• 50Hertz chief executive can see German grid coping with a doubling of renewables

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      Patrick Lavery

      Combustion Industry News Editor

An interesting debate is underway in Germany, where grid operators have been scratching their heads trying to figure out how they would integrate the higher levels of renewable energies that the federal government wishes to pursue in order to meet its 2030 carbon emissions targets. While most grid operators have expressed concern at the challenges that a potential doubling of renewables in the energy sector to around 65% by 2030 would bring, saying that to integrate them would greatly increase grid management costs and require much new infrastructure, one operator, 50Hertz, has taken a contrarian position. Chief executive Boris Schucht has said that grid operators need to rethink the way the grid works, that the approach needs to change from ”from networks having to follow production capacity to renewables having to tap into where the networks are”. It is not entirely clear what Mr Schucht means by this comment, but he provided more detail by saying “I expect that […] there will be a new mix of measures, including installing more photovoltaics, more onshore wind also in the south and boosting networks with batteries.” This suggests an end to shedding of electricity produced by renewables when it is not required, with a focus instead on producing as much electricity as possible when the wind is blowing and the sun shining, and using it at the time or storing it in batteries for later use. Whether this would be economic or practical remains to be seen, but if it was the approach would likely be adopted by grid operators across the world. For his part, Mr Schucht is optimistic that Germany will be able to get close to 65% renewables by 2030.