Seems to me, Spain probably provides a better illustration of the issues with ill-conceived deployment of renewable energy.
As for Germany, since the presumed basis for Energiewende was to reduce CO2, the most significant question: Has it? Apparently not, particularly in light of the building of more coal plants.
In my opinion, the fundamental flaw in the entire ongoing German experiment was not fully understanding economic ramifications of deploying immature technologies not particularly suited for the region where they live. Northern Europe just doesn't have much useful sunlight, unlike other regions, such as the US Southwest.
Bottom line in my view: a hell of a lot of money got wasted with not much bang-for-the-buck (or Euro, in this case).
Well, I suppose if you don't mind crushing the middle class with exorbitant energy costs, this is all very delightful.
So if the big, rotten utility goes away, how do the folks get power at night (or folks who cannot afford solar panels)? As usual, the "green energy" lobby wants to line their pockets at the expense of everyone else.
Seems to me, the market could solve the problem. If you want to stuff power into the grid when it's not needed, then you pay money in (or store the energy yourself). "Not needed" means you are stuffing in more power than the distribution lines near you can reasonably handle.
When supplying power to support the grid, you get the average variable cost of power associated with the utility's generating assets. The utility's fixed costs are distributed to all users in direct proportion to the amount of energy they use. The distribution of fixed costs is periodically trued-up.
The "green energy" religion has duped the self-serving politicians into backing the building of wind turbines when there was never a need for new power plants.
With the shift towards more market based electrical generation, that means the near term price of power will tend to be pushed down (exactly what is occurring). Unfortunately, the other market based mechanism for price control is being completely short circuited by the forced (mandated) use of a heavily subsidized asset.
Normally the market does not value unreliably power very highly. Further, if you attempt to force unneeded power into the grid, the price you get for the power can go negative, as Exelon is experiencing.
If the market was left to its own devices, I would not have much sympathy for Exelon. However, in this case, the governments heavy handed and dim-witted manipulation of power markets will inevitably create huge price increases and potentially erratic power for the consumer. That will occur as reliable assets are withdrawn from the market, with inferior and unreliable producers having to be backed up by new production (generally gas turbines) that themselves only operate occasionally. That inevitable leads to higher power prices within a few years.
The solution to this building mess is quite obvious. Renewable energy only gets the market price of power. No subsidies. No mandates.
Have to give Geoff several Pinocchios.
Coal plants can and do maneuver in response to load changes required by the grid - it is pretty routine. Both fuel (coal) feed and air flow thru the boiler can be changed. Nuclear plants have very limited maneuvering capabilities because the flow of water thru the core cannot be changed very much (fixed speed pumps).
Combustion turbines (which includes peaking units) have multiple stages. The efficiency of newer machines is heading over 40%. Combined-cycle plants (~55% efficient) can and do maneuver down to about 60% power with no major loss in efficiency.
Batteries needed to cover the periodic loss of renewable energy would be stupefying expensive - the technology to economically cover the loss has not emerged.
Solar and wind plants can (and do) have negative pricing if you attempt to put power into a grid that does not need it. With a production tax credit, it can make sense to take a "loss" which the US taxpayer is forced to cover, while making money from the remainder of the production tax credit. As I said earlier,renewable energy needs to stop filching money from the taxpayer and consumer's wallets.
I've run and managed all the power plant types you mentioned. The machines can and do change power levels. However, ramping the machines up and down has to be done within set rates. Further, times between overhauls are shortened if power level changes are excessive.
Wind turbines and solar plants are not immune to issues caused by the forced reduction in output, although the problem is more financial in nature. They bring in less money if forced to curtail operations. That means fixed costs (e.g. debt repayment) must be distributed over fewer megawatt hours of generation. That drives up their costs which are already well above typical market prices. Leads us directly to the fact that "renewable energy" plants are parasites run by "welfare queens"
If we're going to play your silly little "total cost" game, then you need to include the cost of the benefits of actually having power produced by nuclear and fossil plants. That is an extremely large number.
Fact of the matter is , renewable energy receives a direct subsidy of over $20/MWh of production. Nobody else gets that. Parasite is a pretty good description.
Renewable energy needs to stop crying like spoiled little brats and grow-up. Compete and win by improving the economics of your product.
Actually, the plants were Independent Power Producers. If the units were not profitable, we're out of business.
You characters are clearly "green energy" religious fanatics incapable of engaging in rational discussions.
You guys are really good at demonstrating my point. Silence the blasphemers! The evil "rich" need to pay! How about we throw in the Koch brothers into the discussion as well?
So how's the "green" Kool Aid! You lads have really gone over the edge.
You lads are mistaken. I am not defending nuclear power. I am stating that the competitive market place should fundamentally set power prices. Nobody should be given exclusive assistance not available to others.
That means if somebody gets some form of help (e.g. accelerated depreciation) then everybody else gets the same advantage.
As to the Union of Concerned Scientists report, in their current form, new nuclear power plants are not particularly competitive. Make them more competitive or don't build new ones. Ditto for renewable energy.