Germany Produces 85% Electricity with Renewables Setting New Record

Wind turbines near a solar power plant in Werder, Germany Image credits:Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Germany recently recorded a new high of 85 per cent renewable energy generation on the last weekend of April (long May 1 weekend) –  with non-carbon sources i.e. wind and solar providing significant lifts in output and along with biomass and hydro nearly obliterating coal and nuclear power plants.

The record was achieved owing to the combination of sunny and breezy weather in the North and warm weather in the South over Germany’s long May 1 weekend, sustainable energy from non-carbon renewable sources powered the entire nation meeting a record 85 per cent of the country’s total energy.

As part of the government’s Energy transtition (Energiewende) initiative to move away from fossil fuels and nuclear power to a low carbon, environmentally sound, reliable, and affordable energy supply by 2050, Germany has been investing heavily in renewables and sustainable energy.


Investment in renewable energy has so far been highly successful. Electricity prices went negative for several hours on 30th April, as renewable sources fed so much power into the grid that supply exceeded demand. This is the second occasion since last year when energy prices fell into negative figures on May 8th, 2016.

Coal use fell to an all-time low on 30 April, with public broadcaster Deutsche Welle reporting that coal-fired power stations were only operational between 3 and 4 pm produced less than 8 gigawatts of energy, well below their maximum output of about 50 gigawatts.

Image source: Renew Economy

“Most of Germany’s coal-fired power stations were not even operating on Sunday April 30th, with renewable sources accounting for 85 per cent of electricity across the country,” said Patrick Graichen of Agora Energiewende Initiative, to Australian news website RenewEconomy. He also provided these graphs.


Nuclear power sources, which are planned to be completely phased out by 2022, are also severely reduced. Since the fleet was built up in the mid-1970s and 1980s, Germany’s nuclear power production hit its lowest monthly level probably. Based on annual nuclear energy production data, it seems that Germany has not had so little nuclear power since the mid-1970s.

In March, Germany peaked with wind power production record at 38.5 GW on March 18, just topping the old record of 38 GW on February 22.

Germany renewable energy record: wind and energy graphs compared to coal and nuclear in Germany
These graph highlights the big lifting wind and solar compared with the previous few days in the first graph (to left) and the fall in nuclear and coal (top right), the high level of exports to neighbouring countries (including nuclear France) and the fall into negative prices (bottom right). Image source: Renew Economy

Graichen says days like April 30 would be “completely normal” by 2030, as the federal government’s Energiewende initiative continues to add value to the wealth of resources invested in it.

The country’s ambitious energy transition aims for at least 80 per cent of all power to come from renewables by 2050, with intermediate targets of 35 to 40 percent share by 2025 and 55 to 60 percent by 2035.

German is not the only European nation who is putting positive efforts towards non-renewables. According to the local media reports, on April 21, the UK went entirely without coal energy, the first time the country had done so in over 200 years since the start of the Industrial Revolution.

Source RenewEconomy Deutsche Welle

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