Renewables Cover 44 Percent Of Germany’s Electricity Consumption
In the first half of 2019, solar, wind and other renewable sources accounted for 44 percent of the electricity consumed in Germany, marking a record high. Preliminary calculations by the Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW) and the German Federal Association of Energy and Water Management (BDEW) yielded this figure. Renewables had accounted for 39 percent of electricity consumption in the first half of 2018.
Onshore wind power remained the dominant source of eco-friendly electricity with 55.8 billion kilowatt (kWh) hours (H1 2018: 47.3 billion kWh, growth: 18 percent). Photovoltaic systems generated 24 billion kWh (H1 2018: 23 billion kWh). Offshore wind power again posted the steepest growth, rising 30 percent to 12 billion kWh (H1 2018: 9.2 billion kWh). Other renewable energies, mainly biomass and hydropower, accounted for 36.7 billion kWh (H1 2018: 37.2 billion kWh).
Renewables' high share of energy production in the first half of 2019 is also attributable to exceptional weather conditions. While March brought record-setting winds, the other months' wind yields consistently exceeded the long-term averages.
“This record for green electricity is an encouraging snapshot, but let it not obscure the fact that there are underlying structural problems. If we merely keep on with more of the same, we will end up with just 54 percent renewable energies in 2030. Some obstacles will have to be cleared to achieve the German government's 65 percent target figure needed for climate protection. These include the land restrictions imposed on onshore photovoltaic and wind power plants, and the expansion cap on offshore wind and photovoltaics plants that go beyond the tendering regime,” said Stefan Kapferer, Chairman of BDEW's General Executive Management Board, today in Berlin.
Prof. Frithjof Staiß, Managing Director of the ZSW, adds, "We urgently need a stronger expansion of renewable energies and greater energy efficiency in all sectors to achieve the climate protection target for 2030. We should adapt the political framework conditions to this end. One option is a CO2-based surcharge on fossil fuel prices for which consumers are reimbursed in other ways. The public can be expected to support actions taken to better protect the climate if the impact is cushioned to alleviate any social hardship.”
The Zentrum für Sonnenenergie- und Wasserstoff-Forschung Baden-Württemberg (Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg, ZSW) is one of the leading institutes for applied research in the areas of photovoltaics, renewable fuels, battery technology, fuel cells and energy system analysis. There are currently around 260 scientists, engineers and technicians employed at ZSW's three locations in Stuttgart, Ulm and Widderstall. In addition, there are 90 research and student assistants.
The ZSW is a member of the Innovationsallianz Baden-Württemberg (innBW), a group of 13 non-university, applied research institutes. The German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW), Berlin, represents over 1,800 companies. The range of members stretches from local and communal through regional and up to national and international businesses. It represents around 90 percent of the electricity production, over 60 percent of local and district heating supply, 90 percent of natural gas as well as 80 percent of drinking water extraction as well as around a third of wastewater disposal in Germany.