The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Germany’s transition from coal- and oil-fired power to carbon-free electricity hit a new milestone on July 25 when solar, wind, and other sources of renewable energy met 78 percent of the day’s energy demand.
Photo credit: Shutterstock
That beat the old record of 74 percent, made in May 2014, according to Craig Morris, a journalist who has covered Germany’s energy scene for more than a decade.
Helping set the record was an unusual weather pattern that brought heavy winds where most of the nation’s wind turbines are located. As the turbines generated more power, utilities ramped down coal- and gas-fired power plants.
But Morris found the power mix a few days earlier even more encouraging. During the night of July 22, even with darkness reducing solar output to zero and no big winds in the forecast, renewables—wind, biomass, and hydropower—generated nearly 25 percent of Germany’s electricity.
Morris found the energy data for both dates using an online tool sponsored by the Germany-based Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems.
Germany’s experience shows that solar and wind can keep the lights on in a highly industrialized nation, said Osha Gray Davidson, author of Clean Break, a book about Germany’s transition to carbon-free energy. “The key indicator is percentage of electricity produced by different sources—28 percent of Germany’s electricity comes from renewables annually, which is pretty amazing for large industrialized country,” Davidson said.
Germany is a model for the U.S., he said, “because manufacturing accounts for much more of the German economy than the American economy and they have 80 million people—much larger than a country like Denmark, which gets more of its power from renewables but has a much smaller industrial base and has a population of five and a half million people.”
The U.S. currently gets around 10 percent of its electricity from renewable sources, according to the federal Energy Information Administration.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Sydney Swanson
With April hopping along and Easter just around the corner, it's time for dyeing eggs (and inadvertently, dyeing hands.) It's easy to grab an egg-dyeing kit at the local supermarket or drug store, but those dye ingredients are not pretty.
By Sierra Searcy
This week, progressive Democrats and youth advocates are launching a nationwide tour to win support for the Green New Deal. Though popular, the ambitious plan to tackle climate change has struggled to earn the endorsement of centrist Democrats in Rust Belt states like Michigan, the second stop on the tour.
It's heartening, in the midst of the human-caused sixth mass extinction, to find good wildlife recovery news. As plant and animal species disappear faster than they have for millions of years, Russia's Siberian, or Amur, tigers are making a comeback. After falling to a low of just a few dozen in the mid-20th century, the tigers now number around 500, with close to 100 cubs — thanks to conservation measures that include habitat restoration and an illegal hunting crackdown.