OVERBURDENED INFRASTRUCTURE

Wind Power Glut

wind mill airial shot reuters
Greening Germany via wind energy.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    The German government wants renewable energy to cover 60 percent of the country’s power needs by 2050 but questions persist about whether its infrastructure can cope.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • Already, solar, wind and hydroelectric power amount to around one third of all German electricity.
    • Every day, network authorities step in to protect the fragile system from heavy fluctuations in solar- and wind-based power.
    • Enercon, which is among the world’s largest wind energy companies, is working on battery technology, which will allow wind power to be stored and then later released into the network
  • Audio

    Audio

  • Pdf

The sound of the wind is music to the ears of Hermann Albers. In fact, he only gets uneasy when a silence suggests something is wrong with his farm’s five 140-meter windmills.

Mr. Albers, the president of the German Wind Energy Association, known by its German acronym BWE, lives in Friesland, a region in the far north of Germany with more wind—and more windmills—than any other part of the country. But even there, more and more windmills are being temporarily shut down, even on the breeziest of days.

Mr. Albers has been affected, too. “My own turbines have been hit with output limitations,” he told Handelsblatt.

The shutdown has nothing to do with the wind in itself. The problem lies with Germany’s creaking power network infrastructure: There simply are not enough power lines to carry all the green energy from the windy north to the rest of the country.

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