Two German states already 100 percent renewable net for electricity

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Renewables International

In 2015, the German states of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Schleswig-Holstein generated more renewable power than households and businesses in each state consumed.



Germany has 16 states, three of which are city-states, leaving us with 13 Flächenländer (which could be roughly translated as states that are not only urban areas). In the countryside, renewable energy production is easier than in developed areas, and population density – and hence, power consumption – is lower. So it’s natural for rural states to reach 100 percent renewable electricity first.

Back in 2014, I wrote about how Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (which borders the Baltic and Poland) had already reached 120 percent renewable electricity for 2013 as a whole. Essentially, the state exports quite a bit of electricity. Furthermore, the calculation is net; the state is reliant on neighboring areas at times of low wind and solar power production in particular.

 In 2015, the state increased its net share of renewables in power supply to 130 percent (report in German). Onshore wind made up roughly 2.6 TWh of the total of 4.9 TWh, followed by power from biomass at 2.3 GWh, PV at 1.2 TWh, and 0.6 TWh of offshore wind.

Schleswig-Holstein is another German state to watch. Located along the North Sea and bordering Denmark, this state had 78 percent renewable power in 2014 – but it apparently reached 100 percent net last year (report in German). If heat and mobility are included, however, the share drops to 24 percent – much lower, but still considerably above the German average of 14 percent.

Biomass made up 46 percent of this energy, followed by 44 percent wind power and 10 percent other. The state has a target of 300 percent renewables.

Source: Renewables International. Reproduced with permission.  

  • Roslyn3077

    The article leads one to believe that Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, being at 130% renewable, does continuously export 30% of its energy. In fact, it is safe to assume that Mecklenburg-Vorpommern imports a considerable amount of energy (when its 130% renewable is not generating sufficiently). True or false?

    • david_fta

      You’re correct about net surplus being the difference between periods of net power export from the state and net power import to the state, so the figures trumpeted here are more about avoided CO2 production than about stand-alone cessation of CO2 production.

      The Good News is, the latter (cessation of CO2 production) will eventuate fairly soon through combinations of
      1) ever-increasing installation of (intermittent) generating capacity,
      2) ever-expanding expansion of network transmission from areas of surplus power production to areas of net power demand, and
      3) ever-increasing installation of storage (batteries) so net power demand may be met by previously stored surplus power production.

    • Craig Morris

      Is it true that the article leads you to believe that the state “continuously exports 30% of its energy”? (Note: the article is about electricity, not energy.) Or did you not read the following from the article: “Essentially, the state exports quite a bit of electricity. Furthermore, the calculation is net; the state is reliant on neighboring areas at times of low wind and solar power production in particular.”

  • neroden

    Worth noting that these states both have absolutely terrible sunlight. Pretty good wind, though.

  • sunoba

    Oh to live in Germany. I read the linked report in German about the electricity production in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. The State speaker for energy politics, roughly equivalent to Mark Bailey in Queensland, talks about their great success (renewable energy production is net 130% of total consumption), and looks forward eagerly to contributing more to the national effort. And what happens in Australia where we are awash with renewable energy options? Approve the biggest coal mine in the world! Weep!