19 October 2011
Ramping up renewables, Germany remains a net electricity exporter.
Renewable energy advocates are keeping a close eye on the power situation in Germany, which, following the Fukushima disaster, made a bold commitment to eliminate nuclear reactor generation by 2022.
“(T)hough the bureau of statistics notes that the margin of exports over imports has decreased from 2010, Germany sold 4 TWh more electricity than it bought during the period (first half of 2011)…Germany is expected to add 7,000 MW of wind and solar generating capacity in 2013, exceeding the installations projected for 2012. This massive expansion of renewable energy generating capacity is affecting the futures market for fossil-fuel fired generation.”
This summer, Germany decided to take seven nuclear power plants, which had been shut down for maintenance, off line for good. Skeptics, for example, here, here, and here, expressed doubts about the plan and Germany’s ability to make up for the loss of atomic power generation. So far so good, and a massive infusion of renewable energy is in the works.
A key provision of the Renewable Energy Act is the feed-in tariff, which is essentially a long-term payment contract, often 20 years, that provides the renewable energy producer the certainty of stable payments at a reasonable profit.
The city of Gainesville, Florida, which has a municipal-owned utility, has successfully enacted solar feed-in-tariffs in 2009 and serves as a model for the rest of the nation.
Photo Source Rolf Disch Solar Architecture