Written by on April 11, 2023

A twitter post claiming that renewable energy is unreliable is false.

“Renewable energy is unreliable. Certainly, when you need energy in winter time,” states the claim.

According to BloombergNEF, the cell densities of lithium-ion batteries have almost tripled, and there has also been a decline in their cost by almost 90% in the previous decade. This is making it easier smoothing out the peaks and troughs of generations to meet the shifts and cycles of demand. Over the same time frame, there has also been a drop in the cost of renewable sources by as much as 82%, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). IRENA states that further improvements, that is to both generation and storage will further drive down costs, hence making renewable energy even more attractive to the consumer.

The average power outage duration experienced by each customer in a year is the indicator most often used to measure grid reliability. This metric is known as “System Average Interruption Duration Index” (SAIDI). For instance, Germany, where renewables supply almost half of the country’s electricity, boasts of one of the most reliable grids in Europe and the World. In 2020 in Germany, SAIDI was only 0.25 hours. According to the data from the World Bank, just Liechtenstein (0.08 hours), as well as Switzerland and Finland (0.2 hours) did better in Europe, where electricity generation in the year 2020 was 38% renewable, which is ahead of the world’s 29%. Countries that are far more reliant on nuclear power such as France (0.35 hours) and Sweden (0.61 hours) did worse.

In the USA, renewable energy and nuclear power each provide about 20% of electricity and in 2020, it had five times Germany’s outage rate, that is 1.28 hours according to the data from the world bank’s Data Bank. In Germany, the renewable share of electricity generation has almost quadrupled, whereas its power outage rate has almost halved. The Texas grid became more stable as its wind sextupled from 2007 to 2020. To date, Texas generates more wind power, which makes about a fifth of its total electricity compared to any other state in the USA.

Source: EIA

We looked into this claim stating that renewable energy is not reliable and found it to be false.

This fact-check was produced by Sky 106.1 FM with support from Code for Africa’s PesaCheck, International Fact-Checking Network, and African Fact Checking Alliance network.

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