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Climate and Energy: Germany: Renewables' Share Tops the 36 Percent Mark in 2017 (21.12.2017)

Renewable energy sources are expected to account for more than 36 percent of the gross amount of electricity consumed in Germany in 2017. The Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW) and the German Federal Association of Energy and Water Management (BDEW) arrived at this figure in an initial assessment.

According to these projections, the sun, wind and other renewable sources will have served to generate nearly 217 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity by the end of the year. In 2016, renewable sources delivered 188 billion kWh to cover 31.6 percent of gross electricity consumption.

Offshore wind power saw the greatest percentage increase: Electricity from this source is expected to increase by a good 49 percent to 18.3 billion kWh (2016: 12.3 billion kWh). Onshore wind power production dipped slightly in 2016, but is expected to bounce back in 2017, rising by 21 billion kWh to reach 87 billion kWh, a 31 percent year-on-year increase (2016: 66.3 billion kWh). Onshore wind energy remains by far the strongest source, accounting for more than 40 percent of the electricity generated by renewables. Biomass came in second with close to 24 percent (with nearly 3 percent of waste being biogenic). Photovoltaics took third place with over 18 percent.

A brief summary of the projected figures for electric power generated in 2017 from other renewable sources follows: Photovoltaic power will be up more than 4 percent to nearly 40 billion kWh (2016: 38.1 billion KWh). Biomass and waste (the biogenic share) energy will increase by 1 percent to 51.5 billion kWh (2016: 50.9 billion kWh). Hydropower's share will is expected to drop by around 4 percent to just below 20 billion kWh (2016: 20.5 billion kWh) owing to low rainfall in the first half of 2017.

"Renewables have already surpassed the federal government's target for 2020, which calls for their share of gross electricity consumption to arrive at 35 percent. That is good news for climate protection. However, to ensure electrical power from renewables can be widely used, we must forge on, full steam ahead, to extend north-south power lines. The gears of grid and renewables expansion have to be closely meshed," explains Stefan Kapferer, Chairman of BDEW's General Executive Management Board.

"The share of green power in electricity consumption has increased by almost 13 percentage points over the past 5 years. And over the past 15 years, the increase has been even greater at 28 percentage points. This is indeed a success story," says Prof. Frithjof Staiß, Managing Director of ZSW. "What's more, the dynamic development currently underway has not led to an increase in the EEG levy—it may even be reduced somewhat for 2018. Now policymakers need to establish the framework conditions so that the next expansion goals can also be achieved." Staiß added that this applies particularly to the other two sectors, heating and mobility, where the share of renewables has for years been stagnating at 6 percent (transportation) and 13 percent (heating).