Germany's vigorous efforts to raise its use of renewables has led to a situation in which utilities have at times been compelled to pay customers to take on their surplus power in order to avoid gumming up the grid.

While renewable energy frees countries from their dependence on fossil fuels and has demonstrable benefits for the environment, it can also be highly fickle due to its dependence upon changeable weather conditions, creating the dilemma of a either potential surplus or dearth of power at any given time. This problem…