Tag Archives: electricity prices

Germany generated that much renewable energy, they actually paid people to use it!

17 May

What a time to be alive – on Sunday 8th May 2016, Germany produced an incredible amount of renewable energy. For a few hours, the European nation went full ‘green’. Its power grid had surplus, and for a few hours residents actually earned money from using electricity, rather than paying for it. We were just as shocked as you!

The weather was so sunny and windy that at about 1pm in the day, the wind, hydro, solar and biomass plants in Germany generated 87% (55GW) of the entire amount of power (63GW) being consumed in the country. It’s an astonishing achievement and one that unfortunately the industry just was not expecting.

In 2015, Germany’s renewable energy mix was at 33% but Germany managed to use the sun, wind and rain to provide 87 per cent of an entire country’s energy requirements which is an incredible achievement. Usually, renewables just top up the main supply. Gas plants were actually shut down due to the green surge, but nuclear and coal plants couldn’t suspend activity fast enough. It meant the grid was overrun with power.

So Germany’s target of becoming 100% renewable by 2050 (which Denmark is currently hitting) seems not as ambitious as once thought. Germany will of course need to keep some of its nuclear and coal plants running due to the unpredictability of its renewable energy sources as they are dependent on the weather. In July last year, Denmark’s wind power was generating 140% of its demand, meaning energy could be sent over to Germany, Norway and Sweden.

At the moment there is a north/south split in the country, as wind turbines are located mostly in the north of Germany and solar power plants in the south. The authorities are also wanting to phase out nuclear power by 2022. With the country making exciting gains towards its goal, experts believe Germany to be a good role model for other developed countries.

It has been argued that the grid needs to become more flexible in order for the transition to renewable energy to be successful. Presently, renewable energy plants generating a lot of energy on sunny and blustery days have to push it into the grid, resulting in inefficiency and these negative prices. But with developed grid management and power storage technology, sudden spikes could be handled better and utilised in a more effective way.

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Farm goes green to tackle rising electricity prices!

4 Oct

A farmer in Iowa has decided to tackle growing electricity prices head on by going green. The Jensen’s of Exira have decided to invest in a rising trend tapping into the very same power that helps their crops develop. Alan and Maureen have been farming for decades and have developed 2,400 acres of corn and soybeans, as well as raising 9,000 pigs. At present their main concern is the increasing energy bills which will greatly impact their big operation.

Alan Jensen says, “We use a lot of electricity with all the livestock and the grain that we have to handle and we kept seeing the rates go up higher and higher, almost to the point where it`s unaffordable,”. The Jensen’s farm were receiving electricity bills that averaged at $1,000 per month and they quickly realised the figure would continue to rise.

“We started looking at different ways of making our own electricity and it`s good for the environment and it`s sustainable,” says Jensen. With this in mind Alan and Maureen decided to install solar power by implementing a nearly 36 Kilowatt solar array. After three months had passed the Jensen’s started to see benefits emerging.

The solar array was installed by Wind and Solar Specialists out of Alta, Iowa.  Rob Hach, the president of Wind and Solar Specialists had the following to say, “It will produce year round, even on a cloudy day like today it`s still producing electricity,”.

The average home in Iowa, USA used 900 Kilowatt hours per month according to the Energy Information Administration. At the time, the Jensen’s were using more than four times that at 4,200 Kilowatt hours. The newly implemented solar panels are producing an average 5,300 kilowatt hours per month. Any additional electrons are sent back to the grid and can be used by the farmers when needed.

Jensen also said, “We are building credits, because this Fall, all the corn drying fans will start blowing a lot of air. We`ll start using a lot of kilowatts and we`ll probably start working those credits we built up back down,” According to Hach many farmers are now turning to sustainable energy to secure the farms futures with the current energy prices rising too much.

The Jensen’s haven’t had to pay an electric bill for two months now and argued that solar was the way to go. “The cost of the power keeps going up and as the bills keep getting higher and higher” said Jensen.

All though the change has been positive for the Jensen family – the cost of installing a solar array can range from $20,000 to one million US dollars. Thus, the installation of such is a long-term investment.

The Jensen’s now own the largest privately owned solar array in Iowa and are very happy with the benefits.

 

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