German showing the way to the green transition – UPDATED

At the bottom of the post is some commentary on the way hydro and also some kinds of gas  rapidly responded to compensate for short-term falls in the wind and brown coal yesterday (Sunday 24).

Prolonged wind drought and freezing cold drives German power supply to the brink.  Read all about it!

Soviet shortages led to the gag about “what has 100 legs and eats cabbage?” 50 Muscovites lining up to buy sausage.

Wind and solar obsessed Germans must feel a little like the USSR’s (unwilling) vegetarians at the moment.

Their endless seas of solar panels are plastered thick with snow and ice and, accordingly, producing two fifths, of five eighths of very little.

And their 30,000 wind turbines have downed tools, too. With bitterly cold, dead calm conditions across the country, wind power output has been reduced to an occasional trickle.

Power rationing is the only thing that’s preventing a total collapse of Germany’s grid; during the first week of January the country narrowly avoided widespread blackouts following the total collapse in wind and solar output.

But, if you relegate engineers to the status of well-meaning idiots, and supplant them with green ideologues with gender studies degrees, get ready for chaos. Which is precisely where ‘green’ energy obsessed Germany now finds itself.

A short video, made in Australia. 3874 viewsThe German Trifecta of Failure.     

Check out our supply of RE at present.

At 6pm NSW time the wind is delivering 4% of the power supply with the mills turning over at 15% of capacity. The sun is fading fast and the coal clunkers are delivering 70% of the power approaching 90% of capacity.

This is the live display, so check the time.

There will be trouble at sunset without conventional power. Order  your generator now.

To see the supply and demand through the day,  see this display at the Aneroid site.

Around five on Sunday afternoon the demand was almost 34GW, not far off the 36GW registered on19 Jan 2019 when there were blackouts in Victoria. It was adjusted downward later, probably by recalculating the estimate for rooftop solar.

At the peak conventional power contributed over 80% and the wind added less than 4%. You can tick and untick the boxes under the live display to see the contribution of the different sources. There were interesting blips in the hydro contribution at 12 and 17.

Just before noon the wind supply dropped steeply for half an hour and then recovered in the next half hour. That is the bane of the life of the grid controller and Tony from Oz has made an important study of these events that are more common than people generally realise. The hydro supply adjusted to compensate. Approaching 17 (5pm Queensland time)  there is another spike in hydro to compensate for a dip in the brown coal supply.

The rise in hydro was much larger than the fall in brown coal for reasons unknown to me. Ignore the cursor and the lines attached to it, I should have left it out or located it at the point of interest. There was another matching rise and fall of wind and brown coal between 7 and 8 in the morning.

Various forms of gas were ramping up and down rapidly at times, some of them are minor players but they make a difference at the peak. Too much to explain without a lot of ticking and unticking of boxes:)

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27 Responses to German showing the way to the green transition – UPDATED

  1. Roger says:

    Power rationing is the only thing that’s preventing a total collapse of Germany’s grid…

    Now, now Rafe…we don’t talk about power rationing anymore.

    The preferred term is “demand management.”

  2. stackja says:

    1948 West Berlin needed to manage demand. West Allies flew in coal.

  3. Professor Fred Lenin says:

    The Germans had powerrtioning under the Third Reich seems theFourth Treich socialists bring power shortages as a matter iof course perhaps its be ause they havid bever worked in their miserable lives .

  4. Siltstone says:

    But I don’t want to buy a Chinese home back-up generator.
    What about Genelite, a “Leading Independent Manufacturer and Supplier of Generators and Power Products in Australia”?

  5. rickw says:

    Electricity like it’s winter 1945!!

  6. Bruce of Newcastle says:

    Germans like to commit national suicide from time to time.
    It’s fun that Europe seems beset by large amounts of strange white stuff at the moment.
    Children won’t know what it is.

    BBC Weather: Heavy snow to blanket UK within hours amid -10C Arctic temperature freeze (24 Jan)

  7. John A says:

    Even WD-40 and Duct Tape can’t fix this kind of stupid.

    Mainly because engineers (who can read flowcharts) are no longer in charge, and neither are they respected.

  8. Megan says:

    That photo of Dame Merkel needs to come with a warning. She looks like Gerry Gee’s ancient, and notoriously bad tempered, aunt.

  9. Rex Mango says:

    Rafe, never give up on this stuff:

  10. Colonel Crispin Berka says:

    Two can play the spin game

    This week, NASA revealed that 2020 tied with 2016 as the hottest year on record.
    The announcement, part of an annual release of global temperature data by NASA and NOAA (the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), revealed that our planet just keeps getting hotter

    Hang on, putting on my orange goggles, that really means
    1) The plant stopped getting hotter because the temperatures of 2016 and 2020 were tied, and
    2) Four years of Trumpism policies did not heat the planet.
    It’s official. Equality is inequality. At NASA.

  11. maree says:

    Rex Mango, thanks for that. The Southern Hemisphere looks good in comparison. I never did like our time working in Europe, too much toxic history. Home in Oz is pretty darn good for us and our family, youngest girl celebrating her birthday with all of our family today and mine and my niece after Australia Day.

    Now, may I have an Australia Day rant about types attempting to steal the dawn service for political purposes?

    The Dawn Service is an exclusive Anzac Day recognition, it has nothing to do with indigenous politics. Leave the Dawn Service to veterans like my husband and our families and communities to observe on April 25, and take your filthy politics elsewhere. Preferably to NAIDOC week or some such.

  12. Herodotus says:


  13. Crossie says:

    #3735644, posted on January 24, 2021 at 7:01 pm
    1948 West Berlin needed to manage demand. West Allies flew in coal.

    Ironic that today Germany will be saved by Russian gas.

  14. Rafe Champion says:


  15. Nighthawk the Elder says:

    Colonel Crispin Berka
    #3735859, posted on January 25, 2021 at 2:42 am

    Re NASA’s claim that 2020 was the hottest on record. 2020. The year of the great global shutdown that saw millions of factories, commercial and retail buildings shut down and put into hibernation. The year that saw literally hundreds of millions of cars, trucks, buses, trains, planes and boats of all sizes, parked up. The year where huge clouds of pollution that hung over many of the world’s filthiest cities virtually disappear. The year that no-one went anywhere and everyone stayed home.

    I don’t know what the figures look like but surely the CO2 and other evil greenhouse gas emissions must have been slashed over 2020. Did NASA just demonstrate that CO2 was not the cause of climate change? Could it be due to other causes, oh, say solar activity, aerosols, El Nino/La Nina etc. etc.? And I’m not going to buy into the lag argument either. The reduction in emissions was quick, the temperature would have at least stabilised and should be going down.

  16. Eyrie says:

    The planet has apparently heated because of “adjustments” and changes to data collection. Fake news.

  17. Mark M says:

    Hottest year. Ever.

    Further undeniable proof that no amount of ‘renewable’ sunbeam & seabreeze collectors prevents carbon (sic) induced doomsday global warming.

  18. RobK says:

    The preferred term is “demand management.”
    That’s because they can’t manage supply. Simples.

  19. Colonel Crispin Berka says:

    Nighthawk the Elder

    I don’t know what the figures look like but surely

    No, the actual numbers are important, qualitative handwaving does not give actionable info.

    I also don’t know what the year-on-year fossil emissions differences are for 2020 and (if the BP Statistical Review is any guide) we probably won’t know until July 2021 what the emissions for 2020 were.
    But remember it’s not actually the man-made emissions which directly create climate impact, it’s the actual amount of CO2 in the air that makes the climate impact.
    We do already know that the combination of all carbon-bearing processes, both natural and man-made, has had the observed end result of making the atmospheric CO2 increase during 2020 less than 2019 but more than 2018 and 2017. Nothing significant.
    Over the short term such as a couple of years the weather (temperature and rainfall) has more effect on annual CO2 increase than industry does, the man-made component does not become dominant until you look at 30 years or more. Closing the loop, so many factors besides CO2 affect the temperature that you would never see a temperature effect from just a 20% or 30% reduction of a single year, too much noise.
    It’s such a mess of mechanisms that hoping to see any temperature effect the same year of this pandemic emissions experiment is hoping for too much. The reduction in soot, fine particulate emission, and muddying of waters has been the most obvious impact of reduced traffic.

  20. Ubique says:

    These gas powered babies should soon be selling like hot cakes.

  21. Iain Russell says:

    BoN, that white stuff?? Nooo, cannot be. The science. The experts. I find it disappointing that the BBC et al report snow, ice and rain in defiance of the ‘science’.

  22. TonyfromOz says:

    This was a really interesting day. Weekend days ALWAYS have lower power consumption than week days. This Sunday however there was a heat wave in place in Southern States, and power consumption spiked by what can only be called a huge amount, and thank heavens this was on the Sunday, and today Monday, it shows signs of being a larger than usual day for power consumption.
    Yesterday, Sunday 24Jan had consumption that was more than 20% higher than the previous Sunday. (621GWH compared to 516GWH)
    That first blip downward you see there is the sudden loss of wind generation virtually all of it in South Australian wind plants and that loss was 800MW.
    The second loss was mainly in the black coal fired plants and this was not the loss of a Unit, but the winding back of a number of coal fired units which wound back a little each (spread across a dozen Units, so around 80MW per Unit, not all that noticeable unless in this case all at once) and that totalled out at around 1000MW. This was immediately covered by hydro power, which took up nearly all of that inside of five to ten minutes, and in fact, starting up a little prior to the loss of coal fired power.
    This immediate reaction from hydro comes into play giving time for the other fast starting units of natural gas to fire up, and once they are on line hydro can wind back while those NG Units take over, As it was it was only for a short time, as those coal fired Units wound back up almost straight away.
    Now contrary to what the media commentators might say, coal fired power ramps up and down on a daily basis by around 5000MW to 6000MW, day in day out, every day of the year.
    There are currently five Units off line across the three States, (NSW 2 and Qld 3) and at the evening peak at around 6PM to 6.30PM coal fired power was delivering 19172MW. Taking into account those Units off line, coal fired power was operating at a Capacity Factor of 91% at that time.
    It is even more interesting in Victoria. There are ten Units in Victoria and all ten Units are operational, pretty much normal for Summer. The total Nameplate for those ten Units is 4690MW and at that evening peak they were delivering 1760MW, so operting at a CF of 104%. Unlike the two black coal States, these Victorian Units do not ramp up and down during the day. Victoria is so critical that they operate at a straight line power delivery across the day, umm, day in day out, whilst ever they are on line.
    Queensland has three Units off line (Gladstone 2 and Stanwell 1) and consistently throughout the day, Qld was delivering 1200MW + into NSW. Such was the case that at the evening peak, coal fired power was generating 96% of all generated power, and across the whole day, Coal fired power generated 91% of all generated power in the State, so their 50% renewables by well, whenever, as it won’t happen, is in serious doubt, but as the Inquiry found, and stated in their final report, that power transferred into NSW does not count on the Qld total for emissions or renewable percentages, as that power is consumed in NSW, and the Inquiry Panel member I asked actually said that with a straight face.

  23. TonyfromOz says:

    Incidentally, want to see a ‘fun fact’?
    The total Nameplate for wind generation in Australia is currently 8132MW.
    The total Nameplate for (just) coal fired power in Queensland is 8149MW.
    So, umm, the Nameplate is almost exactly the same.
    So, we have wind power edging ever so close now to delivering 10% of ALL Australia’s generated power. It’s at 9.8%, and forgive me, but I can see the headlines now when it reaches that mark of 10%, the ABC slapping backs and smirking from ear to ear as wind power ….. takes over from coal.
    So, the Nameplate is the same as coal fired power JUST for Queensland.
    When it comes to actual power delivered however, that Wind Nameplate delivers a whoppingly humungous and magnificent 19855GWH, and that’s the 9.8% of all Australia’s generated power, at a Capacity Factor of 29.4% long term.
    The same Nameplate for Queensland coal fired power delivers a tiny, and soon to be shut down, umm, 51323GWH, 2.5 times (TWO point FIVE) higher than the wind total, and 25% of all Australia’s generated power.
    Shh! Don’t tell anyone!
    (or, as Sir Rodney used to say ….. “Lips don’t purse!”)

  24. RobK says:

    Good work by Rafe, Alan and Tony.
    If I may add to Tony’s point:
    Transmission infrastructure has to be built to maximum load (plus safety factor). If you build more RE capacity you need heavier, as well as more transmission lines and associated switching gear and instrumentation. These are big capital outlays; we’re talking perhaps a 10 fold increase in maximum load. They will become increasingly complex yet only utilised sporadically. In practice, no matter how much you spend on RE and transmission ( and associated H2 equipment) , curtailment of RE is increasingly inevitable; radical supply management is the corollary of demand management. We will end up over building generating and transmission capacity but have decreased utility. Costs can only go up. The bit about cheap RE is a furphy.

  25. Rafe Champion says:

    I think Tony is the premier power watcher in the nation and one thing I want to emerge from our “icebergs” project is more recognition of his leading contribution over many years.

    Paul McAdle at Watt Clarity goes into incredible detail on the entrails of the system but he is too locked into the RE program to step back and just say it is not going to work, although he virtually did that last year when he admitted that the minimum return from the wind fleet will always be 1 or 2% of plated capacity so it all comes down to battery storage in the end (hollow laughter).

  26. Squirrel says:

    The Germans are reportedly leading the push for the EU (and the US under Biden) to make nice with the CCP so that Germany can sell more stuff to the Chinese – Germany’s idiot energy policy may help to solve that problem….

  27. Tonyfromoz:

    Weekend days ALWAYS have lower power consumption than week days. This Sunday however there was a heat wave in place in Southern States, and power consumption spiked by what can only be called a huge amount, and thank heavens this was on the Sunday, and today Monday, it shows signs of being a larger than usual day for power consumption.

    Forget it Tony.
    We’ve been beating this drum for twenty odd years now, and no one except the faithful are listening.
    The only way we will get their attention is by having a system crash.
    Having it now, when there is still enough excess capacity to allow the grid to be restarted, and before the cascade through the system can wreck enough of the hard to replace equipment. If that happens then some of our major cities are going to be in a lot of trouble within three days as everyone’s freezers – including the big conglomerates – go tits up.
    It will be the biggest pong in Australian history.
    And the sustainable electric vehicles?
    “No, Miss Jones. You cannot recharge your planet saving automobile.”

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