Renewable energies are expected to cover around 33 percent of Germany’s gross electricity consumption in 2015, according to an initial estimate made by the Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW) and the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW). This means that solar, wind and other renewable sources will have generated some 193 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity by the year’s end. This is around one-fifth more than in the previous year. With a total of some 161 billion kWh, renewable energies accounted for around 27 percent of gross electricity consumption in 2014.
ZSW and BDEW observed that the amount of electricity produced by wind power and photovoltaic systems, especially, has increased markedly. Wind turbines had generated 63 billion kWh of energy in the year to date on October 31, 2015, a remarkable 47 percent increase over the figure for the same period in 2014. Solar systems produced 35 billion kWh of power in the first ten months of 2015, matching the entire previous year’s yield with two months to spare despite the fact that solar production capacity has only increased moderately from last year. Average yields as determined by the prevailing weather conditions in November and December were used to calculate the projected share of renewable energy in the total power consumption for 2015. Consequently, actual figures may vary from the current estimate, especially for wind energy.
“Once again it is clearly evident that renewable energies continue to gain ground in the German electricity mix, regardless of what the exact percentage share at the year’s end will be. This makes the need to integrate renewable energies into the overall power generation system all the more pressing. Efforts to put in place the necessary infrastructure must be stepped up with some urgency. The BDEW has already submitted constructive recommendations for the 2016 amendment of the EEG (German Renewable Energy Sources Act). What’s more, there is no time to be wasted in expanding transmission and distribution networks,” says Hildegard Müller, Chairwoman of the BDEW’s General Executive Management.
ZSW Managing Director Frithjof Staiß adds, “If renewable energies are now covering a third of the demand for electricity, then this element of the Energy Transition is clearly on a promising path. The rising share of renewable sources makes Germany less dependent on fossil fuels, thereby helping to achieve its climate protection objectives. Nevertheless, this will require further efforts that go beyond pure power generation: Electricity, heating and mobility have to be interconnected more closely and optimized as an integrated system.”
The Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW) is one of the leading institutes for applied research in the fields of photovoltaic energy, renewable fuels, battery technology, fuel cells and energy systems analysis. ZSW regularly provides the data of renewable energy usage in Germany for the Working Group on Renewable Energy Statistics (AGEE-Stat) on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. The three ZSW sites at Stuttgart, Ulm and Widderstall are currently staffed with around 230 scientists, engineers and technicians supported by 70 research and student assistants.