How much renewable energy is being fed into the grid right now?

The Bundesnetzagentur publishes data about the electricity market virtually in real time on its SMARD online platform. The SMARD platform provides information about the amount of electricity that is being fed into the grid, consumed or exported as well as on wholesale prices and back-up capacity, and has made it into the final round of the Digital Leader Awards.

Woman sitting on a couch using a tablet.© iStock/shapecharge

SMARD provides real-time or at least ‘near real-time’ information about the electricity market. The data provided can be used as needed to create graphs, for example to look at how the renewables generation curve approaches the electricity consumption curve on a sunny, windy day and the impact this is having on wholesale prices, electricity exports and back-up capacity. All data on renewables generation, consumption, market and systems stability can be accessed as and combined into graphs for different time periods starting January 2015.

There were three times in the first half of 2018 when renewables were able to cover all of Germany’s electricity demand

The online platform is an easy-to-use repository of information for anyone taking an interest in the energy transition. Under ‘German electricity market’, users of SMARD can see how much electricity is being exchanged with a particular neighbouring country and at what price, and how much electricity the larger power plants are feeding into the grid right at that moment. The ‘Electricity market explained’ section provides information about the most important energy-related terms and concepts in a way that requires no prior knowledge of energy. And under ‘Electricity market topics’, users can find information, for example, on the new records for renewable energy that have been set. When was Germany last able to cover all of its electricity demand from renewable energy? The answer: it was on 1 and 21 May 2018. A closer look at the interactive visuals shows that renewables were able to cover all of Germany’s electricity demand for two hours – starting at 13:15 hrs – on 1 May (as can be seen here), and for one and a half hours – from 13:15 hrs to 14:45 hrs – on 21 May (as can be seen here). On both of these days, the share of solar energy was particularly high. The first time renewables were able to cover all of Germany’s electricity demand in 2018 was right at the beginning of the year – for one hour and 45 minutes, before dawn (as can be seen here) – on a day when lots of wind energy was generated.

Visualising how the electricity market works

By setting up the SMARD platform, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and Bundesnetzagentur wanted to make electricity market data more transparent and easier to understand. The platform aggregates the most important electricity market data that persons interested in this data would otherwise have to collect from a wide range of different sources. All of the major market mechanisms can be visualised. The SMARD platform was chosen as one of the three best projects in the "Digitize Society" category at the Digital Leader Awards. The Digital Leader Award honours projects that help roll out digital technology in businesses, public sector authorities and society as a whole. In the "Digitize Society” category, the jury honours projects that have the potential to benefit the general public. On the SMARD platform, citizens can trace the progress of the energy transition virtually in real time. This fact combined with the user-friendliness of the platform convinced the jury to select SMARD as one of the three best projects in the "Digitize Society” category.