Renewable energy in the European industrial power house of Germany has delivered 47 per cent of the country’s total electricity generation so far in 2019, with wind and solar alone combining for more than one third of total generation, and renewables outstripping fossil fuels for seven months in a row.
This year has seen a significant change in Germany’s electricity mix after years of relatively slow progress that was partially caused by a reassessment of nuclear after the Fukushima disaster and the decision to close some reactors.
This first graph, sourced from the renowned Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems, and via researcher Bruno Burger, shows the share of generation for the first nine months of 2019.
Wind emerges as the biggest single source of electricity for the year to date, followed by brown coal and then nuclear, with solar just head of gas and black coal and biomass. The “variable” sources of wind and solar accounted for 34 per cent of total generation over the nine months.
Indeed, coal generation has slumped dramatically this year, by more than 20 per cent. Most of that has come from black coal, but the share of brown coal is also falling significantly hit by a European carbon price that finally has some bite as well as the growing influence of renewables.
Germany has vowed to exit all coal generation by 2038 at the latest, and is being urged to so earlier. Negotiations are currently being held with the existing coal generators about compensation. So, while the Australian government considers offering incentives for coal generators to stay on line, the German government is considering incentives for them to shut down.
Germany has a target of reaching 65 per cent renewable energy generation by 2030, a task that should be readily achievable given the recent increase in renewables share, despite the relatively slow pace of recent additions.
The latest jump in renewables share is the biggest since 2003, when the country sourced just 8.5 per cent of its electricity generation from renewables.