Re­new­ables lead Ger­many’s elec­tric­ity gen­er­a­tion for the first time ever

Business a.m. - - ENERGY, POWER & RENEWABLES -

RE­NEW­ABLES AC COUNTED FOR over 40 per­cent of Ger­man’s elec­tric­ity pro­duc­tion in 2018, gen­er­at­ing 219 ter­awatt hours (TWh) of elec­tric­ity, out of a to­tal na­tional power pro­duc­tion of 542 ter­awatt hours (TWh). It over­took coal as Ger­many’s main source of en­ergy for the first time, re­search has showed.

Ger­many, Europe’s big­gest econ­omy is hop­ing for re­new­ables to pro­vide 65 per­cent of its en­ergy by 2030 in a costly tran­si­tion as it aban­dons nu­clear power by 2022 and is de­vis­ing plans for an or­derly long-term exit from coal.

Ac­cord­ing to a re­search study car­ried out by the Fraun­hofer Or­ga­ni­za­tion of Ap­plied Sci­ence, coal plants run on im­ported hard coal con­trib­uted 75.7 ter­awatts hour (TWh), 13.9 per­cent of the to­tal elec­tric­ity gen­er­ated. It also showed that out­put of so­lar, wind, biomass and hy­dro­elec­tric gen­er­a­tion units rose 4.3 per­cent last year.

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

“We will not fall be­low the 40 per­cent in 2019 be­cause more re­new­able in­stal­la­tions are be­ing built and weather pat­terns will not change that dra­mat­i­cally,” he said.

Green power skep­tics say that out­put merely re­flects fa­vor­able weather pat­terns and does not prove the sec­tor’s con­tri­bu­tion to se­cure en­ergy sup­plies.

Elec­tric­ity gen­er­ated through so­lar power in­creased by 16 per­cent to 45.7 ter­awatts hour (TWh) due to a pro­longed hot sum­mer, while in­stalled ca­pac­ity ex­panded by 3.2 gi­gawatts (GW) to 45.5 gi­gawatts (GW) last year, ac­cord­ing to the Fraun­hofer data.

The wind power in­dus­try also pro­duced 111 ter­awatts hour (TWh) from com­bined on­shore and off­shore ca­pac­ity of just un­der 60 gi­gawatts (GW), con­sti­tut­ing 20.4 per­cent of to­tal Ger­man power out­put.

Wind power was the big­gest source of en­ergy after do­mes­ti­cally mined brown coal power which ac­counted for 24.1 per­cent.

Hy­dropower only ac­counted for 3.2 per­cent of power pro­duc­tion at 17 ter­awatts hour (TWh), as ex­treme sum­mer heat dried out rivers and was ac­com­pa­nied by low rain­fall. Biomass out­put con­trib­uted 8.3 per­cent.

Gas-to-power plants ac­counted for 7.4 per­cent of the to­tal; nu­clear en­ergy for 13.3 per­cent; with the re­main­der com­ing from oil and waste burn­ing.

The re­port also added that Ger­many ex­ported 45.6 ter­awatts hour (TWh) of power in 2018, mostly to the Nether­lands, while im­port­ing big vol­umes from France.

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