The experience of the German Energiewende shows that increasing amounts of renewable energy on the power system, while at the same time reducing inflexible baseload generation, does not harm reliability write Michael Hogan, Camille Kadoch, Carl Linvill and Megan O’Reilly of the Regulatory Assistance Project (RAP). American policymakers who are still skeptical can look across the Atlantic, to Germany, for a concrete example of a successful transition away from traditional baseload, the authors note. Numerous studies sponsored by utilities, system operators, the national labs, and others show that a large share of variable renewable energy production can be integrated while keeping the lights on, without any valuable role for traditional baseload. No study, not even by the US Department of Energy, which examined this issue in an August 2017 Staff Report on Electricity Markets and Reliability, has found evidence that baseload generation is required for reliability. Most studies have found that reliability and least cost are best served by reducing the share of inflexible baseload generation. Germany is meeting nearly a fifth of its electricity requirements with VREs while retiring inflexible thermal generation, the nation has not experienced reliability problems on either the distribution or bulk electric system. If anything, government data show that the reliability of the German system has increased.
Energy Post 12th March 2018 read more »