Renewables overtake coal as main power source in Germany

Rodiano Bonacci
Gennaio 6, 2019

The European nation aims for renewables to provide 65% of its energy by 2030 and hopes to abandon nuclear power entirely by 2022.

According to the Fraunhofer Institute, Germany's renewable power sector produced more electricity than coal in 2018 for the first time ever, with renewables providing 40 percent of the year's produced electricity and coal providing 38 percent. The Fraunhofer organization of applied science showed that the output of solar, wind, biomass and hydroelectric generation units rose 4.3 percent previous year to produce 219 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity.

Green energy's share of Germany's power production has risen from 38.2 percent in 2017 and just 19.1 percent in 2010. Bruno Burger, the author of the Fraunhofer study, said it was set to stay above 40 percent this year.

Reuters notes that critics are claiming favorable weather patterns, rather than sustainable growth, helped the country produce more renewable energy this year than last year.

Solar power increased by 16% to 45.7TWh due to a prolonged hot summer, while installed capacity also expanded by 3.2GW to 45.5GW. Lignite or brown coal powder remains the largest single energy supplier, accounting for 24.1 percent of Germany's energy in 2018.

Coal plants run on imported hard coal contributed 75.7 TWh, or 13.9 percent of the total. Coal plants accounted for 13.9 percent, solar energy accounted for 8.4 percent, gas-to-power plants contributed 7.4 percent and hydropower made up 3.2 percent of Germany's total energy supply.

Germany was a net exporter of 45.6 TWh of power in 2018, mostly to the Netherlands, while importing big volumes from France.

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