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Too Much Green Energy A Problem For Germany?

With the ongoing depletion in the conventional sources of energy, all the countries in the world are taking steps to employ more and more green sources of energy. However, I never thought that these green power plants would one day generate so much to become a menace for the electrical engineers. Yes, this is the scenario of power sector in Germany. The total wind turbines installed in Germany has reached a huge number 21,500. But the thing to be noted is that out of these, more than 8000 turbines are located in the eastern region of the country. Rainer Brüderle (German economic minister) prompted recently that the reason for Germany to face frequent blackouts is that the country is producing too much of green energy.

[​IMG]Currently the power grids in Germany are managed and controlled by four different companies. The Bulgaria-Austria based company 50Hertz took up for the maintenance of the eastern power grid last year and is facing serious and more frequent problems of blackouts than others. From the year 2006, when the number of wind turbines was much less, the system was comparatively much more stable. But now the increasing number of wind turbines is increasing the instability of power grids because the energy production of these turbines changes from hour to hour due to change in wind currents and the system engineers have to take corrective measures every alternate day to keep the system stable.

The scenario worsens on the public holidays when most of the offices in eastern region are not working and the average power generated is three to four times than the demand. This surplus power generated stresses the transmission system heavily. The problem is that surplus power can not be stored for later use. The respective technologies have not yet been totally developed and employed. To add to this, the country is looking forward to Baltic 1 wind power project to start soon and other 13 new projects in few years in the eastern region only.
One way to prevent this is to transport the power to other areas. 50 Hertz is ready to transport as much as 11.7 (Giga watts, in addition to almost 6.5 Giga watts being sold to neighboring countries already) to the southern grid and Rhineland area but the facilities required for this are not yet available.

Now the German government’s policies are also responsible for the additional trouble to the engineers, I think. According to German Govt.’s policies on the use of non-conventional power resources, the non-conventional resources should be given a preference in use over the conventional ones. Due to this, in case when the generation is surplus, they can not take the wind farms off the grid but are forced to take off the coal and nuclear power plants. These plants are however the base load plants and are more reliable.

The German Govt. also has a project South-Western Cross-Border Transmission Capacity, which can play a key role in reducing the power problems in eastern grids by transfer of power to the southern region. This project is however delayed due to opposition produced by the citizen groups. While most of the countries in the world fall short in producing the needed amount of electric power, Germany is producing so much excess power that it is being bugged the other way round. Let us hope that the German Engineers find a solution to the power outrages in eastern grid and also the surplus power transport problems.
News Source: dw-world Image Credit: TonyBaldry

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