During the first half of 2012, the share of renewable energy sources in the electricity supply has risen significantly in Germany, rising to a sensational 25.97%. That’s a massive increase compared to 20.56%, the percentage during the same period in 2011, and 18.3% in H1 2010.
PV-Solar Contribution Increases 47%
In total, renewable energy sources produced 67.9 TWh (billion kWh). While all renewables have increased their share, there has been a significant change in the ranking of the different technologies, with PV-Solar(!) coming in 3rd, ahead of hydropower and right behind biomass (1% behind it).
Here’s a breakdown of the 26% between the different technologies and the changes compared to 1H 2011:
- Wind power with a share of 9.2% (+19.5%)
- Biomass with a share of 5.7% (+7.5%)
- PV-Solar with a share of 5.3% (+47%)
- Hydropower with 4.0% (+25%)
- Other Renewables 0.9% (+10%)
Of course, a part of the massive increase has been weather-related. For example, January was very windy compared to the last few years, and a bit more rain is the only reason hydropower increased its share. But, overall, the trend is clear, and all of these sources are here to stay.
Looking Back & Forward
While this new record share of renewables is just another step on the road towards a 100% renewable energy system, it’s with no doubt a big one. Not only did more than one quarter of all electricity come from renewable energy sources, but 22% of the entire electricity supply came from what was once called “alternative energy sources”.
Almost one decade ago, at the end of 2002, their share was just 3.8%. Back then, most renewable energy technologies were quite underdeveloped by today’s standards. Except for the wind power industry, the entire renewable energy industry was still in its infancy. One decade later, wind, biomass, and solar energy technologies have matured significantly and their contribution to the German electricity supply has increased by more than 18%.
Today, energy storage, the “missing link” of the 100% renewable energy system, is a lot more developed than solar power was in 2002. While research and development into the next generation of storage technologies has increased dramatically, investments do already pour into the commercialization of the latest existing technologies. A wide variety of companies and corporations have already started to invest heavily in the mass production of energy storage solutions, and huge battery factories are being opened around the globe.
Considering all this, how high will the share of renewable energy sources in Germany be by 2022?
In my opinion, 40% would be a very conservative estimate.
I am a close observer of the renewable energy revolution in my home country Germany and around the world. As a full-blooded enthusiast, I spend a lot of my spare time reading about the technological, political, social and cultural developments that drive the renewable energy revolution and their benefits to society. I studied media & computer science at university and work as a freelance graphic / interface designer. I love visualizing complex information, data, & the relationships that connect them to our world.