The Fraunhofer Institute has found that Germany made about €1.7 billion, or $1.93 billion, in 2014 by selling surplus electricity. In 2015, that amount could reach €2 billion or $2.2 billion. Germany may also achieve a record export surplus of 40 TWh of electricity in 2015. “Over the past years, Germany was able to secure higher prices for its electricity exports than it paid for electricity imports,” explained Fraunhofer professor, Bruno Burger.
Renewables added 118 TWh of energy production capacity in Germany from the period beginning in 2010 through 2014. What are some of Germany’s other exports? According to one source, Germany exported about $2.6 billion in pharmaceuticals to Japan in 2014. In 2007, cheese exports were about €2.7 billion.
So, reaching two billion Euros in electricity exports is a level of revenue that could be considered significant. Of course, Germany needs badly to replace the electricity generated by nuclear and coal, and appears to be on track to do that.
Could revenues from electricity exports be used to expand renewables? If nearly 4 billion Euros worth of electricity are exported in two years, is that enough to try to position Germany as a leading electricity exporter in Europe over the coming years?
Is it possible to consider that Germany could reach 100% renewable electricity and begin to surpass that in order to supply electricity to some of its neighbors? How much revenue could Germany generate by selling electricity?
In a country with a GDP of about 3.8 trillion, maybe 2 billion a year is not that much, but something about seems very significant.
When Germany decided to pursue a renewable energy strategy, it might not have been as apparent then that some unknown potential existed, such as making money by exporting electricity. The thing is, if solar and wind power continue to drop in price, will the revenues from electricity exports continue to increase?
We generally hear that clean energy is about the environment or it is linked with climate change, but it seems more and more to be about economics.
Image Credit: JKB, Wiki Commons
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