The Green Initiative in Europe has had mixed reviews, and is eyed with much skepticism by many. However, Germany is reporting successes that could lead to the closing of some fossil fuel plants. This is according to TckTckTck, an online magazine with the subtitle “The Global Call for Climate Action”.
One of the utility companies in Germany, RWE, has announced as of this August that it will close some of its power plants that are being fueled by gas and coal. The company says that these plants are no longer competitive. RWE stated that the shutdown represents 6% of their total capacity, or 3.1 GW of electricity.
While the first instinct may be to assume that the plants are outdated and in need of repair, RWE stated that the shutdown is actually due to the “boom in solar energy.”
“Due to the continuing boon in solar energy, many power stations throughout the sector and across Europe are no longer profitable to operate. During the first half of 2013, the conventional power generation division’s operating result fell by almost two-thirds.”
RWE is not the only power company shutting down plants because of the success of solar energy. It’s biggest competitors, E, has shuttered 6.5 GW of capacity. There is no word if they have done so for the same reason.
The month of July was a record breaking month for solar energy, with 5.1 terawatt hours gathered strictly from solar panels. This not only broke the monthly record for solar power collection, it beat the record with a 42% increase over July of last year. By contrast, wind turbines produced 5 terawatt hours on the last recorded month in January.
Critics said that solar power would never work in Germany, which gets roughly ½ of the sunshine that other parts of the world receive. However, 2013 has been a particularly sunny year. Combine that with the fact that just over ½ of all businesses and homes now use solar panels, you have a record breaking year for solar energy. The renewable resource is so popular that the price of installing solar equipment has decreased.
With a significant portion of fossil fuel power plants being shut down, it begs the question, “What happens in 2014 if it’s not a sunny year?”
That is one of the persistent problems with renewable energy. Of course, we can use it while it’s there, but what supports the infrastructure that provides power when the elements fail?
All the more reason to cheer on the development of Andrea Rossi’s E-Cats. This eco-friendly source of power isn’t dependent on particular weather conditions.