Energy in Germany
Few countries have engaged with the energy transition as enthusiastically as Germany
Germany is a world leader in its development of renewable energies. With the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) series of laws since 2000, the energy transition has taken real steps towards the ultimate goal of a sustainable economy, free from the dependence on fossil fuels or nuclear power.
Theoretically, an autonomous complete supply of Germany with renewable energy sources (RES) is possible. Most scenarios foresee an integrated system, In which the security of supply is ensured through export/import from neighboring countries. Two technical challenges remain: storage of intermittent energy and the restructuring of the distribution grid.
A report by the German Council of Economic Experts (Olav Hohmeyer, chief author of the expert report) concluded in 2010 that Germany would be able to completely cover its electricity supply from renewable energies by 2050. There are a number of scenarios, most of which involve exchanges with neighboring countries, to increase the balancing out of the power supply and demand. Under this scenario, periods of low wind in Germany can be compensated, for example, by stored hydropower from Norway.
At the beginning of 2017 Germany had installed over 50 GW in wind power, a third of all Europe’s wind. It is also the leader in new installations in 2016, at 44%. In 2016, Germany generated 80 TWh (12.3% of its electricity needs) from on- and offshore. Only China and the USA have greater levels of installed capacity.
The potential could be as much as 4 times current generating caqpacities: ca. 2400 TWh/year (in 2015 Germany consumed 635 TWh). According to the Atlas of RES Potential released by the German Agency for Renewable Energies in January 2010, land-based wind energy could cover one fifth of German electricity demand by 2020. This would require about 0.75% of the country’s land area.
Solar thermal power plants in 2004 had a total output in the electricity sector of 0.4 GW. At the beginning of 2014 it was 3.4 GW. Only 2.5% of the suitable building surface areas was being used for solar electricity or heat by the end of 2016.
The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE, Freiburg, Breisgau, BW) concluded that the supply of all German electricity and heat would be technically feasible through renewable energies alone by 2050, and this transition would not have an unacceptable financial impact. The ISE (Institute of Solar Energy) holds the world record with TopCon technology, with an efficiency of 25.1% for the silicon-solar cells contacted on both sides. And for epitaxially grown silicon solar cells, a short-circuit current of 39.6 mA / cm3 is achievable. (Frauenhofer ISE Annual Report)
Geothermal power plants in 2004 had a total output of 8.9 GW. At the beginning of 2014 it was 12 GW.
Hydropower in 2004 had a total output of 715 GW. At the beginning of 2014 it was 1,000 GW (1 TW).
Bioenergy in 2004 had a total output in the electricity sector of 36 GW (227 TWh). At the beginning of 2014 it was 88 GW (405 TWh).
Ethanol production 2004: 28.5 bn litres. 2014: 87.2 bn litres.
Biodiesel production 2004: 2.4 bn litres. 2014: 26.3 bn litres.
According to the Potential Atlas issued by the Renewable Energy Agency in January 2010, bioenergy can cover 15% of the total electricity, heat and fuel supply by 2020, requiring a cultivation area of 3.7 million hectares (today: 1.6 million hectares).
The Fauenhofer ISE, Freiberg in Breisgau, opened a new center for storage and heat transformation technologies in 2015. Topics: Battery system for photovoltaics and mobility, redox-flow batteries, hydrogen generation by electrolysis, high-temperature storage for solar thermal energy and heat pumps and refrigeration units for power, gas or heat applications.
According to the ISE study, to reach the target of 100% R.E. would involve the energy used for the heating of buildings to be reduced to around 50 percent of the value from 2010, by means of building renovation.
In 2008, the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Construction and Nuclear Safety (BMU) released a study predicting that renewable energies in Germany will reach a share of 30% of the electricity supply by 2020. This target was already exceeded in 2015.
With the 2011 nuclear phase-out decision, the foreseen portion could be increased. According to the 2014 decision of the Federal Government, the green electricity share is to be increased to 40-45% by 2020 and 55 to 60% by 2035.
Investment: 2004: 39.5 bn $US. 2014: 214.4 bn dollar US.
Countries with RE support mechanisms: 2004 = 48. 2014 = 144.
Source of above data: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erneuerbare_Energien
German Primary Energy
Primary energy is energy as it is provided by nature, before any conversions for human purposes. Germany has a broad energy mix, for electricity generation, heating, industry, mobility and agriculture. The mix is changing for market and political reasons.
Primary Energy consumption in Germany for all purposes, 1990-2016
Note: 1.0 EJ = one exajoule = 1018 J = 277 TWh
|Wind/ PV/ Hydro||.058||16.1||.39||.083||23.1||.58||.127||35.3||.88||.173||48.1||1.2|
|Wind/ PV/ Hydro||.254||70.6||1.8||.356||99.9||2.7||.407||113||3.1||.529||147||3.9|
German nuclear power foreclosure
Following the collapse of confidence in the nuclear industry’s safety assurances in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster, Germany immediately began a dramatic nuclear foreclosure programme, planning a complete exit from nuclear electricity and thermal generation by 2022. This is for a range reasons: safety, environmental, financial, social, political, but also most tellingly, financial.
8 plants, in operation since 1975-1984, were shut down in 2011. They were therefore aged between 27 and 36 years. 7 of these will be dismantled and disposed of by 2020, and the 8th by 2032.
Here is a list of the remaining 9 German reactors and their respective decommissioning dates:
|Name||Op.||Closure||Type||Output (gross el.)||Owner|
|Grafenrheinfeld||1982||2015||PWR (III)*||1.345 GW||E.ON|
|Gundremmingen B||1984||2017||Boiling water reactor||1.344 GW||KGG|
|Philippsburg 2||1985||2019||PWR||1.468 GW|
|Gundremmingen C||1985||2021||BWR||1.344 GW||KGG|
|Brokdorf||1986||2021||PWR||1.480 GW||E.ON (80 %) und Vattenfall (20 %)|
|Isar 2||1988||2022||PWR(IV)*||1.485 GW||E.ON|
|Emsland||1988||2022||PWR(IV)*||1.406 GW||KKW Lippe-Ems|
|Neckarwestheim 2||1989||2022||PWR (IV)*||1.400 GW||EnBW|
The decommissioning and disposal phase of these 9 reactors will last till 2035. The total number of reactors being decommissioned by 2035 is 17, at a cost of around 45 billion euro. As of end of 2015, there is a shortfall in decommissioning fund provisions of at least 8 billion euro.
Heating Systems in New Residences
New accommodation in Germany (%)
|Year||Methane||Heat pump||District heating||Electricity||Heating oil||Wood/Pellets|
Data source: AG Energiebilanzen e.V. 3-Quarter Report 2015