Germany Reached 55% Renewable Energy in 2023

Aerial view of wind turbines and solar panel arrays at the Klettwitz Nord solar energy park near Klettwitz, Germany
Wind turbines spin at the Klettwitz Nord solar energy park near Klettwitz, Germany on May 4, 2023. Sean Gallup / Getty Images
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In 2023, 55 percent of Germany’s power came from renewables — an increase of 6.6 percent, according to energy regulator Bundesnetzagentur, reported Reuters.

Europe’s biggest national economy has a goal of 80 percent green energy by 2030. The country plans to get rid of most of its coal, has already ceased relying on nuclear power and in the future intends to use gas primarily as backup for its energy grid.

“We have broken the 50 per cent mark for renewables for the first time,” said Robert Habeck, Germany’s vice chancellor and federal minister for economic affairs and climate action, in a statement, as The National reported. “Our measures to simplify planning and approvals are starting to take effect.”

Germany’s renewables mix included 31.1 percent from wind, 12.1 percent from solar and biomass and 3.4 percent from a mixture of hydropower and other renewable sources, according to a press release from Bundesnetzagentur.

“Wind farms – especially those on land – made the largest contribution,” the press release said.

The energy sector regulator said the renewables increase in 2023 was bolstered by weather and an expansion of capacity, reported Reuters.

“There is an interaction between supply and demand across the whole of Europe. Electricity is produced within Europe wherever it is cheapest. Germany and the other European countries can all benefit from the most favourable conditions for generation in each case. The wholesale electricity prices and trading are the result of this interplay,” the press release said.

Power grids are supervised by the energy regulator while being consumer-funded and have to make the continuous transition from centralized fossil fuels operations to the millions of smaller, decentralized providers made up of mostly solar and wind, Reuters reported.

The total amount of power supplied by Germany’s public networks decreased by 5.3 percent last year, indicating less demand for fossil fuels in favor of renewables.

“Generation from conventional sources totalled 197.2 TWh, down 24.0% from 2022,” the press release said. “Overall, generation from hard coal was 36.8% lower and from lignite 24.8% lower in 2023 than in 2022.”

The country’s economy continued to feel the effects of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the decline of energy imports and resulting price increases that followed in 2022, reported Reuters.

“Electricity produced from natural gas rose 31.3% year-on-year. There were several factors contributing to the continued use of natural gas to generate electricity despite the war in Ukraine and efforts to save gas,” Bundesnetzagentur said in the press release.

“[T]here may be times when it makes sense to import or export electricity for economic, rather than supply-related, reasons. Network capacity and stability also play a role in trading flows. The European internal market for electricity thus contributes to lower electricity prices and lower carbon emissions,” Bundesnetzagentur said.

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