Solar Eclipse Not a Problem for German Grid Managers

For the last month, there has been a lot of hyper-ventilating about what would happen to Germany’s electric dispatch system with today’s eclipse of the sun.  Germany has the highest penetration of solar electrical generation in the world, and the media (more than a little of it “fossil-fueled”?) was touting Germany’s “vulnerability” to catastrophe.

So what happened?  As it turns out, not so vulnerable.

Here’s the real world from Reuters:

Electrical grids in Europe claimed success on Friday in managing the unprecedented disruption to solar power from a 2-1/2-hour eclipse that brought sudden, massive drops in supply.

Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, at the heart of the event, boasts the world’s biggest solar-powered installations, which last year supplied 6 percent of national power requirements.

The initial 13 gigawatts (GW) drop in Germany was less than operators had feared and they were able to draw on alternative power sources including coal, gas, biogas and hydroelectric energy pumped from storage.

Grid spokespeople said control rooms were tense. “The mood is concentrated but confident that it will go smoothly,” said Andreas Preuss, spokesman of TenneT peer Amprion, which operates the longest network inside Germany.

“Network frequency is stable, reserve load is being called on,” one of the four high-voltage grid firms, TenneT, said in a live webfeed.

Naturally, grid managers would be “tense” because this is a significant event that they have never experienced before, but there is still lots of non-solar generation capacity to be deployed.  Germany has one of the most extensive and sophisticated load management systems in the world, which was available as well.

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