This electricity market analysis shows that the too rigid operating system of the lignite and nuclear power plants leads to high electricity export surpluses in Germany. The coal-fired power plants are operated in a more variable way, but their capacity reduction ability is not enough to achieve a balanced supply and demand situation in the electricity market in case of high wind energy and PV feed. For this, the output of the lignite and nuclear power plants would have to be adapted much more closely to the generation of electricity from renewable energies.
Over the past five years, German electricity export surpluses have increased almost tenfold. While they only amounted to 6.3 terawatt hours (TWh) in 2011, they rose to 53.7 TWh in 2016. This corresponds approximately to the total power generation of the five largest German nuclear power plants in 2016.