According to Reuters, the utilization of renewable energy in Germany totaled to 52.3% in the first six months of the current year (2023). The rate is around 3.1 percent higher than the previous year (2022).
According to BDEW (the German business organization for the energy and water industry) and ZSW (A leading institute for the Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research) the figure was 49.2 percent in last year.
The consumption of household electricity has fallen by 10.8% in the first 6 months. In 2023, electricity consumption including exports was recorded at 265.9 TWh (terawatt-hour). 1 TWh equals to one trillion watts per hour.
Nuclear, coal, natural gas, and oil were the conventional energy sources that produced 128.4 TWh of production. Germany is planning to reduce that amount to even more in future.
Key contributors to the increase
- Continued Wind Energy Expansion: Wind energy is an important contributor to Germany’s rise in renewable energy. Germany is constantly investing in its onshore and offshore infrastructure, which has resulted in substantial rewards in 2023. Wind power is being connected directly to the grid, enabling quick electricity transfer.
- Adaptation of Rooftop solar plants: The government promoted rooftop solar power plants and provided significant subsidies, making it cheaper for citizens to install them on their rooftops. It gradually became popular in Germany. In 2023, the number of solar systems installed are more than double that of 2022.
- Biomass and Hydropower: While wind and solar energy continue to dominate Germany’s renewable energy mix, biomass and hydropower continue to play important roles in the country’s clean energy transition. Germany has a well-established bioenergy sector that generates power and heat from organic waste and specialized energy crops. Furthermore, hydropower, primarily from small-scale plants contributes to a big portion of Germany’s renewable energy portfolio.
- Grid Modernization and Energy Storage: The government invested in smart grid technology, innovative storage solutions, and demand response systems to handle the intermittent nature of renewable sources. These efforts sought to improve grid flexibility, permit effective energy management, and provide customers with a dependable power supply.
- Clear roadmap: The present government has set a long-term goal of fully eliminating old ways of generating electricity by 2030 and running the entire country using green energy sources.
- Renewable Energy Act (EEG): The EEG is a key policy instrument that provides financial incentives for renewable energy projects. It guarantees fixed feed-in tariffs for power producers, ensuring stable and attractive returns on investments and encouraging the development of energy farms.
- Simplifying the process: The government has made it relatively simple for individuals to install these energy sources. Measures to streamline environmental evaluations, spatial planning, and public engagement procedures are included.
- Research and Development Funding: To achieve this aim, the government has invested much in research and development, resulting in the development of efficient ways for storing and generating power.
Reduced reliance on Russian gas
The Ukraine-Russia conflict served as a catalyst for Germany’s intensification of efforts towards embracing renewable energy alternatives, fostering a strategic departure from its historical reliance on Russian natural gas resources. This geopolitical turmoil underscored the vulnerability associated with energy dependencies on politically unstable regions. In response, Germany proactively expedited its transition to renewable energy sources, discerning the imperative of diversifying its energy portfolio to enhance resilience and bolster its energy security.
In a pivotal demonstration of this newfound direction, several prominent European corporations entered into contractual agreements with suppliers outside of the Russian sphere. This multifaceted approach aimed to insulate Germany and its European counterparts from the potential ramifications of any future disruptions in Russian gas supplies. These initiatives not only contribute to reducing the dependence on Russian gas but also align with broader strategic objectives of fortifying regional energy autonomy and sovereignty.
A notable milestone occurred in January 2023, as European firms collaboratively inked a substantial 20-year agreement with Venture Global. This significant step not only marked a divergence from conventional suppliers but also signaled a proactive stance towards embracing alternative, more stable energy sources. Furthermore, Germany and European nations have also forged liquefied natural gas (LNG) contracts with Qatar companies, further diluting the reliance on Russian gas.
This collective endeavor resonates beyond individual nation borders, reflecting a broader aspiration within the European Union to recalibrate energy sourcing dynamics. The quest for enhanced energy security, coupled with the aspiration to diminish geopolitical vulnerability, has fostered a shared commitment among member states to cultivate a diversified energy landscape. This cooperative approach collectively endeavors to mitigate potential geopolitical vulnerabilities while advancing the shared goal of a sustainable and secure energy future.
Job creation and Economic growth
Germany has done a great job separating economic growth from using a lot of energy. They’re making things that don’t harm the environment and using energy more efficiently. This has helped them come up with new ideas, make more jobs, and increase local money. So, changing how they use energy is helping Germany’s economy.
The “Energiewende” is a plan in Germany to become a leader in stopping climate change. They want to make and sell new technologies that help the environment. By using these new technologies and having strong climate rules, Germany aims to have an economy that doesn’t hurt the climate by 2045.
When Germany uses these environment-friendly technologies more and more, they’ll become a big market for these products. This can lead to more money for German businesses and industries, as well as more cooperation with other places to improve energy technology and trade agreements.
To do all of this, Germany needs to increase their use of clean energy, reduce pollution from factories and transportation, and find ways to store carbon. They want to make clean hydrogen and capture carbon to help with these changes.
Germany is also making sure people have jobs because of these changes. In 2020, around 300,000 jobs were in the renewable energy field. Some areas, like solar power, have had job losses due to competition from other countries, but Germany is trying to make itself a better place for these jobs. Even though there are changes happening in the job market, overall, taking strong action on climate helps the German economy and creates more jobs than it loses.
Goal for 2023
Germany has set an important target for the year 2030. Right now, about 52.3% of the energy they use comes from renewable sources like the sun and the wind. But they want to make that even higher – around 80%!
It might sound like a big jump, but the way Germany is going, it looks like they’ll reach this goal without too much trouble. They’ve been working really hard to use more clean energy, like from the sun and the wind. They’re putting up more solar panels and wind turbines, and they’re finding smart ways to use this energy.
If they keep going at this pace, they’ll become a leader in renewable energy around the world. Being a leader means showing others how to do things well, and Germany is doing just that. By using so much clean energy, they’re helping the environment by not making as much pollution. They’re also making sure they’ll have enough energy for the future, and that’s a big deal.
So, when 2030 comes around, it’s likely that Germany will have reached their goal of using 80% renewable energy. This will make them an example for other countries to follow, and it will make our planet a cleaner and safer place to live.
In summary, Germany’s achievement in increasing its renewable energy share has a positive impact worldwide. It inspires other nations, contributes to reducing global carbon emissions, drives technological advancements, stimulates economic growth, enhances energy security, and promotes international cooperation. By leading by example, Germany paves the way for a cleaner, more sustainable future on a global scale.