Though black-outs are common occurrences in North America, they are virtually unknown in Germany. Philip Hiersemenzel of the Berlin-based storage pioneer Younicos, explained this is “because our grid is very strong am there are lots of fall back options.” How important is it when the first European battery park black starts the grid?
On any given day, half a million North Americans go through a blackout that lasts 2 to 4 hours. The US economy loses $150 billion a year through these incidents. Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, the average Western European loses minutes, rather than hours, through annual power loses. The average German hasn’t experienced 20 minutes of per customer annual power losses for years and, in 2014, Germany broke the 12 minute barrier.
Close to 29% of Germany’s electricity, during the first half of 2014 came, from renewable sources. It was a new record. Ironically, the story was released the same day that Bloomberg published: German Utilities Bail Out Electric Grid at Wind’s Mercy. Listening to some of the critics of Energiewende, one sometimes gets the impression the nation’s utilities are on the verge of collapse. In reality, Germany has one of the World’s most efficient grids.