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That's in one German state, not in the US, more's the pity.

Germany’s windiest area, Schleswig-Holstein, will probably achieve “100% renewable electricity” sometime this year. That is, its clean energy production will be able to supply all of its electricity consumption. Schleswig-Holstein has a goal to generate 300% of its electricity consumption with renewables eventually. This mostly rural area is grid-connected, so it can sell excess electricity and still use conventional power during periods when wind is not available.
So why not here? Why can Germany's grid handle 100% renewable energy but the US grid cannot?

Please explain that to me.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (34+ / 0-)

    I'm a Vietnam Era vet. I'm also an Erma Bombeck Era vet. When cussing me out and calling me names please indicate which vet you would like to respond to your world changing thoughts.

    by Just Bob on Mon Jul 14, 2014 at 08:13:35 PM PDT

    •  Remarkable. So it costs each villager $3,972 up (13+ / 0-)

      front but now they pay 31% less for electricity and 10% less for heating.

      I'd take that deal in a flash.

      I'm a Vietnam Era vet. I'm also an Erma Bombeck Era vet. When cussing me out and calling me names please indicate which vet you would like to respond to your world changing thoughts.

      by Just Bob on Mon Jul 14, 2014 at 08:36:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I sure would too (0+ / 0-)

        But what would we do with/for the folks who don't even have $3,972 in the bank, let alone that much to throw toward one thing?

        Heck, that's true of me, and I'm a professional with a master's degree living VERY frugally and simply in a low-cost-of-living area in my state.

        We are all students and teachers. I often ask myself: "What did I come here to learn, and what did I come to teach?"

        by nerafinator on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 01:16:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Your point is taken but there's more to the story. (0+ / 0-)

          They tried to buy the local utility's grid but it wasn't for sale at any price. They had to build their own. They had requirements placed upon them that the local utility didn't have to meet such as uninterrupted power. They had to fight the powers that be every step of the way.

          I'm sure there were people who had a hard time with financing yet they made it work. Remember that this is a farming village.

          I'm a Vietnam Era vet. I'm also an Erma Bombeck Era vet. When cussing me out and calling me names please indicate which vet you would like to respond to your world changing thoughts.

          by Just Bob on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 10:24:09 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  The Koch Bros won't make any money on it... (16+ / 0-)

    ...that's why. We're paying for their poor investment choices.

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Mon Jul 14, 2014 at 08:31:40 PM PDT

  •  Your question is rhetorical (no question mark...) (5+ / 0-)

    The grid doesn't give a crap about how the juice is produced, of course; the people who actually run our "democracy" do.  I'm investing in rooftop solar, even though my stupid power monopoly (Ameren) stopped rebates for solar this year. I'm betting on the long term, and especially when local storage (batteries) make it a no-brainer.

  •  Bob - the US grid can't transmit (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    translatorpro, FarWestGirl, Wee Mama

    power long distances without significant loss of energy. That's why the US grid is regional. The cost to upgrade the grid to make it national, allowing alternatives to send power long distances is so large that it overwhelms the potential savings of building large scale alternative energy facilities. That's why distributed power, like rooftop solar, is the preferred path in the US.

    "let's talk about that" uid 92953

    by VClib on Mon Jul 14, 2014 at 09:46:13 PM PDT

    •  No doubt, but we're not making that a national (4+ / 0-)

      priority either.

      Cheney wants to spend more money on defense. What about the defense of our coastal cities?

      I'm a Vietnam Era vet. I'm also an Erma Bombeck Era vet. When cussing me out and calling me names please indicate which vet you would like to respond to your world changing thoughts.

      by Just Bob on Mon Jul 14, 2014 at 09:57:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Source? (4+ / 0-)

      My information says that your claim about the cost of upgrading our long distance network is not the case.

      Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

      by Mokurai on Mon Jul 14, 2014 at 11:17:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  There's some truth to his claim (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        translatorpro, FarWestGirl, groupw

        We need a grid update. I doubt a transmission line from Nevada to Florida would be cost effective even if it were HVDC. On the other hand, Florida, the sunshine state, is rated in the top seven states for solar potential and is lagging far behind.

        HVDC transmission from the southern states to northern states is entirely feasible. The longest HVDC line currently in the US is the Pacific DC Intertie with a length of approximately 850 miles.

        Here's a proposed line from Oklahoma to Tennessee to deliver wind power:
        http://energy.gov/...

        Interesting map here:
        http://energy.gov/...

        You can zoom in on your area.

        I'm a Vietnam Era vet. I'm also an Erma Bombeck Era vet. When cussing me out and calling me names please indicate which vet you would like to respond to your world changing thoughts.

        by Just Bob on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 12:29:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The thing about networks (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Just Bob

          is that you don't have to connect everywhere to everywhere. You need to connect regional networks at their edges. There is thus a need for new HVDC lines, which are cheaper than long-distance HVAC, only in a few places where sources of power are distant from demand. This is true for wind in the Dakotas, but not true of FL (large demand throughout the state). There is no need to connect NV directly to FL, given all of the demand in between, and the huge solar and wind resources throughout the entire South.

          Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

          by Mokurai on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 08:19:42 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Exactly, but I really would like to see Florida (0+ / 0-)

            take advantage of the sun. We have no wind power potential to speak of.

            We could use a feed in tariff and/or power purchase agreements. We have neither. We once had a solar state rebate program. Too bad it wasn't funded.

            I'm a Vietnam Era vet. I'm also an Erma Bombeck Era vet. When cussing me out and calling me names please indicate which vet you would like to respond to your world changing thoughts.

            by Just Bob on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 09:46:37 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Define "long distance" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VClib, cotterperson

      The US grid is regionally based, true. This diary tells of one German state being able to transmit its excess electricity to the "national grid."

      Well, Germany as a country is just over 137,000 square miles (to put it in the primitive, foot-pound disease, measuring system we have here.)

      That's about 10,000 square miles smaller than Montana.

      Now in Montana
          Big Flat Electric Cooperative
          Central Montana Electric Power Cooperative
          Hill County Electric Cooperative
          MDU
          Montana Electric Cooperatives' Association
          Northwestern Energy

      cover the state and transmit electricity quite well I'm sure.

      OTOH, that Montana grid only has to service a population of 1 million, vs. nearly 82 million Germans, but the Germans simply do NOT have to send their electricity very far at all, and there are a LOT more customers nearby to buy it.

      Comparing the German national grid to the US national grid is apples to oranges.

      FWIW.

      Shalom.

      "God has given wine to gladden the hearts of people." Psalm 104:15

      by WineRev on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 03:47:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Here's one companies idea of what is needed (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VClib, cotterperson

      http://www.cleanlineenergy.com/...

      Centennial West Clean Line - 3,500 megawatts from eastern New Mexico to the southwest.

      Grain Belt Express Clean Line - Kansas to Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and markets farther east.

      Plains & Eastern Clean Line - 3,500 megawatts from the Oklahoma panhandle to Arkansas and Tennessee.

      Rock Island Clean Line - 3,500 megawatts from northwest Iowa to Illinois and farther east.

      Western Spirit Clean Line - 1,500 megawatts from east and central New Mexico to the western states.

      We can build all the renewable we need. The problem is getting it to market. Think of it as an interstate highway system for power.

      The planning for the Plains & Eastern Clean Line is well along. We should see the draft EIS this fall.
      http://www.plainsandeasterneis.com/

      I'm a Vietnam Era vet. I'm also an Erma Bombeck Era vet. When cussing me out and calling me names please indicate which vet you would like to respond to your world changing thoughts.

      by Just Bob on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 03:52:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Schleswig-Holstein has 2.8 million people (8+ / 0-)

    so this development really is pretty impressive. That's about the same number of people that live in Kansas, or Nevada, or Utah, states that I would imagine would be good candidates for wind power.

    The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. -- John Kenneth Galbraith

    by richardak on Mon Jul 14, 2014 at 09:55:30 PM PDT

  •  Because Congress will ONLY spend Money on ... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Don midwest, groupw

    WAR

  •  Why not here? (6+ / 0-)
    Why can Germany's grid handle 100% renewable energy but the US grid cannot?
    Perhaps for the same reason a German company (VW) has opened a side door for union representation in its plant in a southern city in the US --

    Because Germans in power acknowledge that what benefits their producers and consumers benefits everyone else in the process, so they support innovation and the working class.

    Unfortunately in the US, a significant part of those in power are fighting against anything and everything that could possibly benefit the working class, to the detriment of almost everyone.

    •  Exactly. The country would not be (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AJayne, FarWestGirl, cotterperson

      the economic/export powerhouse it is today without their long-term thinking (i.e. beyond short-term profit-taking) and consideration of what is good for the working class and the country as a whole. The political parties have different priorities and different approaches to achieving their visions of what is best for their country, but the politicians and business people are not out to screw everyone else who does not hold their views in the process.

      „Wer kämpft, kann verlieren. Wer nicht kämpft, hat schon verloren.“ - Bertolt Brecht

      by translatorpro on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 12:43:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's mostly wind (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Just Bob, groupw, cotterperson
    The small state has about 7,000 wind power employees and the wind turbine manufacturer Vestas has facilities there. A German Wind Association report pegged the offshore wind power capacity by 2030 at about 25,000 MW and 4,000-6,000 MW for onshore. Wind power is such a significant part of  the culture that there is a Master’s degree in Wind Engineering program available. (The area borders Denmark to the north and is between the North and Baltic seas.)
    Solar is a good adjunct to wind, but if you are talking about 24/7 power in units of gigawatts of electrical power you are talking mostly wind, and not rooftop.

    We have the proven offshore wind capacity in the US to generate four times the electrical power that the entire country needs. And, the offshore wind capacities are near large metropolitan areas, along both coasts, the great lakes and the Gulf. The technology is there, it's a matter of spending $1T/yr on war or 1/2 that on war and 1/2 on sustainability. It seems like a no-brainer, but not the way this country is currently run.

  •  does renewable help oligarchy? No (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    groupw, cotterperson, nerafinator

    hence both factions continue to move slowly

  •  Available both in Finland and Sweden (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    groupw, cotterperson, Just Bob

    You buy your power contract with the provider and a separate contract with the company handling distribution. A typical 100% alternative contract for a single person is €4.29 kWh at the moment .

    It is not easy to see what you are not looking for, or to know what it is you do not know.

    by kosta on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 05:45:14 AM PDT

  •  Nice but Germany has resources the u.s doesn't (5+ / 0-)

    You know, resources like foresightedness and political will.

  •  Seven U.S. states had 100% of their new power (4+ / 0-)

    generation from renewable sources in 2013. I think we are close to the tipping point, and progress will accelerate from there.



    Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

    by Wee Mama on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 06:46:29 AM PDT

  •  I wonder if S-H could maintain baseload power... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Just Bob

    ...if it cut all connections to the rest of Germany. Generating 100%+ of what you consume with renewables is terrific, but it's not the same thing as "energy independence". They may still rely on a Norwegian oil and Russian gas to keep the grid balanced.

    OTOH, once you reach a certain threshold with wind power, "baseload" becomes an obsolete concept. Widely distributed farms of wind turbines provide more flexibility, capacity and reliability that centralized coal & nuclear plants.

    S-H is an agricultural region and has 350 MW of biofuel capacity. Like wind, it's highly dispersed, mostly serving local cogeneration of heat and power.  But it could conceivably scaled up to serve as "peaker" plants, feeding into the grid as rooftop solar does.

    “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing
    he was never reasoned into” - Jonathan Swift

    by jjohnjj on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 08:43:49 AM PDT

  •  How Germany Got to 100% Renewables (0+ / 0-)

    They got there because they worked at it consistently for a couple of decades.  Denmark, Switzerland, Luxembourg, and other countries are doing the same thing, working consistently and carefully to make a transition away from coal, oil, nuclear, and even gas.  To get to 100% renewables, you have to think about load balancing, distributing power over a variety of sources, and frequency and voltage regulation as intermittent supplies come on and off line.

    Germany has a policy of regionalizing the transition with over 140 regions each deciding their own path to renewables.  The University of Kässel has been running simulations of different strategies for over a decade to help them figure out what to do and how to do it.

    The USA has barely begun to think this thing through.  

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