Graph of the Day: Germany’s record 85% renewables over weekend

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Germany achieves a record level of 85 per cent renewable energy generation on April 30 – part of the May 1 long weekend – with wind and solar providing significant lifts in output and along with biomass and hydro almost completely sidelining hard coal plants.

graph german

Patrick Graichen of Agora Energiewende Initiative, which provided these graphs, says a combination of breezy and sunny weather in the north and warm weather in the south saw Germany’s May 1 holiday weekend powered almost exclusively by renewable resources.

“Most of Germany’s coal-fired power stations were not even operating on Sunday April 30th, with renewable sources accounting for 85 per cent of electricity across the country,” he said. “Nuclear power sources, which are planned to be completely phased out by 2022, were also severely reduced.

Graichen says days like April 30 would be “completely normal” by 2030, as the federal government’s Energiewende (energy transition) initiative continues to add value to the wealth of resources invested in it.

germany more stats 85% weekend

These graph above show another view of the weekend, highlighting the big lifting wind and solar compared with the previous few days in the first graph (to left) and the fall in nuclear and coal (top right), the high level of exports to neighbouring countries (including nuclear France) and the fall into negative prices (bottom right).




  • Neville Bott

    There are some more detailed charts here if anyone is interested

    • Shane White

      Any showing power demand please Neville?

    • Ian

      Very nice link, thank you . Germany still uses about 5GW of gas, and this does not seem to vary , it appears to act as a baseload type generator. They still have scope for much more renewables installations, and although they seem well connected to neighbouring countries, they could benefit from battery type storage in EV and other stationary applications.

  • George Darroch

    I wouldn’t call biomass a ‘renewable’ energy source. It’s simply burning carbon and extracting the heat.

    • solarguy

      I understand what your thinking is George, but biomass is renewable and the co2 becomes part of the natural carbon cycle

      • Shane White

        Sure simply –
        1. Ensure harvested biomass doesn’t destroy any native habitat or compete with food crops.
        2. Ensure what you replant sequesters all the carbon generated by the biomass combustion (good luck with that).
        3. Scale it up to significant proportions
        4. Account for all transport of the biomass fuel (such as US forests to Drax power station in the UK).
        Gawd… what a nightmare.

        • D. John Hunwick

          Forget biomass unless it is a by-product of an existing industry. For God’s sake, wind and solar can be found everywhere.

          • Alastair Leith

            It can make scenes in a zero emissions economy not for general stationary energy but for backup during wind and solar droughts during winter and for liquid fuels where EVs aren’t possible (for now). Plantation trees on previously cleared land can help with dry-land salinity issues and make habitat corridors. So it has co-benefit too.

    • What about turning waste biomass into gas and liquid fuel? Isn’t this where some of our renewable energy is going to come from in future?
      Isn’t this where the “10” in e10 is coming from?

  • Shane White

    Is “nuclear France” a new country?

  • Shane White

    Does Germany’s energy revolution include an end to their coal financing?

    “Japan continues to be the worst G7 offender when it comes to public financing for coal projects, providing $22 billion from 2007 to 2015. Germany comes in second, providing $9 billion during the same period.”

    • Come, come now!

      This is unfortunately a slow battle. Subsidies for hard coal mining will expire in 2018 while brown coal continues to benefit from an absence of royalties. Over the next years, lignite power plant operators will be paid to close some units, rather than punished for keeping superfluous generators running. This effectively spells an additional subsidy, albeit one that will at least reduce emissions. German coal’s biggest advantage, however, remains the trifling penalty its pays for CO2. Europe’s carbon price of around 5 euros/t reflects a supply glut in the carbon market – but it bears no relation to the true value of these emissions in a world trying to limit climate change. Germany has backed EU measures to tighten carbon market supply. These ought to force prices higher. But the EU ETS also has a disappointing track record and there is no guarantee supply curbs will cause the kinds of prices that threaten German lignite. Meanwhile, Berlin has shied away from the kind of direct price controls that have helped the UK slash its coal generation by 80% within the space of a few years. Pressure for an orderly exit from coal generation is mounting in Germany (even among some utilities), but both major parties have distanced themselves from the idea. This year’s election offers some potential for change. As does the completion of the 2022 nuclear exit and the likely failure to meet the country’s 2020 climate target. Over the longer run, lignite is completely incompatible with a system of increasing solar and wind penetration. If the government doesn’t come up with a plan to end coal, the market will eventually do it rather brutally – but at needless expense in terms of unnecessary emissions, employment disruptions and energy security.

      • Shane White

        I was talking about Germany’s financing of coal overseas as detailed in the report I linked.

  • Scottar

    Graichen says days like April 30 would be “completely normal” by 2030

    What is he referring to there, that global warming will make this day normal? Absurd.

    And I hate sites that have little dinky graphs you can’t click on to enlarge, can’t tell crap from them.