UK analysis says German wind chief’s assertion doesn’t stand up

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Comments made by the German Wind Power Association’s president Hermann Albers with regard to wind’s ability to compensate for the closure of conventional and nuclear power plants have been called into question by an independent energy sector data analysis consultancy.

Mr Albers maintains that decentralised onshore wind power capacity in Europe will be able to fill the gap left by the shutdown of old nuclear and fossil fuel power plants.
Hermann Albers
However Paul Verrill, director of energy sector data analysts Enappsys, queried how this could be possible telling Power Engineering International that the German wind chief’s comments ‘didn’t seem credible.’

“Wind and solar generation alone cannot reliably meet a country’s power requirements 24/7. Onshore wind resources are not as consistent or at the level of offshore wind, so the specific assertion of nuclear being displaced by decentralised wind does not seem credible. Grid stability also requires a degree of 'inertia' in the system which is currently provided by large mass turbine generators which are a feature of large fossil fuelled or nuclear plants. Wind turbines are yet to provide meaningful frequency response to manage grid stability.”

“We would agree that nuclear is not the only low/ zero carbon option to supplement wind, solar and tidal technologies. Grid scale energy storage can even out supply and demand variations caused by renewable generation and changing patterns of energy use, whilst carbon capture conventional plants can provide baseload. Both these technologies can also provide system inertia and frequency response at possibly a lower life time cost and risk than nuclear.”

Verrill added that the UK government would have been better advised to run a competition to see which technologies could best fit all its requirements into the future at the lowest overall cost.

In an email response to Power Engineering International requesting the information to back up Albers’ contention, Lars Velser of the German Wind Energy Association appeared to confine the data to Germany, rather than Europe as a whole, listing eight nuclear power plants scheduled to be shut down in that country, over the next seven years.

He added, “Wind energy will replace that amount of energy. The Ministry of Economics and Energy published their expectations (“Market analysis”) online.” (*see figure no. 8, page 7).

“Every year Germany's net installations will be around 2500 MW (dark blue). Additionally the replacement of old turbines has to be added. If you total up only the installations from 2015 until 2022 the net result will be 21.2 MW, the gross installations 29.7 MW – just onshore Wind. Until 2020 additional new offshore windfarms with 6.500 MW will be installed.”

PEi is awaiting  response from the BDE on how the data would look from a greater European perspective.

 



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