The share of renewables in Germany’s power consumption has edged up in 2016, but the expansion of green energy has slowed down as the country is already close to achieving its 2020 target for electricity from renewable sources.
Renewables accounted for 32.3% of the electricity consumption in Europe’s biggest economy this year, up from 30.7% in 2015, according to preliminary calculations by the German association of energy and water industries BDEW.
That is close to Germany’s 35% target for RE as part of electricity demand in 2020, but the rise of renewables in 2016 was slower than in previous years.
“It is nice that renewable energies continue to gain in importance for the German electricity mix. But that also makes clear that renewable energy increasingly needs to face competition,” BDEW chairman Stefan Kapferer says.
“We need to ask ourselves how a future power market should look like in which renewables generate more than 60% of electricity.”
The government in Berlin during the summer pushed through a reform of Germany’s Renewable Energies Act (EEG) that moves the allocation of most support for RE to tenders, while also establishing more firm caps for the expansion of each renewable technology to avoid targets will be overshot too much.
The RE expansion in 2016 according to the BDEW was carried mostly by offshore wind and hydro, while the share of onshore wind receded; at least in figures for electricity production that the association splits into different renewables technologies, while the figures for electricity consumption only contain a percentage for the overall share of RE.
In the production figures, RE only accounted for 30%, up from 29% a year earlier, as those numbers include power exported to neighbouring countries, which distorts the statistic.
Onshore wind in the production figures accounted for 10% of Germany’s electricity output in 2016, down from 11% in 2015, while offshore wind expanded to 2% of production, up from 1% a year earlier.
Wind on land shrank despite a continued rapid addition of new capacity due to weaker winds this year, the BDEW said.
Biomass and PV maintained their respective 7% and 6% in the overall electricity output, while hydro went up to 4% in 2016 from 3% in 2015. Another 1% came from energy from waste disposal.
Among fossil sources, the share of lignite shrank to 23% from 24%; that of hard coal went down to 17% from 18%, while natural gas boosted its share to 12% from 10%.
Nuclear energy saw its share recede again, from 14% to 13%, as Germany follows through with its plan to phase out atomic power by 2022.