Is this really so? Novye Izvestia figured it out.
Yelena Ivanova, Berlin
The last week in Germany was snowy and cold. Minus twenty at night - the Germans have already lost the habit of frost. The average annual temperature in the 21st century is +9.5 degrees. Even in the coldest month - January - it does not drop below zero. In Berlin, the snow not only fell, but it has been lying for a week. There has not been such a snow cover for 10 years. In the absence of wind and sun, production of wind and solar energy has dropped.
Rubbing their hands together, Russian commentators cite unknown German professors, who, in turn, say that this winter the share of wind and solar energy is no more than 2-3 percent, which is practically zero. Even leaving aside the dubiousness of such sources, it is difficult to assume that Germany has lost half of the energy produced . After all, this was exactly the share of renewable energy in the country's energy balance in January 2020.
Indeed, on January 23, "clean" energy sources contributed only 20% to the overall balance, half of which are hydro and bioelectric power plants, SWR reports. However, a brutal blackout and freezing cities in Germany are unlikely to threaten. Analysts at the German Weather Service analyzed the weather over the past 20 years and calculated how often wind turbines and solar panels contributed less than 10% of the contribution to electricity generation.
If we take only wind farms in mainland Germany, then they fell out of electricity generation for 48 hours 23 times a year. If we add to them wind turbines on the coast or in the sea, then this number will be reduced to 13 times a year. Well, if we take into account solar panels, then such phases were observed twice a year.
What fans of catastrophic scenarios do not write about is the fact that all European countries are united into a single energy system. Extreme weather across the continent is even less likely to occur. Scientists say that this situation can occur no more than once every five years.
Even if in the European Union all electricity was produced using solar and wind, it would still be a matter of a few days over a period of several years.
Germany's coal-fired power plants, one of the world's largest air pollutants and carbon dioxide producers, now generate one in every five kilowatts of electricity. Therefore, it can be called a backup source of generation. Several groups of scientists are working on new alternatives under the watchful eye of the German parliament, the Bundestag.
There are several solutions to the problem of stable energy supply.
Reducing energy consumption has never been a big challenge before. Now calls to save electricity are heard not only in lean Germany, but also in other European countries. In northern Sweden on TV, they urge citizens not to turn on the vacuum cleaner unnecessarily. “Before you start vacuuming, think, on these cold days, electricity is not only the most expensive, but also the dirtiest”, - the Swedes learn from public service announcements on all television channels.
The harsh winter led to an increase in electricity tariffs by half, because despite the firm belief of Russian citizens that socialism in Sweden has not been canceled, the capitalist behavior of electricity sellers in the northern country has not been canceled: if supply remains constant and demand grows, prices go up. But even such electricity prices would not scare the Germans - their electricity is twice as expensive as the Swedes, even after the price increase.
However, Swedish entrepreneurs say they track tariffs on a daily basis. If the price goes up, they just stop production.
By 2040, the Swedes want to close all power plants that run on fuel oil and coal. Unlike Germany, their northern neighbors are not against nuclear power plants. 40% of the population agree with the construction of new nuclear power plants, and 30% do not mind leaving 6 existing ones.
The Germans are thinking about how to save electricity, especially at the peak of consumption. For example, it is suggested to turn off refrigerators in the early evening when everyone comes home from work, or not to charge electric cars during this time. The factories are already saving electricity, but private households think about it little. Electricity storage plays a big role in the new plans, be it lithium-ion batteries or technology for converting electricity into gas.
Gas power plants are considered environmentally neutral. The researchers propose using small power plants ranging from 45 to 90 gigawatts, which will run for several weeks a year, just when renewables are out. The rise in the cost of the total costs of the power system will be only 10%.
In the next 5-10 years, a sufficient number of old power plants are involved in the generation of electricity, so there is no threat of blackout in Germany, but the Germans are already thinking how to secure the power supply in the future.