Germany leading the charge on renewables

stockyard hill, Germany, cattle hill, Dundonnell

Renewable energies collectively covered 38 per cent of Germany’s gross electricity consumption in the first three quarters of 2018, an increase of three per cent from last year, according to Germany’s Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research.

Unusually strong winds and unseasonably sunny days pushed renewables’ share up as high as 43 per cent in January, April and May.

Solar, wind and other renewable sources generated nearly 170 billion kilowatt hours (billion kWh) of electricity in the first three quarters of 2018 (Q1-3 2017: 155.5 billion kWh). Renewables are closing in on lignite and bituminous coal, which accounted for around 172 billion kWh of electricity, down nearly seven per cent from last year’s figure (Q1-3 2017: 184.0 billion kWh). Natural gas-fired electricity production also decreased by nearly eight per cent to around 59 billion kWh (Q1-3 2017: 63.6 billion kWh).

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Onshore wind power remained the leading source of renewable energy in the period under review with nearly 63 billion kWh, a 13 per cent increase from the same period last year (Q1-3 2017: 55.4 billion kWh). Photovoltaics posted the steepest growth, rising nearly 16 per cent to more than 41 billion kWh (Q1-3 2017: 35.6 billion kWh). Biomass came in third with around 34 billion kWh (Q1-3 2017: 33.4 billion kWh). A prolonged drought left hydropower in fourth place, with production dropping almost 10 per cent to around 13 billion kWh (Q1-3 2017: 14.9 billion kWh). Offshore wind contributed around 13 billion kWh (Q1-3 2017: 11.7 billion kWh).

Phasing out nuclear energy in Germany by 2022 is also expected to pave the way for non-hydro renewable technologies to dominate its power sector in the future, according to data and analytics company GlobalData.

The company’s latest report into the German energy sector reveals that the phased-out nuclear fleet is expected to be replaced almost exclusively by using non-hydro renewable technologies, which will contribute to more than 70 per cent in the capacity mix in 2030.

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