New research has revealed that renewables overtook coal as Germany’s main source of energy for the first time last year, accounting for just over 40% of electricity production.
The research was conducted by the Fraunhofer organisation of applied science and showed that output of solar, wind, biomass and hydroelectric generation units rose 4.3% last year to produce 219 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity.
Germany’s total national power production, derived from both green and fossil fuels, was 542 TWh, of which coal burning accounted for 38%. At just over 40%, green energy’s share of
The shift shows promising progress towards Europe’s biggest economy reaching its goal of sourcing 65% of its energy requirements from renewables by 2030 and abandoning nuclear power by 2022.
According to Reuters, sceptics have attributed the rise in renewable energy production to the favourable weather Germany experienced last year. As such, they say that this does not prove that the sector can provide reliable renewable energy supplies moving forward.
There is some merit to this argument; solar power, for example, increased by 16% to 45.7 TWh due to a prolonged hot summer. While wind power constituted the largest proportion of renewable energy, providing 111 TWh from combined onshore and offshore capacity.
However, hydropower production was limited by low rainfall and the extreme summer heat drying out rivers. The author of the Fraunhofer study, Bruno Burger, is also confident that Germany’s renewable energy production will stay above 40% this year.
“We will not fall below 40% in 2019 because more renewable installations are being built and weather patterns will not change that dramatically,” he said.
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