German Renewables Record Probably Won’t Last Long in Green Push

Germany’s latest wind and solar power record is unlikely to be the last as the nation deepens its commitment to a low-carbon economy in the face of U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to quit the Paris climate accord.

Clean power supplied two-thirds of Germany’s power at one point on Wednesday, with wind and solar generation exceeding the output of more than 50 nuclear reactors as warm, blustery weather crossed the country. In Britain, the same conditions meant wind, solar and nuclear generation exceeded the combined output of natural gas and coal for the first time.

Germany’s power from renewables may jump to a record 35 percent or more of the nation’s power consumption and will continue to add wind and solar installations through an auction system that has already resulted in subsidy-free green energy. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said last week she’ll rally Europe and the world behind the Paris deal, calling it “irreversible” even after Trump’s pullout.

“Germany is not taking its foot of the gas pedal in terms of renewable auctions,” Elchin Mammadov, analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence, said by phone from London. “So we will see more records going forward.”

Wind and solar output climbed to total 52 gigawatts at 1:30 p.m. Berlin time on Wednesday when sunshine was at its peak, according to grid company data provided by the European Energy Exchange. Consumption was 78 gigawatts at the same time. One gigawatt is enough to power 2 million European homes. 

Power prices turned negative Wednesday, dropping to as low as minus 50 euros (-$57) a megawatt-hour between 3pm and 4pm, according to data from the Epex Spot SE power exchange in Paris. Day-ahead rates for Wednesday dropped to the lowest for a working day in at least 17 years.

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