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Germany Reached Nearly 75% Renewable Power Use On Sunday

Germany's renewable history (Chabon)

Germany’s renewable history.
Image Credit: Bernard Chabot

Distributed Renewable Energy results for 3 European nations

En route to its 2050 Energiewende goal of 80% of the nation’s power being supplied by renewables, especially spurred on by the phaseout of nuclear reactors, Germany broke another renewable energy record on Sunday, May 11, 2014. Europe’s biggest clean-energy market reached almost 75% renewable power market share noon on that day.

As the Disruptive Renewables chart created by Renewables International that is featured on the right shows, electricity prices went negative for much of the afternoon.

Renewables hit another record in the first quarter 2014 by supplying 27%—over one quarter—of Germany’s electricity demand. Bloomberg reports that the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW), which represents 1,800 companies, calculated that renewable generators produced 40.2 billion kWh of electricity this past quarter, up from 35.7 billion kWh in the same period last year. BDEW attributes the achievement to additional installations and favorable weather.

Bernard ChabotBernard Chabot, a well-known renewable energy consultant based in France, sees the 27% figure as indicative of renewable energy’s potential, as Kiley Kroh of ThinkProgress reports:

“Once again, it was demonstrated that a modern electricity system such as the German one can already accept large penetration rates of variable but predictable renewable energy sources such as wind and solar PV power.”

Renewable energy in Germany has grown tremendously in the past decade, with wind and solar the nation’s most productive technologies. (See lead graphic.) The 27% renewable power use amount is double the share of US electricity supplied by renewables recently.

As reported in Solar Love and this blog in March, the ECLAREON PV Grid Parity Monitor of parity proximity indicated that the PV Levelized Cost of Electricity in Germany, Italy, and Spain has reached retail parity with the grids in those nations. Commercial solar power there is no longer more expensive than conventional energy sources.

positioning matrix (Eclareon) [Grid parity is defined as the moment when PV LCOE becomes competitive with grid electricity prices. Once PV grid parity is reached, electricity consumers would be better off by self-consuming PV-generated electricity instead of purchasing electricity from the grid.]

Germany and Italy are better positioned than Spain, however, because of the latter nation’s lack of regulatory support for PV self-consumption. In fact, Spain has instituted retroactive solar feed-in tariff cuts and blocks individuals from using solar power not generated by the country’s official energy companies.

Germany and Italy have comparatively low PV installation prices. Each boasts a competitive system, low discount rates, and high retail electricity prices. Mexico, well positioned, is likely to reach parity next, and France, with a relatively neutral regulatory profile, soon afterward.

 
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covers environmental, health, renewable and conventional energy, and climate change news. She's currently on the climate beat for Important Media, having attended last year's COP20 in Lima Peru. Sandy has also worked for groundbreaking environmental consultants and a Fortune 100 health care firm. She writes for several weblogs and attributes her modest success to an "indelible habit of poking around to satisfy my own curiosity."

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