Germany Will Reach 33% Renewable Electricity This Year

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Originally published on the ECOreport

On July 25, 2015, Germany obtained 78% of its electricity from renewable sources. That was a new record, albeit for a single day. Up until now, the European leader has not produced more than 27% green energy in a year. According to a joint press release from the Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden – Württemberg ( ZSW ) and the German Association of Energy and Water Industries ( BDEW ), Germany will reach 33% renewable electricity this year

A Preliminary Estimate

16363111872_cf251a355d_k-1038x576Germany is expected to produce around 193 billion kilowatt hours (billion kWh) of electricity from solar, wind and other renewable sources. That’s about one fifth more than the 161 billion kWh, or 27% of gross electricity consumption, in 2014.

Though this is a preliminary estimate, on 31 October 2015 wind energy had already supplied 47% more electricity (63 billion kWh) than during the same time period in 2014.

Though the late autumn weather tends to be unpredictable, Germany’s solar sector has already provided as much electricity during that 10 month period (35 billion kWh) as the whole of 2014.

Renewables Continue To Grow In Importance

19490390425_ad57b5ee40_k“Regardless of the exact ratio come the end of the year, it has been made clear once again that renewable energy continues to gain importance in the German electricity mix. At the same time, the need for action to integrate renewable energy into the overall power generation system grows: The appropriate design of the necessary structures must be expedited urgently. The BDEW [German Association of Energy and Water Industries] has already put forward constructive recommendations. Furthermore, no time must be lost in the expansion of the transmission and distribution networks,” says Hildegard Müller, chair of the BDEW management board.

Frithjof Staiß, executive director of the Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research ZSW, adds: “If renewable energies now meet one third of electricity demand, it is clear that this element of the Energiewende [Germany’s energy transition] is on a promising path. The rising share from renewable sources makes Germany less dependent on fossil fuels, thereby helping it to achieve its climate protection targets. Nevertheless, further efforts are needed which go beyond power generation alone: Electricity, heat and mobility need to be linked more closely with each other and optimized as an integrated system.”

“Even if we don’t hit 33%, the overall increase in Germany’s renewable energy share is terrific news,” said Thomas Grigoleit, Director of Energy, Environment and Resources at Germany Trade and Invest. “Not only does it show how important this aspect is in terms of Germany’s Energiewende and climate change targets, it confirms Germany’s pioneering position in the industry. Germany is able not only to install this capacity but integrate it effectively into the grid.”

Top Photo Credit: Morning full of Energy by Matthias Ripp via (CC by CA, 2.0 License); Rural road, corn fields and wind turbines near Wismar on the Baltic coast by Klaas Brumann via Flickr (CC BY SA, 2.0 License)

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Roy L Hales

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 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.

Roy L Hales has 441 posts and counting. See all posts by Roy L Hales

10 thoughts on “Germany Will Reach 33% Renewable Electricity This Year

  • Even if not exactly 33%, this is still good news. At the current rate of progress, Germany should be at above 40% electricity generation from RE by 2020 at the latest.
    50% by 2025 easily, perhaps 60-70% *electricity* by 2030, which suggests they might hit 40% *energy* from Renewable sources by the same date.

    • While I would like to see a 40% RE share of primary energy in 2030, IMHO this is too optimistic – we are at 13% in 2015. You only reach a high share by reducing the heat demand of buildings (1% construction/deep refitting rate) or by replacing ICEs with EVs, both processes are slow. Biomass is limited and should be used as chemical feedstock, not for generating electricity or heat at low temperatures.

      • You are sort of correct, but you forget the accounting system that goes on with Final Energy Consumption (FEC).

        This includes the 50-60% of Energy we throw away as waste heat in thermal power generation.

        Now given that you are at ~30% electricity already, an increase to say, ~60% by 2030 would result in (a) a big reduction in overall energy use and (b) an increase in the *share* from RE.

        This is without even considering the inroads the EVs and building retrofits will have on FEC.

        Here we go: ~20% of FEC is electricity generation (IEA numbers).

        You already generate 30% of that 20% from RE so 6% of FEC is electricity generation from RE.

        Let’s assume that in the next 15 years, RE goes from 30% generation to 60% of electricity generation, i.e. 30% further and thus another 6%, but….60% of energy is thrown away when generating electricity through thermal power generation (and use 40%), so actually you lower FEC by 9% (because you no longer throw this away).

        Thus you have 13% (currently)+6%/91% of current FEC ~21% of energy.

        EVs are even better, because ~80% of energy is thrown away, so for every EV on the road, you reduce FEC by a factor of 4x the energy use

        These are just very rough calculations of course.

        • It would be much simpler if everybody adopted the useful energy metric (“energy services “) of the LLNL flowcharts: that used to do work in heating, cooling, running machinery and moving stuff around. Primary energy consumption is clear enough, but FEC is a dog’s dinner.

          • Agreed on energy accounting. FEC is a mess. But it’s what everyone (EIA/IEA/REN21 etc) seem to use as the metric.

            We just need to keep reminding ourselves that the share of RE in terms of total energy is going to look poor until it gets close to the 30/40% mark and then things will start to change quickly due to the accounting system.

            I read you article earlier. Very nice and informative.

        • Germany’s final energy is:

          600 TWh electricity
          600 TWh fuel

          1500 TWh heat (of this 500 TWh at higher temperatures, 1000 at temperatures < 100 °C, mainly space heating).

          You see that improving the primary energy factor of electricity (at the moment 2.3) does not chance the picture that much, only EVs or much more passive houses or heat pumps would. 🙂

          Another issue is of course that electrcity from NPPs has an primary factor of 3, substituting NPPs with wind/PV looks good on paper but has a much lower practical impact on the CO2 front. I would be happy with 30% RE share of primary energy in 2030.

        • The electricity is only 20% of the final energy in Germany, for the generation of the 600 TWh electricity we burn (in addition to REs) 1200 TWh fossil primary energy plus 300 TWh nuclaer energy. The German PE demand is around 3800 TWh.

          Now let us assume Germany can double its RE share of electrcity generation, this saves PE in the range of 600 TWh, or 15%.

  • I predict 70% energy total to be RE by 2030 for Germany. German citizens are math oriented and as soon as BMW EVs are TCO cheaper than ICE, they will mass adopt. This day is coming VERY soon. When solar and wind are cheaper than coal, and then cheaper than gas, they will mass adopt. This day is also coming fast. Mark my words and mark the calendar.

    • Most of the primary energy is used for space heating or industrial process heat, there is no chance to replace 2/3 of this this with REs or save huge amounts until 2030. Even for 2040 a RE share 70% of primary energy is tough.

  • You know that the Nuclear Industry is spending over a Billion dollars to try and make Renewables look bad, but Germany is making them all look like the greedy Utilities they are, since they are only thinking about their bottom line, instead of what is best for their customers.

    A few years from now, as the price of Renewables keeps dropping and new Nuclear keeps going upward, everyone will look back and ask why they let themselves be “taken in” by the Nuclear Industry, that has their ratepayers tied into many decades of ever more expensive electricity before having to pay for yet more decades of decommissioning!

    More here:


    This is a PR move to build BUZZ about “extending the life span of old reactors!

    Since each reactor is a 30 to 40 year income stream for its owners and their shareholders BEFORE they get yet another 20 to 40+ years of decommissioning funds, the electricity from these reactors will be too expensive to use s compared with the ever lower prices of Renewable Energy that are dropping almost monthly.

    Lets talk money ( Factual comment from the internet):

    The powers that be have learned that the way to transfer the most wealth to themselves is to create bubbles, then blow them up, bankrupting others, and then buy things up on the cheap. Exactly the plan in the housing bubble of 2005 et al.

    Now turn your thoughts to Solar PV. It is a serious threat, enough of a threat that the nuclear industry is spending $1.4B to spread propaganda, influence law makers and regulators to destroy the solar industry.

    So next year, 2016, there will be a rash of laws, restrictions on net energy metering agreements that let homeowners and businesses tie in to the grid, and utility rate structures that discourage solar. This will bankrupt 80% of solar related companies and injure the rest.

    Then nuclear and oil companies will buy up the remnants on the cheap, and then they will spend billions to promote “safe, large scale, solar farms owned by them”, and rape the public with continued high energy costs, whilst hardly pacifying the continued slave class by telling them “good work now you guys are green”.

    Now Lets Talk Health:

Comments are closed.