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German Utilities Bail Out Electric Grid at Wind’s Mercy

Germany’s push toward renewable energy is causing so many drops and surges from wind and solar power that more utilities than ever are receiving money from the grids to help stabilize the country’s electricity network.

Twenty power companies including Germany’s biggest utilities, EON SE and RWE AG, now get fees for pledging to add or cut electricity within seconds to keep the power system stable, double the number in September, according to data from the nation’s four grid operators. Utilities that sign up to the 800 million-euro ($1.1 billion) balancing market can be paid as much as 400 times wholesale electricity prices, the data show.