Germany has long been a leader in the move towards renewable energy, and when German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced in 2011 that the country would phase out nuclear energy by 2022, questions surfaced as to whether new sources of energy would be able to keep up with demand. Well, five years later, Germany is now having to deal with that problem, and it’s not in a way people may have first imagined.
The problem does not stem from the ability to create the energy though. Plans from the German Federal Network Agency were published by the Süddeutsche Zeitung on Tuesday that show the problem is that Germany’s renewable energy build out has been too successful and the power grid cannot keep up with it.
enough to power 1.2 million homes for a year
A majority of Germany’s wind farms are located in the northern states, but some of the most power-hungry regions lie in the south. Without the proper power grid infrastructure, the excess energy has no place to go.
While plans have been made to create an energy highway from the north to the south, protests led to developers going back to the drawing board. The delay and costly revisions have pushed the project back at least a year and a half.
Until the route is opened up, renewable energy companies are being paid to power down wind turbines in an effort to ease up the power grid congestion. More than 4,100 gigawatts of excess energy was produced in 2015 — enough to power 1.2 million homes for a year.