On Christmas Eve and early into the next day, Germany’s power trading exchange, EPEX Spot, had to pay companies and other large energy consumers up to $60 per megawatt-hour to use energy.
The company bills consumers negative rates when too much power is generated from renewables and there’s a low demand for it.
In general, experts say, solar and wind generation is wildly inconsistent, with a lot of it based on the season.
The online publication, Green Matters, reports that, for example, Germany expects wind turbines to produce around 12 percent of overall power, but that the number can significantly rise if there’s major winds.
“With more capacity being added all the time, it can supply far more energy than anticipated,” the medium says.
It adds that Germany alone has spent over $200bn on the renewable industry in the last 20 years; and since fossil fuel can’t shut down and restart easily, it’s better for the exchange to pay consumers (t0 use the excess energy being produced).
The power generation has been so high now that, for over 100 times in 2017 alone, the company had had to send zero bills to consumers just to encourage them to use electricity!
“The situation is more frequent than other European countries have seen.
“We now have technology that cannot produce according to the demand, but is producing according to the weather,” Tobias Kurth, managing director of Energy Brainpool, said.
“(This is one) of the key challenges in the whole transition of the energy market to renewable power,” Green Matters reports.