This Country Generated So Much Renewable Energy It Paid People to Use It
On May 8—a particularly sunny and windy day—Germany's renewable energy mix of solar, wind, hydropower and biomass generated so much power that it met 88 percent of the country's total electricity demand, or 55 GW out of 63 GW being consumed.
This means, as Quartz reported, "power prices actually went negative for several hours, meaning commercial customers were being paid to consume electricity."
“We have a greater share of renewable energy every year,” said Christoph Podewils of Agora Energiewende, a German clean energy think tank.
“The power system adapted to this quite nicely. This day shows again that a system with large amounts of renewable energy works fine.”
According to Quartz, industrial customers such as refineries and foundries were able to earn money by consuming electricity because nuclear and coal plants were unable to shut down production during the spike and had to continue selling power to the grid.
Germany's power system "is still too rigid for power suppliers and consumers to respond quickly to price signals," the publication noted.
Renewables supplied nearly 90 percent of Germany’s power supply on Sunday, meaning electricity prices were in the negatives. Photo credit: Agora Energiewende
Germany, the fourth largest economy in the world, is one of the global leaders of clean energy as it attempts to phase out fossil fuels. The country has an ambitious goal of hitting 100 percent renewable energy by 2050.
The European country already hit a milestone on July 25, 2015 when solar, wind and other sources of renewable energy met 78 percent of the day’s energy demand. That beat its previous record of 74 percent in May 2014.
Renewables supplied nearly 33 percent of German electricity in 2015, according to Agora Energiewende. To compare, the U.S. receives around 10 percent of its electricity from renewable sources.
Osha Gray Davidson, author of Clean Break, a book about Germany’s transition to carbon-free energy, said that Germany is a model for the U.S., “because manufacturing accounts for much more of the German economy than the American economy and they have 80 million people—much larger than a country like Denmark, which gets more of its power from renewables but has a much smaller industrial base and has a population of five and a half million people."
CleanTechnica reported that the rural German states of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Schleswig-Holstein already generate more renewable power than households and businesses in each state consume.
Germany is also aiming to slash carbon emissions by 40 percent in 2020 and by 80 to 95 percent in comparison with 1990 levels by 2050.
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By David Reichmuth
Over the last month, I've seen a number of opinion articles attacking electric vehicles (EVs). Sadly, this comes as no surprise: now that the Biden administration is introducing federal policies to accelerate the roll out of electric vehicles, we were bound to see a reaction from those that oppose reducing climate changing emissions and petroleum use.
The majority of EVs sold in 2020 were models with a starting price (Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price) under $40,000 and only a fifth of models had a starting price over $60,000.
On Friday, China set out an economic blueprint for the next five years, which was expected to substantiate the goal set out last fall by President Xi Jinping for the country to reach net-zero emissions before 2060 and hit peak emissions by 2030.
The Great Trail in Canada is recognized as the world's longest recreational trail for hiking, biking, and cross-country skiing. Created by the Trans Canada Trail (TCT) and various partners, The Great Trail consists of a series of smaller, interconnected routes that stretch from St. John's to Vancouver and even into the Yukon and Northwest Territories. It took nearly 25 years to connect the 27,000 kilometers of greenway in ways that were safe and accessible to hikers. Now, thanks to a new partnership with the Canadian Paralympic Committee and AccessNow, the TCT is increasing accessibility throughout The Great Trail for people with disabilities.
Trans Canada Trail and AccessNow partnership for AccessOutdoors / Trails for All project. Mapping day at Stanley Park Seawall in Vancouver, British Columbia with Richard Peter. Alexa Fernando<p>This partnership also comes at a time when access to outdoor recreation is more important to Canadian citizens than ever. <a href="https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/200527/dq200527b-eng.htm" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Studies from the spring of 2020</a> indicate that Canadian's <a href="https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/moneytalk-mental-health-during-covid-19-1.1567633" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">mental health has worsened</a> since the onset of social distancing protocols due to COVID-19. </p><p>The <a href="https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/in-depth/safe-activities-during-covid19/art-20489385" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Mayo Clinic</a> lists hiking, biking, and skiing as safe activities during COVID-19. Their website explains, "When you're outside, fresh air is constantly moving, dispersing these droplets. So you're less likely to breathe in enough of the respiratory droplets containing the virus that causes COVID-19 to become infected."</p><p>TCT leadership took this into consideration when embarking on the accessibility project. McMahon explains that there has never been a more important time to bring accessibility to the great outdoors: "Canadians have told us that during these difficult times, they value access to natural spaces to stay active, take care of their mental health, and socially connect with others while respecting physical distancing and public health directives. This partnership is incredibly important especially now as trails have become a lifeline for Canadians."</p><p>Together, these organizations are paving the way for better physical and mental health among all Canadians. To learn more about the TCT's mission and initiatives, check out their <a href="https://thegreattrail.ca/stories/" target="_blank">trail stories</a> and <a href="https://thegreattrail.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/TCT_2020-Donor-Impact-Report_EN_8.5x14-web.pdf" target="_blank">2020 Impact Report</a>.</p>