Germany produces 50% of energy from solar during mid-day hours — ‘Equivalent to 20 nuclear power stations at full capacity without any radioactive waste left over’

Published: May 31st, 2012 at 8:48 am ET


Germany Hits Record In Solar Power With 50% Of Energy During Mid-Day Hours
Jonathan Turley, Legal Expert
May 28, 2012

Germany’s economy is viewed as the most successful major economy in the world today and the key bedrock for European recovery. While many conservative leaders in the United States are calling on the tearing up of environmental protections to help our economy, Germany has shown the fallacy of that claim. The Germans continue to set new records on environmental protection. This week the German solar power plants produced a world record 22 gigawatts of electricity per hour — literally half of the energy used through the key midday hours in the country.

That is the equivalent to 20 nuclear power stations at full capacity without any radioactive waste left over. The Germans are getting rid of all nuclear plants after the Fukushima nuclear disaster last year. Instead, the entire country will be using greater renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and bio-mass.

This is not some tiny country with a mainly tourism economy but one of the greatest industrial nations on Earth.



Read more here

Published: May 31st, 2012 at 8:48 am ET


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42 comments to Germany produces 50% of energy from solar during mid-day hours — ‘Equivalent to 20 nuclear power stations at full capacity without any radioactive waste left over’

  • goathead goathead

    And if Americans stopped wasting 27% of their produced energy then they wouldn't need the 22% that comes from nuclear reactors!! Put on another jumper folks and cut back!!

    • MoonlightEmpire MoonlightEmpire

      I agree completely. Efficiency is a very worthy quality. The more efficient we can be with electricity, the less we will need.

      Thank you to the Germans for setting such a fine example to us all. Here in the U.S.A., I think we should all take it as a challenge among friends. Like anything else, if you have a partner to practice and compete with, you both get better at a much faster rate.

      Anyone with ideas on how to make a positive difference post-Fukushima, let your voices be recognized. I'm willing to collaborate and discuss ideas in detail via email with those who are interested.

      EneNews Admin, I hope this is okay, and thank you for this venue to get together.

      Keep up the good work, you're all making a big difference.

  • BreadAndButter BreadAndButter

    A) The former green-socialist German govmt passed a law back in the year 2000 (!!) to phase out nuclear until 2022.
    The Merkel-led govmt revoked that law in 2010 and granted additional 12 years operational time for the nukes.
    Massive public protests and Fukushima forced her to change course in May 2012.

    B) Since she sacked the Minister for Environment 3 weeks ago, the lobbyists from her own party are back in full force. We get pondered with fearmongering on a daily basis ("it ain't gonna work, it's far too expensive,"…blah di blah). The industry lobbyists are even suggesting to suspend the nuclear phase-out.

    It's on razor's edge, and Merkel WILL give in to the industry. She's pro-nuke at heart, and will have to testify in September at an inquiry board which examines her role in decisions about a nuclear waste dump in the 90's.

    • CaptD CaptD

      I've got my fingers crossed that she will continue to support phasing out Nuclear ASAP and it is up to the German people to encourage her to stand up against the Nuclear Fascists that want to regain their control over the German people!

      The biggest issue is the Trillion Dollar Eco-Disaster RISK of a Fukushima type meltdown happening in Germany or upwind of Germany and where will the money come from to pay for it? If the German people get that question out for discussion they will WIN!


      • BreadAndButter BreadAndButter

        Hey Capt, your optimism is inspiring. Yes, let's hope people don't buy the lobby BS. A vast majority here doesn't want nuclear, so let's keep going 🙂
        and as you say let's hope none blows up and makes europe uninhabitable. it's quite nice here, actually 😉

      • HamburgGeiger

        Sorry, but German people have nothing to do with those decisions and can`t influence them. We are governed from above. Nobody is interested in what we the people want. That is the same as in USA, I suppose. Yes, we can vote. But we just have the choice between bad or even worse.

        And to make matters worse german people are not very interested in the end of nuclear and they are mostly unaware of Fukushima. Thats the sad facts. But we keep our optimism. It is and will be a long lasting fight against the industry and their puppets – worldwide, not only here in germany.

    • AGreenRoad AGreenRoad

      Germany- a World Leader in Solar, Wind and Health; via A Green Road Blog

      The GREEN PARTY caused the nuclear power plants to shut off in Germany.

      Vote Green Party if you REALLY want your vote to count for something. The Green Party candidates take ZERO money from corporations.

      Your vote is wasted on any corporate controlled dualopoly candidate.

      • AGreenRoad AGreenRoad

        While we are talking about alternatives;

        Ten Largest Wind Turbine Manufacturers; Largest Wind Turbines, Wind Stats; via A Green Road Blog

        The problem with coal, oil, gas, and nuclear is that they are very carbon intensive; all of them produce HUGE amounts of CO2, which causes climate change.

        We have to use ONLY fuels that create ZERO CARBON;

        wind, water, tides, solar, etc… NO Carbon dioxide emissions.

        We can do this… there is plenty of this energy around, but it is DECENTRALIZED. It takes power away from the 1%. That is where the friction is.

        Either we do it this way, or we experience Mother Nature giving us all consequences.. as we have been already.

        We have seen NOTHING yet, when it comes to consequences… if we keep going down this same road of non sustainable ways of living and producing energy.

  • ryosei ryosei

    hm actually it was very clear sky and sunshine for over a week… but now we are back to grey rainy sky…
    since we haven´t running any technology to save the incoming solar energy its not reliable at all…
    in the end still a well done step in the right direction, since we are going to get 3800 km of new power cables for around 20 billion euro …
    when i drive over the countryside, sooo many famrhaouses have solar cells already, but they are forced to feed the big net with theses collectors and going to get back cheaper prices for their used energy … so its still not allowed to fee yourself with your own produced energy because of the energy lobby

    • CaptD CaptD

      I think little by little the Energy Lobby will have to "accept" that things must change and soon many will demand that all energy producers (including residential solar owners) get paid for the energy they produce…

    • BreadAndButter BreadAndButter

      …but don't forget that almost 2000 km of those power lines were already planned BEFORE the decision was taken to abandon nuclear. And they're still not built yet.
      And according to the new legislation you'll HAVE to use 20% of the energy you produce yourself. That's how the lobby wants farmers to stop putting solar on barn roofs.

    • GeoHarvey

      There are several technologies that can store electricity generated by solar, or any other source. Germany has a 7 gigawatt generating capacity from pumped storage alone, with a capacity to store 40 gigawatt hours of power. That is not as much as they would like, and they are trying to provide more.

  • CaptD CaptD

    Go Germany!

    I'm so proud of Germany for showing the World that they do not have to accept Nuclear Energy "$alavery" and bow to Nuclear Fascism*…

    Just wait until their ultra modern coal fired plants come online, then the Germans will show the rest of the World why they are the BEST Engineers, doing what others say can't be done! Use modern technology to burn coal more cleanly than anyone ever believed possible…

    *Nuclear Fascism

    • HamburgGeiger

      No. Don`t burn coal at all! They build one of those nasty plants 3 miles from my home. These new coal plants set the course for our energy production of the next 3-4 decades, and they set it in the WRONG direction. In fact they are big obstacles on our way to clean energy, just like nuclear. They are owned by the same businesses and they are a nightmare much as same as nuclear. With that technology they want to save their power and prevent e real democratic and local approach to energy production. These plants are not compatible with clean energy. They produce lots of CO2 and they can`t adjust quickly to the fluctuating production of solar and wind. That is why they get the right of way in the grid and displace the alternatives.

      • CaptD CaptD

        I'm all for solar but that said,
        … I'd take super clean modern coal over nuclear anytime!

        NO Meltdown Risk!
        N☢ More Fukushima's…

        • HamburgGeiger

          Yes, I take it over nuclear, too. (No meltdown risk, but they emit radioactivity from all the coal they burn every day!)

          There are much better and more progressive technologies that can work together with solar, wind, etc. in the future. These "new" coal plants are CO2-spewing oldtimers and don`t belong in our present or future. As I said, they are installed to slow down the change. With those plants they just try to ensure their influence and power, try to steer the future energy mix and distribution in the direction they like.

        • HamburgGeiger

          Super clean?! Sorry, but nobody believes that here in Germany. Some things appear much more positive when seen from a distance… Coal plants are not what we understand by clean.

          • BreadAndButter BreadAndButter


            • MaidenHeaven MaidenHeaven

              Does the Government still care about its climate change targets?

              The announcement was aimed at reassuring energy companies that new gas plant constructed now will be able to keep operating for another three decades – without carbon capture and storage technologies being fitted to reduce their emissions.

              DECC says this is designed to maintain security of energy supply to the UK. But others are worried: Greenpeace labelled it ' craven submission' to the Treasury and "easily their most significant environmental decision since the coalition took power." WWF called it a " Treasury coup" of UK energy policy, while Richard Black for the BBC suggested that the announcement should be subtitled "Abandon hope" on UK climate change targets.


          • CaptD CaptD

            I don't live in Germany but am HOPEFUL that the new coal fired plants will be much cleaner than the current coal fired plants…

            If you have some links that describe the two please post them so we can learn what is happening!

            It will take a while but rather than depend on Nuclear reactors and accept their RISK, I would rather see "cleaner" coal fired plants used until Solar (of all flavors) becomes THE source of energy for all!

            • MaidenHeaven MaidenHeaven


              On March 27, the EPA proposed a carbon dioxide standard for new power plants. This proposal requires that all new fossil-fuel fired power plants that exceed 25 megawatts in capacity (nearly all significant power plants) be able to meet an emission rate standard of 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour. The EPA notes that the standards would have to be met with either by natural gas combined cycle generation or coal-fired generation using carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) – the commercially unproven process of capturing and storing carbon dioxide

              The carbon dioxide standard is a perfect example of how politically favored policies can be advanced under the guise of providing real health benefits. The Agency incessantly uses the words “pollutant” and “pollution” in reference to carbon dioxide, although as you learn in middle school science, carbon dioxide plays a vital role in the environment and has no direct negative human health effects. Ironically the EPA did not attempt to calculate health benefits of reducing carbon dioxide as an alleged “pollutant” because that’s not what this regulation is about as EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson says this regulation is to “move us into a new era of American energy.”

              • MaidenHeaven MaidenHeaven

                Another case in point is the EPA’s mandate to use carbon capture and sequestration. Despite Obama’s retreat from mentioning coal in his recent “all of the above” energy policy approach, the EPA will allow “clean coal” to meet the new standard. To the Agency, “clean coal” doesn’t mean new technologies to reduce real pollutants such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide or mercury; it means the use of CCS to capture a benign gas with no direct human health effects.

                Not surprising since the EPA has been known to mandate technology that doesn’t exist, CCS is not yet available on a commercial scale. The Agency readily admits that CCS is *NOT viable without a Massive infusion of taxpayer dollars stating:“ New coal-fired power plants with CCS are being permitted and built today, albeit usually with considerable financial assistance from the federal government.”

                The true purpose of the carbon dioxide standard is to force coal off of the electricity grid and allow for the achievement of Obama’s “clean” energy agenda. It is smooth politics over sound policies—policies approved by precisely zero elected officials, nonetheless.

                Currently the proposed standards only affect the construction of new power plants, but the EPA has indicated the regulation of existing power plants and oil refineries in the future. Welcome to the era of regulation without representation.


                • MaidenHeaven MaidenHeaven

                  Existing power plants, even if they make changes that increase emissions, would not be covered at all. And new ones would have years to meet the standard and could average their emissions over three decades to meet the threshold.

                  But eventually, all coal-fired power plants would need to install equipment to capture half of their carbon pollution. While not commercially available now, the EPA projects that by 2030, no new coal-fired power plant will be built without carbon capture and storage.


                  • HamburgGeiger

                    I don`t know what you Americans think about this carbon capture and storage, but most people here in Germany think that it is bullshit. I am one of them. We don`t need to capture that stuff but we need to avoid producing it. There are much better ways to produce energy then burning coal. The CO2 storage thing is very energy ineffective and has a lot of problems in reality. That is why it is forbidden in most parts of Germany (the rest will follow I hope).

          • MoonlightEmpire MoonlightEmpire

            I agree. We don't need ANY of these polluting plants to get enough electricity. I, personally, will settle for nothing less than a fully ecologically-minded society using cutting-edge modern potential, to amplify the efficiency and effectiveness of older, tried-and-true methods, tools, and technologies to make this world a better place than we've found it.

            0% unemployment forever because everyone is at least a Steward of the Earth.

            Doing this will make our environment vibrant and lush. In turn, we will become the same.

            If you were a fish in a bowl, would you want it to be one where no one ever cleaned the tank? Or would you rather have the bowl full of that Figi Freshy-Fresh?

            I'll take the Freshy-Fresh, please.

            Even just using your own manual labor in your back yard instead of burning gasoline to do the same job will make you more efficient (naturally, at least).

  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture

    Bravo! ..German solar power plants are happening. Clean and safe power generation. The rest of the world must get on this. Now.

  • yellowrain

    so it only took an ele to switch to solar. to late and a dollar short. looks like an earthquake hit near fuku. The tbs cam looks eerily dim. Anyone have info?

  • odylan

    I was surprised the other day to learn that Germany's close neighbour Austria which is supposed to be nuclear-free gets 20% of its energy requirements from old nuclear power stations which include 3 in Russia. Mind you, ex-Bundezkanzler Wolfgang Schüssel (for example) is said to quietly draw €10,000 monthly from the pro-nuke lobby so with people like that at the top what can the world expect?

  • the fearmongering strain of causes in germany is build up via the distribution net.
    so green energy is produced in the north but it is said that there is no good distribution net in germany (although 3 years ago in winter some lines collapsed under ice due to bad condition and power industry has been warned then to build up the net) to deliver it to the south where it is needed. all pro nuke bullshit but the point is still valid: distributed power generation needs another net in comparison to more centralized (and especially "grown") networks. the net was planned around big generators and it might be true that more evenly distributed power generation needs another net

    • HamburgGeiger

      It is the other way around. With solar on every roof the net is perfectly ok. But that is too democratic for those on the top. They want us dependent and so their politicians use the "energy turnaround" to build large windparks off shore owned by big money where you run exactly in those mentioned problems to distribute their power to the other side of the country. That is bullshit. We need windparks and solar all over germany. We already have that but we need it much bigger.

      But those in charge fear clean local energy. If they can`t have us dependent on nuclear in the future, they at least want us dependent on "their" wind energy, coal energy, etc. We don`t need to pay and discuss extensions of the net if the energy is produced and consumed locally. But that would mean kind of energy autonomie, and that is what they fear. So they brake and stand in the way as much as possible, and they try to steer the development in the direction they want to make money and to control us.

      • BreadAndButter BreadAndButter

        True again.

      • Siouxx Siouxx

        ..and therein lies the whole problem. Locally produced energy is totally viable. People produce to their needs, starting firstly with working out exactly how much or rather how little energy they need. This doesn't suit big government/business which is about making more not less – so green and government is oxymoron. What has happened in France is the big roof hijack, people are offered money by electricity companies to have pholtovoltaics installed on their roof and so the company pays you rental but you can't use any of the electricity produced. This goes to the grid and is redistributed with all the losses which that entails. It is just to keep all the old dinosaurs and the new green-washed public happy. It serves another purpose too, to point out how 'inefficient' alternatives are and to keep the need to collect more and more roofs into the fold. We used to get 3 calls a week asking for our roof. It's the same with Big Ag/Big Pharma in fact big anything, they aren't even capitalists, they just want more until they have all and even then they won't be happy. Local, small and/or individual is the way to go, work out how little energy/water/food you need and then do it yourself. It's so easy to be 'green'if you are not plain greedy.

  • CaptD CaptD

    Time will show that the entire Fukushima Trillion Dollar Eco-Disaster was "controlled" by the Nuclear Fascists* in a "failed" attempt to protect their market share of the Energy Business…

    They are spending huge amounts of money now trying to shore up their RISKY technology and are using all their Gov't. contacts to hinder development of all other forms of Energy production. Germany will be their test case, because now Germany is showing the World that they can begin to phase out nuclear and still grow their economy!

    The Web has allowed people from all over the Planet to cut through their Nuclear Baloney* and see nuclear reactors for what they are, the BIGGEST RISK mankind faces…



  • odylan

    An interesting aside is that the number of Japanese escort girls available for hire In Vienna has in the past 12 months if advertising in the popular press is anything to go by "gone through the roof".
    I can't say I blame them. Desperate times require desperate measures. In one of his videos Arnie Gundersen (I believe it is) mentions the phenomena of the Fukushima Divorce which basically means that many married Japanese women are opting to get the hell out with the kids leaving the husband to cope.

    • CaptD CaptD

      … And who can blame them…

      Far better safe than sorry!

      Each of US needs to ask our Leaders how they would suggest our Country deal with a Trillion Dollar Eco-Disaster like Fukushima if it happened in our Country and then post their answers!

      I bet 99% would not answer on the record…

      • CaptD CaptD

        Lets use Southern California as an example:

        What would happen to property values in SoCal if SORE, (San Onofre Reactor Emergency) suffered a meltdown like Fukushima for ANY reason, like an EQ (Earth Quake), terrorism, Tsunami, operator error or just "because it can"?

        Per the NRC: Fact Sheet on Nuclear Insurance and Disaster Relief

        In short, if there is more than $12 Billion in damages, residents are left holding a empty radioactive bag! This is only a tiny fraction of what it will cost in Fukushima, which is estimated to be about a Trillion Dollar Eco-Disaster!

        What is the value of all the homes and Commercial property downwind of SORE?
        Probably at least several TRILLION dollars…

        Here is a great graphic that will help everyone visualize what is downwind of any of the US reactors! NRDC Nuclear Fallout Map:
        Just click on a reactor and zoom in…

        Where will the US Government get the REST of the money if it happened at SORE (or a reactor where you live) next week, probably from Social Security and or Medicare? Where will people relocate to and for how long?

        In reality, ALL those affected are doomed! Tens of thousands are still living in nuclear refugee camps in Japan and it has been over a year since their triple meltdowns which are BTW still sending radioactive pollution Globally!

  • GeoHarvey

    The latest grid technologies make it possible to deliver power economically over distances of well over six thousand kilometers (well over four thousand miles). This means that electricity generated anywhere in Europe can be delivered economically to anywhere else in Europe. When the sun is not shining, the wind will be blowing somewhere. Biomass, geothermal, and hydro are regarded as baseload power. Solar and wind generated electricity can be stored in pumped storage or chemically.
    We do not need coal, oil, or nuclear. The only thing that keeps these dinosaurs alive is big business and special interests.

  • GeoHarvey

    Interesting to note that nearly all of the "lower 48" states of the US is farther south than the southernmost tip of Germany.

  • MaidenHeaven MaidenHeaven

    Given radioactive wastewater, earthquakes, and flammable tap water, one might think that drilling and fracking could not possibly have any more dirty secrets. But here’s the biggest secret of all: it’s expensive.

    “So right there, it’s just a barometer that tells you, how profitable are Chesapeake’s wells?” Arthur Berman, one of the industry’s strongest skeptics, said on National Public Radio. “They’re not profitable. That’s the takeaway. It’s real simple.”

    Others have also raised red flags.

    "If they are showing that kind of negative cash flow, the wells don't have value," Phil Weiss, a Wall Street energy analyst at Argus Research who was one of the first to ring alarm bells about Chesapeake’s “aggressive accounting,” told Reuters.

    So what does all this mean for the rest of us?

    First of all, a lot of land, water and clean air – and a lot of money – wasted hunting for a dirty fossil fuel that has been oversold.

    When wells are over-produced in the short run, the total amount of gas that can be tapped from the area falls in the long run. So the wells look highly productive today, but this comes only at the cost of future production.

    Translation: far more drilling than predicted for far less returns.

  • MaidenHeaven MaidenHeaven

    Drillers have been telling Wall Street investors and Washington policymakers that increased demand will raise prices. In part, that means building plants to export liquified natural gas, turning a domestic commodity into one that can be traded on the world market at higher prices. Those plans have drawn a variety of legal challenges and raised environmental concerns that have stalled expansion. Raising demand mostly means building fracked gas-fired power plants instead of turning to wind or solar energy.

    The price of natural gas is artificially depressed, distorting the economic picture right at the time that aging coal plants are being retired. But it cannot stay low forever, especially given the true costs of drilling and fracking that are beginning to come to light.

    When the music stops and the price of natural gas spikes, will public utilities have invested in renewables – or will we all be dependent on shale gas that is not only environmentally damaging, but also far more expensive than it seemed?

  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture

    We don't even need the grid. And we don't want electricity created by "any" dangerous means. It's time for elected leaders and scientists to work towards making the world safe, rather than trashing it.