Eastern German transmission system operator 50Hertz during the first months of this year has integrated record amounts of wind and solar power into its grid without problems, and says a current decline in electricity demand due to the Covid-19 crisis is also well manageable.

Thanks to strong winds in northern coastal regions, wind and PV installations in February met on average 85% of the power needs in the transmission area covered by the TSO, which is in charge of the power grid in Eastern Germany and the country’s two largest cities, Berlin and Hamburg.

That compares to a renewables share in the company’s power mix of about 60% in normal times.

On March 23, 50Hertz was able to fully integrate a record 8.5GW of solar power into its grid without having to curtail any PV plant.

“These figures show clearly how professional our system management and our grid operations are,” said 50Hertz chief executive Stefan Kapferer.

“The current decline in power demand as a consequence of the corona pandemic measures is also well manageable for us.”

Temporary load or generation changes are basically compensated by efficient trading at the power exchange, and adapting to more or less short-term changes in supply and demand is one of the typical requirements for system management, Kapferer added.

50Hertz and Germany’s other three TSOs earlier this month had already said they are taking special precautions to protect their workforce from the novel coronavirus, potentially isolating employees for weeks at a time to ensure networks continue to function.

"However, we are monitoring the situation very closely and, if necessary, we are increasing our operating reserves,” Kapferer said.

Belgian TSO Elia is the majority owner of 50Hertz, holding an 80% stake in the German company.