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German power costs up

Published October 10, 2012 9:28 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Having rejected nuclear power, Germany now aggressively pursues renewable energy to produce its electricity. Pouring hundreds of billions of euros into subsidies for wind and solar power, Germany's electricity cost is among the highest in Europe.

Germany's 23,000 wind turbines and millions of solar panels have a maximum capacity of 31 gigawatts (about one-quarter of Germany's average electricity demand), but the output of renewables has averaged only about 5 gigawatts.

Germany's present output for wind power is 17 percent of rated capacity. Makeup power sources must provide up to 29 gigawatts on demand to meet the renewables' deficit.

Wind industry's touted "capacity" obscures the fact that power output is always less than 100 per cent of capacity. Output of wind turbines vary with wind speed: When wind speed drops one-half, power output drops one-eighth.

Gary M. Sandquist

Salt Lake City