions of euros.

The energy flowing into the grid could drop by several gigawatts. Meanwhile, Europe's network is only equipped to handle outages of three gigawatts.

Whereas nuclear plants provide a stabilising role for power grids, frequency fluctuations have increased as Germany starts phasing out nuclear energy.

The cost of a similar project, which will steel 315,000 solar power systems against variations, has been estimated at between €65 million and €175 million.

Story continues below…

Ultimately, consumers will have to shoulder the bill for modernisation work on wind power, hydropower and biogas facilities – though there are no estimates yet on how much those upgrades might cost.

The Local/arp

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

17:12 November 5, 2011 by Englishted
The fallout from giving up on nuclear keeps coming and the costs keep raising .
Today's headlines
These are Germany's top ten universities
The new library of Freiburg University. Photo: Jörgens.mi / Wikimedia Commons

These are the best universities in all of Germany - at least according to one ranking.

Introducing Swabians - 'the Scots of Germany'
Photo: DPA

These Southern Germans have quite a reputation in the rest of the country.

Woman sues dentist over job rejection for headscarf
Photo: DPA

A dentist in Stuttgart is being taken to court by a woman whom he rejected for a job as his assistant on the basis that she wears a Muslim headscarf.

Isis suspect charged with scouting Berlin attack sites
Photo: DPA

German federal prosecutors said Thursday they had brought charges against a 19-year-old Syrian man accused of having scouted targets in Berlin for a potential attack by the Isis terror group.

Berlin Holocaust memorial could not be built now: creator
The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, in Berlin. Photo: DPA.

The architect of the Berlin Holocaust memorial has said that, if he tried to build the monument again today, it would not be possible due to rising xenophobia and anti-Semitism in Germany and the United States.

'Liberal' Germany stopping Europe's 'slide into barbarism'
Ian Kershaw. Photo: DPA

Europe is not slipping into the same dark tunnel of hate and nationalism that it did in the 1930s - mainly thanks to Germany - one of the continent's leading historians has said.

Eurowings strike to hit 40,000 passengers
Travelers impacted by the strike on Thursday wait at Cologne Bonn airport. Photo: DPA.

The day-long strike by a Eurowings cabin crew union is expected to impact some 40,000 passengers on Thursday as hundreds of flights have been cancelled.

Deutsche Bank reports surprise quarter billion profit
Photo: DPA

Troubled German lender Deutsche Bank reported Thursday a surprise €256-million profit in the third quarter, compared with a loss of more than six billion in the same period last year.

US 'warned Merkel' against Chinese takeover of tech firm
Aixtron HQ. Photo: DPA

The German government withdrew its approval for a Chinese firm to purchase Aixtron, which makes semiconductor equipment, after the US secret services raised security concerns, a German media report said Wednesday.

Long-vanished German car brand joins electric race
Photo: DPA

Cars bearing the stamp of once-defunct manufacturer Borgward will once again roll off an assembly line in north Germany from 2018, the firm said Wednesday.

10 German clichés that foreigners get very wrong
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
10 ways German completely messes up your English
Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd