As the share of renewables in Germany’s electricity mix approaches 30%, the country’s power grid appears to be going strong.
According to data released Friday by the Bundesnetzagentur (Germany’s grid regulator), the country’s power grid remained one of the world’s most reliable in 2013. In fact, total unplanned outage time was down from 21.53 minutes in 2006 to 15.32 minutes in 2013. Overall, these outage levels put Germany in the top five most reliable grids in Europe.
Furthermore, outages were down slightly from the 15.91 minute average in 2012. This level was one-sixth of the estimated 93 minutes of unplanned outages experienced in North America in 2012.
These reliability data appear to contradict claims that high levels of variable renewables in the electricity grid have led to a “destabilization” of the German power grid. However, Germany is still paying nearly the highest electricity rates found in Europe at 38 cents per kilowatt-hour ($0.38/kWh). By comparison, Germany’s rates are 63% higher than the United Kingdom.
In the United States, residential customers pay just under $0.13/kWh on average with wide variations between states. In Washington residential electricity rates sat at just under $0.09/kWh while Hawaii residents paid $0.37/kWh.