Electricity generated from renewable resources continues to be on the upswing in Germany.
In the first half of 2014, green energy sources provided 28.5 percent of all electricity used in the country, according to provisional calculations by the Federal Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW). In 2013’s first half, the share was 24.6 percent. Overall electricity consumption, however, declined in the first half of this year, as a mild winter decreased demand.
Reasons for the increase in renewable energy including favorable weather conditions and construction of new facilities, the association said.
Conventional power plants are the losers in the shift to renewable energy sources.
In past years, the generation of electricity from renewable sources has exceeded forecasts most of the time. The federal government’s goal of raising renewable energy’s share of electricity production to at least 35 percent by 2020 is coming within reach. In 2050, that figure is intended to be 80 percent.
Despite the recent slight decline in the use of electricity, the share of green energy in overall production makes it unlikely there will be a decline in the feed-in tariffs mandated by the German Renewable Energy Act (EEG). The EEG feed-in tariffs have been steadily increasing over the years. It’s currently €0.0624 per kilowatt-hour of electricity – up from €0.05277 in 2013 and €0.0359 in 2012. The EEG charges, which are meant to help expand Germany’s renewable energy sources, are expected to be more than €20 billion ($26.7 billion) this year.
Conventional power plants are the losers in this development. Their degree of capacity utilization has continued to decline, creating problems for their operators. According to the BDEW, the share of gas-fired power plants in overall electricity production declined in the first half of 2014, in comparison with the same period of the preceding year, from 11.4 percent to 9.8 percent.
The share of coal declined from 19.7 to 18 percent, and the share of lignite, also known as brown coal, dripped from 25.3 to 25.1 percent. Nuclear energy’s share was 15.4 percent, down from after 15.1 percent during the same period last year.