“Record” wind and solar events vs. annual averages
Ever read a headline that says “Germany/Spain got 60-70% of their power from renewable sources?” See an example here. You should be a little skeptical. The truth is that a number of countries and territories are beginning to get really significant levels of energy from wind and solar. There are certain days, when those areas may be able to get a very significant portion of their energy (>50%) from wind and solar. Often in the spring, the demand is low, but the sun may be strong, and this drives a high percentage, such as the one that Germany had on Sunday, May 11, 2014 at 1pm where real time power needs (of 55 GW) were being supplied with 39% wind and 28% solar, for a total of 67%. I’ve gone ahead and charted those record days for Germany, Spain, Ireland, and California, and then compared to them to an annual average for overall energy production (2013 data). So while, Germany can get 67% of its power from wind and solar on particular hours of particular days, it only gets 12% of its energy from wind and solar on an annual basis. This gives a healthy perspective on things. I’ve recorded the dates and times of those record events in this table below as well.