Thursday, July 17, 2014

The German Energiewende and Its Impact on the Global Energy Transformation

Goethe Institute
Eicke Weber, Fraunhofer-Institute and Albert-Ludwigs University, Freiburg

Consul:  380,000 new jobs in green energy sector in Germany

Weber: Fraunhofer is largest EU solar research institute and has grown 3x over the last decade
99.+% inverter efficiency from DC to AC 
Referenced Jeremy Rifkin's Third Industrial Revolution book
Energy is first step but all resources and materials use will have to change in a sustainable future
"Nuclear power fundamentally is not safe” says Dr Weber, a physicist, "and we don't need it any more."
Renewables have noticeable economic advantages
80-100% efficient renewables is the goal
Started in 2000 - 2002 with a gov/industry agreement on shutting down nuclear and feed-in tariffs for renewables
2008 EU adopted 20 20 20 program:  20% more efficiency, 20% more renewables, 20% less ghgs by 2020 compared to 2005
PV prices fell by a factor of 10 from 2002 to 2012 in part due to the large German market (and German tech went into Chinese solar factories)
Changing the structure of the utility business and increasing reluctance as utilities try to figure out a new business plan 
[RWE is beginning a solar leasing program]
Cornerstones:  efficiency, massive increase in all renewables (geothermal and Iceland mentioned), fast redevelopment of grid to be bidirectional, small and large scale energy storage, mobility as an integral part of energy system - he's now driving a hydrogen fuel cell car in Freiburg which has solar hydrogen fueling stations
Now over 25% renewables in Germany
Reached 100% daytime electricity from renewables on Pentecost and nukes had to pay people to take their energy, a negative price for energy
Combined cycle gas is the way to backstop renewables
PV market is now mono and multi silicon with thin film declining
As cumulative market doubled, the price drops by 20%, the trend over the last 33 years
For wind; each doubling of cumulative production the price drops by 8%
Wind and solar complement each other well he says
In Germany PV cost is $1.50 per installed watt for everything, per kWh cost for solar is half that of plug power, about $0.13
PV is not a commodity but a high tech product with many opportunities for new advances
Silicon PV efficiency at theoretical limit of 28% and record now at 25% for single layer PV 
Multi layer PV under concentration has a theoretical limit of 60% and Fraunhofer now has a cell at 44% efficiency (which needs clear blue sky and two axis tracking)