The World's #1 Renewable Energy Network for News, Information, and Companies.

Renewables Helped France Avoid Freezing in the Dark

In a startling development widely reported across Europe in the English-, French-, and German-language press, France imported electricity to meet peak demand during a brutal cold snap February 7, 2012. And one of the countries France imported electricity from was Germany.

Post Fukushima, Germany closed two-fifths of its nuclear reactors and there were fears that Germany would not be able to meet its own demand let alone export electricity.

Nuclear reactors provided one-fourth of Germany's electricity before Fukushima.

Available French nuclear capacity was operating flat-out with three reactors off line. However, France's famed nuclear fleet delivered only 60 percent of the 100,000 MW of peak load experienced at 7:00 p.m. (19:00 hours) as millions of French homeowners switched on their electric heaters.

The remainder of demand was met by oil, coal, hydro, imports from neighboring countries, and renewables.

French wind turbines produced 3,600 MW at the time, or 3.6% of demand. There is 6,600 MW of wind capacity installed in France. Thus, wind delivered 55% of its installed capacity during peak demand, indicating good but not exceptional wind in parts of France.

The amount of wind generation during peak demand was roughly equivalent to the three nuclear reactors that were not available at the time.

France imported 1,800 MW or 1.8 percent of peak demand from Germany. (Note that the following table is subject to change as more information becomes available.)

Both French and German grid operators noted that there was never any danger of a blackout as operators held some hydroelectric capacity on standby as an emergency reserve.

German Supply during French Peak Demand

Meanwhile, Germany was enduring the same Arctic weather as France. The sun had set so Germany's solar photovoltaic capacity was not contributing to supply.

 

Winds were lighter in Germany than in France, but Germany's fleet of 29,000 MW of wind turbines was generating 6,300 MW at the time for about 22 percent of their potential.

Nevertheless, German wind turbines were providing 9 percent of total German demand, more than enough for Germany to export electricity to France.

Earlier in the day, wind and solar in Germany met nearly 12 percent of German demand.

It is likely that German biogas and biomass plants also contributed significantly to supply. However, the public data source, EEX Transparency Platform, does not report biogas and biomass separately from conventional generation.

RELATED ARTICLES

Rooftop Solar Panels

Hypocrisy? While Buffett Champions Renewables, His Company Fights Rooftop Solar

Mark Chediak, Noah Buhayar and Margaret Newkirk, Bloomberg Warren Buffett highlights how his Berkshire Hathaway Inc. utilities make massive investments in renewable energy. Meanwhile, in Nevada, the company is fighting a plan that would encourage more residents to use green power.
Renewable Energy Finance

Clean Energy ETFs Are on a Tear

Eric Balchunas, Bloomberg Green investing used to be synonymous with losing money. But while the S&P 500 Index is up 2 percent this year, and the MSCI All-Country World Index is up 5 percent, clean energy ETFs have double-digit re...

Wheels, Towers and Trees: Unconventional Renewable Energy Technologies in the Pipeline

Andrew Williams, International Correspondent A number of companies around the world are developing novel technologies in an effort to grab a slice of the global renewable energy market.  Although many of these technologies are simple incremental improvements to e...
UK Parliament Clean Energy Leaders

UK Government Names Clean Energy Cabinet Members

David Appleyard, Contributing Editor With the UK general election now over and a majority Conservative Party government in place, the re-elected Prime Minister David Cameron has now named key members of the government charged with steering the UK’s clean energ...
Paul Gipe has written extensively about renewable energy for both the popular and trade press. He has also lectured widely on wind energy and how to minimize its impact on the environment and the communities of which it is a part. For his efforts,...

CURRENT MAGAZINE ISSUE

03/01/2015
Volume 18, Issue 3
file

STAY CONNECTED

To register for our free
e-Newsletters, subscribe today:

SOCIAL ACTIVITY

Tweet the Editors! @megcichon @jennrunyon

FEATURED PARTNERS



EVENTS

Doing Business in Brazil – in partnership with GWEC, the Global Win...

Brazil is one of the most promising markets for wind energy.  Ranke...

Energy Storage USA 2015

Energy Storage USA is the leading conference in the United States focuse...

Wind Power Central America

Wind power projects are expected to reach 46GW of total installed capaci...

COMPANY BLOGS

SunEdison Expands Residential Market Offerings with New PPA, Sales ...

SunEdison has largely focussed on the commercial and utility-scale solar...

Deadline for Inclusion in Solar Power World's Top Solar Contractors...

UPDATE: The official deadline for the Solar Power World T...

Are You Ready for a Natural Disaster?

Guest post by Jenna Clarke  Living in the Shenandoah Valley of Virg...

NEWSLETTERS

Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now  

 

FEATURED PARTNERS