BERLIN — Record output from wind farms lifted Germany’s share of renewable electricity production above its 2020 target of 35 percent today as a storm from Scandinavia battered the nation’s northern coast.
A low pressure system dubbed Xaver, with hurricane-force winds of more than 140 kilometers (87 miles) an hour, hit the northern coastline of Germany today, according to the country’s weather service. Electricity produced by sun and wind supplied 27.2 gigawatts, or 36 percent, of Germany’s power at 1 p.m. Berlin time, according to the European Energy Exchange AG.
Germany is already Europe’s biggest producer of electricity from wind and sun and its newly formed coalition government agreed last month to get as much as 45 percent of electricity from renewables by 2025. The share of power from wind and solar rose to 49 percent on Nov. 9, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The average share of renewables in Germany across the whole of last year was 22 percent.
“Germany might already be meeting its 2020 target for some hours, but it would need a lot more installed capacity to average 35 percent over a year,” Gary Keane, principal consultant at Poeyry Oyj, an adviser to governments and utilities, said by phone from Oxford, England.
Wind output in Germany hit a record of 25.2 gigawatts at 1:45 p.m. and will account for 39 percent of supply at 11 p.m., according to EEX data.
The strength of the storm forced turbines to shut down in some parts of Germany. The 48-megawatt Baltic 1 offshore wind farm operated by Karlsruhe-based EnBW Energie Baden-Wuerttemberg AG automatically halted operations at 1 p.m. when winds became too strong, Friederike Eckstein, a spokeswoman, said by phone.
“Wind turbines can start to cut out when wind goes above 60 miles an hour, so with a storm there is an increased risk of that happening,” said Keane.
German power for tomorrow declined 10.3 percent to 30.79 euros ($42.05) a megawatt hour on the Epex Spot exchange in Paris at 5:22 p.m. That’s 38.63 euros lower than the same contract in neighboring France which settled at 69.42 euros a megawatt hour, the data show.
Wind and solar power are given priority access to the grid in Germany, meaning peaks in production can force coal and gas- fed plants to reduce their output. The proportion of power produced from conventional plants is expected to fall to 61 percent at 11 p.m., compared with 79 percent at 7 a.m. today, according to EEX data.
“The storm will also bring heavy gusts of wind to the Netherlands, Denmark and Poland until tomorrow afternoon,” Andreas Gassner, meteorologist at MMInternational, said by e-mail from Appenzell, Switzerland. “Denmark and Poland could see as much as 15 gigawatts of wind until early on Monday.”
Copyright 2013 Bloomberg
Lead image: Wind turbines via Shutterstock