The idea that Germany is playing catch-up with Europeâ€™s most promising strategy for renewable energy is jarring. This is Germany, after all, the country that 11 years ago put the Green Party in government, decided to phase out nuclear power, and pushed wind energy and photovoltaics to grid scale. Today Germanyâ€™s installed wind-turbine capacity of 24 gigawatts ranks second only to that of the United States (which has 25 GW). But despite the promises, greenhouse-gas emissions there havenâ€™t plummeted. Rather, they have gone down only slightly since 2000. Germany, it seems, has lost its groove.
The result is a turnabout that would have seemed preposterous even six months ago: â€Everyone in the environmental community is looking to the U.S. now,â€ says Elias Perabo, who codirects a campaign against the use of coal for Germanyâ€™s Berlin-based Climate Alliance. IEEE Spectrum
One problem is the old grid which is not capable of dealing with wind as a serious power source.Â Germany, like the US, has a legacy power grid that is designed around a few big stable power sources, but distributed energy resources (DERs) and especially sources like wind put very different stress on the system. Suddenly you need a lot of high speed, low-cost, distributed control systems – and they better be secure.