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Germany’s Energiewende Is Very Much Alive & On Track

Originally published in the ECOreport.

 Wind Power Generators: “Looking at these generators makes me wonder why people would rather have coal-fired power plants than wind power. They are located all around the place where I’m staying, at a typical distance of 2 km. and make little to no noise.” – photo by thskyt, CC by SA 2.0

Wind Power Generators: “Looking at these generators makes me wonder why people would rather have coal-fired power plants than wind power. They are located all around the place where I’m staying, at a typical distance of 2 km. and make little to no noise.” Photo by thskyt, CC BY-SA 2.0

Renewable sources contributed 27% of Germany’s domestic electricity in the first quarter of 2014. In windy Schleswig-Holstein, which obtained 90% of its energy from renewable sources in 2013, residents hope to reach 100% this year. The role played by fossil fuels and the nuclear sectors is shrinking. Contrary to what naysayers have been predicting, Germany’s Energiewende is very much alive and on track.

Schleswig-Holstein (dark green) – by David Liuzzo, CC by SA 2.0, en Wikipedia

Schleswig-Holstein (dark green) – by David Liuzzo, CC BY-SA 2.0

The biggest “winners” in the first quarter were solar power, whose overall production was up 82.5%, and offshore wind, up 33%.

Natural gas production was down 19.7%, hard coal down 17.4%, and nuclear energy down 4.6%.

The biggest story is from Schleswig-Holstein, where the addition of 1.1 GW of wind capacity has made it possible to achieve 100% renewable electricity. Robert Habek, the little state’s Minister of Energy, said that will happen if this year’s wind yields are at least average.

“Over the next 10 years Schleswig-Holstein expects to increase the share of renewable energy sources in the gross electricity consumption to 300%, meeting 8% of the total German electricity needs,” wrote Matthias Laing on the German Energy Blog.

This would be triple the installed wind capacity from 2012.

Schleswig-Holstein intends to double its solar capacity during the same period.

Robert Habeck, Landwirtschafts- und Umweltminister von Schleswig-Holstein - Photo by GrüneSH, CC by SA 3.0, en Wikipedia

Robert Habeck, Landwirtschafts- und Umweltminister von Schleswig-Holstein. Photo by GrüneSH, CC BY-SA 3.0

Meanwhile the first draft of bill amending Germany’s Renewable Energy Source’s Act has been introduced to the German Parliament. Schleswig-Holstein has asked that it be amended so that wind facilities installed in 2014 still receive subsidies. A “breathing cap” is to be introduced whereby financial support for wind power will be reduced quarterly as of 2016. The amount is to be adjusted up or down, according to need.

Germany is one of the few Western European nations whose fossil fuel reserves are not close to exhaustion. It may have enough coal to last another century.

Nevertheless the installation of 4,000 solar-plus-battery systems would seem to herald the beginning of a new era. Germany may meet its goal of deriving 100% of its energy from renewable sources, without a fossil fuel back-up, by 2050.

 
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Written By

is the President of Cortes Community Radio , CKTZ 89.5 FM, where he has hosted a half hour program since 2014, and editor of the Cortes Currents (formerly the ECOreport), a website dedicated to exploring how our lifestyle choices and technologies affect the West Coast of British Columbia. He writes for both writes for both Clean Technica and PlanetSave on Important Media. He is a research junkie who has written over 2,000 articles since he was first published in 1982. Roy lives on Cortes Island, BC, Canada.

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