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Germany Breaks Record: Produces 35% of Electricity From Renewables so Far This Year
Germany has broken another renewable energy record but officials say there's still room for improvement. The German Renewable Energy Federation (BEE) reported Sunday that the combined share of renewable energy in the electricity, transport and heating sectors was 15.2 percent in the first half of 2017, up from 14.8 percent during the same period last year.
For the electricity sector alone, renewables supplied a record 35 percent of the country's power in the first six months of 2017, about a 2 percent increase from 2016's numbers. To compare, renewables accounted for only 15 percent of the United States' total electricity generation in 2016.
Despite the new benchmark, BEE acting managing director Harald Uphoff told DW that Germany's transition to clean energy across all sectors is not happening fast enough. The BEE report showed that renewables provided only 5.1 percent of energy consumed in the transport sector and 13.6 percent in heating.
"It is only with a much greater commitment to the spread of renewable energy sources—for electricity as well as for heating and transport—that we will be able to meet the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement and reach the renewable-energy targets demanded by the EU," he said. "Climate protection and economic development must no longer be seen as mutually exclusive."
As a whole, the European Union has a target of sourcing 20 percent of its energy needs from renewables by 2020. But according to the World Economic Forum, only 11 out of the 28 member states have achieved their national targets. Germany is about 3 percentage points off its 2020 objective of 18 percent renewables in end energy consumption.
However, in comparison to other large world economies, Germany is a renewable energy all star. On a particularly sunny and windy day in late April, Germany's mix of solar, wind, biomass and hydropower produced a stunning 85 percent of the country's electricity.
The country intends to completely phase out its nuclear power stations by 2022 and plans to reach 80 percent renewables for gross power consumption by 2050.
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Madagascar has embarked on its most ambitious tree-planting drive yet, aiming to plant 60 million trees in the coming months. The island nation celebrates 60 years of independence this year, and the start of the planting campaign on Jan. 19 marked one year since the inauguration of President Andry Rajoelina, who has promised to restore Madagascar's lost forests.