Over the past years the German state of Hesse has been plagued by power outages, Hessen public television (HR) reported here, as it pondered why Hesse has become so prone to blackouts. HR cites the Bundesnetzagentur (Federal Grid Agency), which says there are over 172,000 power outages annually, which is some 470 daily, and that last winter multiple power plants had to be switched simultaneously because “the German grid was on the brink of collapse.”...
?? The German grid is pretty reliable, and in 2017 had a power quality index that was the same as the US (6.9) per Statista. Germany had an average of 23 minutes of outages per year per customer; the USA had 240, indicating that on average availability is higher in Germany than in the US. Those facts support this statement in a Fortune article:
https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/pl ... -reliable/
https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/response ... el-shugar/
http://fortune.com/2017/03/14/germany-r ... rgy-solar/
From a purely technological perspective, the energy transition has already been a stunning success. It has shown that German engineering can manhandle Mother Nature and power a major chunk of an industrial economy with clean energy from the sky rather than dirty energy from the ground. Enough renewable energy was produced in Germany in 2016 to cover 32% of the country’s electricity consumption, a staggeringly large proportion by global standards.
In doing that, Germany has demolished one of the most fundamental reservations about alternative energy: that wind and solar power are too flaky to be relied on. A breezeless day or sudden clouds can interrupt them, making them, critics said, too unreliable to supply more than a token portion of a nation’s energy supply. But even with all that erratic wind and solar energy stuffed into the system, Germany continues to operate one of the most reliable electricity grids in the world. Blackouts remain as rare in the world’s fourth-largest economy as late trains or bad beer.
Note that (as the Fortune article mentions) this does not come cheap; Germany is spending a huge amount on renewables, and it's questionable whether they will be able to continue that expenditure. If they do, and their grid continues to move towards 100% renewables, then they will be seen as the pioneers in the field, and the world will reap the rewards in three ways - less pollution overall, lower prices (since the first one to do anything always pays a premium) and lessons on how to do it right. If they fail, the benefits will be fewer - namely, lower prices and what NOT to do.
But there's no indication that any of this has hit grid reliability; in fact, the opposite has occurred. As in the US, the buildout of the smart grid (largely to handle renewables) has improved reliability and reduced downtime.
The article you posted claimed the opposite. So where did that stat come from? I checked the sources from the story. Here's one claim:
"To illustrate how far along the road to disaster Germany’s once impeccably stable grid has come, the online hessenschau.de here reports that for the second time in a just few days the central city of Wiesbaden has seen its power black out. "
I checked the source. It's a story about how 3500 people lost power for 2 hours in Weisbaden due to a short circuit in a substation; nothing to do with renewable energy. Weisbaden has a population of 275,000. So 1.2% of a city lost power for 2 hours due to a short. Doesn't seem like much of an indictment against renewable energy.
"Over the past years the German state of Hesse has been plagued by power outages, Hessen public television (HR) reported here, as it pondered why Hesse has become so prone to blackouts. HR cites the Bundesnetzagentur (Federal Grid Agency), which says there are over 172,000 power outages annually, which is some 470 daily, and that last winter multiple power plants had to be switched simultaneously because “the German grid was on the brink of collapse.” "
Let's look at the original article:
"Although the German electricity grid is considered one of the best in the world, the Federal Network Agency registers 172,600 interruptions each year."
No mention at all that the "the German grid was on the brink of collapse."
Those were the only two sourced claims in the article, and both said pretty much the opposite of what the article suggests - that "no one knows if [their grid] is going to work at all. It is wild experimentation, and not engineering." That Germans "would be left out in the cold. This is the utopia that green bureaucrats are bringing to Germany." Indeed, one quoted article mentions that the German grid is considered one of the best in the world.
So it's pretty clear that the author posted links to the original articles (in German) hoping no one would check. But why do that?
Then I checked into the "notrickszone" webside. It's a website that promotes climate change denial. The current top-page article includes the following conclusion:
"The manipulative character of the agitation is demonstrated by the fact that the most important arguments held by climate skeptics find no mention whatsoever, for example the fluctuating long-term solar activity in combination with the amplification mechansim as to Svensmark, the oscillating ocean currents on decadal scales , the obviously hyped CO2 climate sensitivity in the IPCC models, the refuted water vapor feedback and – last but not least – the inability by the CO2 alarmists to successfully model the strong natural variations of the Holocene climate."
So now the slant in the article makes sense. Renewable energy is one way to mitigate climate change; spread misinformation about how dangerous renewable energy is and you can "strike a blow" against climate change science, or at least weaken the world's ability to fight it. And that, apparently, was the goal of the article, and why they were "loose" with their interpretations of the quoted articles.