On Sunday, May 8, the sun was shining bright on most of the German territory, and the wind was strong as well. Due to the weather conditions, total capacity of PV installations in use in the country reached 26.11 GW. At the same time, the capacity of wind power plants reached 20.83 GW. At 11 AM on Sunday, biomass power plants added another 5.14 GW, just as hydropower generation reached the total of about 2.75 GW. At this very moment, energy consumption in Germany totaled almost 57.8 GW. Meaning that about 95% of the country’s energy demand could be covered by renewable energy sources.
Last years German energy records were in the 70-80% range. In the fall of 2015, Denmark generated 140% of its electricity demand with wind power. January of this year, the Hawaiian island Kauai Island saw four consecutive days where solar power alone met more than 90% of electricity demand for time periods between 5 and 61 minutes.
With price falling falling to such levels as $.0299/kWh for solar power, we should expect to see events like this happening more and more. Evidence can be found in states like Hawaii, that has made it law to be 100% renewable by 2045 and California has set their law to hit 50% by 2030. The results of these programs has led toward developments like the first quarter of 2016 in the United States seeing renewable energy dominate new capacity by a factor of 70:1. This compliments the whole of 2015, where renewables were 60% of new capacity in the United States.
Soon, we will have to worry about these issues and managing the power grid. The Department of Energy recently funded 12 projects that will help the whole of the United States get to 50% of renewables on the power grid. SolarCity and TeslaEnergy are building battery/solar power hybrid stations in Connecticut and Hawaii to make it so we can absorb excess solar energy in the daytime and use it at night.
For now now though, let’s continue to enjoy these sunny and breezy days.