German Power Supply Is Becoming Less Secure, Grid Regulator Says

Germany’s power market is showing signs of declining security of supply, according to Jochen Homann, the president of grid regulator Bundesnetzagentur.

The nation’s four grid operators, especially Tennet TSO GmbH and 50Hertz Transmission GmbH, needed to intervene to stabilize the grids during 7,200 hours last year, compared with 1,800 hours in 2010, Homann said today at an energy conference in Munich. The interventions are a result of renewable generation capacity putting a strain on grids, he said.

Germany boosted its share of power supply from renewable energy sources such as wind and solar to 23 percent last year from 17 percent in 2010 as Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government seeks to shut all nuclear reactors by 2022. Renewable energy’s reliance on fickle wind and sunshine has has led to more intermittent power flows in the grid that operators need to regulate to prevent outages.

“There are alarming signs that point to a decline of security of supply, such as a higher number of interventions into the grids by operators, the use of winter reserve plants and the reduction of renewable output on some days,” Homann said. “A blackout in Germany is not imminent. Neither is a brownout, where single users of power are taken offline selectively.”

Germany needs to expand its power grids and needs to change its renewable energy law to boost security of supply, Homann said. The law grants uncapped subsidies for operators of renewable projects.

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