By Dan Cass.
Germany has set another record that shows how we can build a safe energy future. The German electricity grid was more reliable in 2011 and also had a greater proportion of solar and wind energy than ever before.
The Network Agency announced yesterday that the German grid only had a downtime of 15.31 minutes in 2011.
It is crucial that we accelerate the development of intelligent grid management technology. The ‘smart’ grid model means that we can have 100% renewable energy systems which balance the output of hundreds of thousands of local solar, wind and other generators.
The German reliability data demonstrates that this model is right. By way of contrast, Australia’s Energy Minister, Martin Ferguson, was allocated $1 billion dollars to develop smart, renewable energy grid technology and all he did was commission a million dollar study.
A smart grid connects up millions of generators and consumers through information technology, to maximise reliability. It will also allow vast improvements in efficiency, equity and cost control, which are the side benefits of dumping coal and nukes and embracing renewables.
It is important that the clean energy sector promotes the German example widely in the media and social media, because the allegation of unreliability is damaging. Most people love renewables, but they are swayed by claims that the technology is not able to provide secure, reliable energy.
As I have written before on Consultant Dan, if we look at the structure of public opinion in Australia, it shows that the vast majority of people want a switch from coal and gas to renewable energy.
- ‘Investing in renewable energy is good for people and the environment’ has 89% support
However the level of support drops when we move along a scale of questions that dig into the technological feasibility of renewable energy.
- ‘Renewable energy can be as reliable as other sources of energy’ has 68% support
(This poll was taken in Aug 2011).