For the First Time Ever, Germany Provides Most Electricity from Renewables

Lower percentages of coal and nuclear power in the first half of 2019 have seen Germany's renewables provide more electricity, for the first time ever.
Fabienne Lang

It's a good year for renewable energy in Germany as wind, water, and solar energy have provided the country with more electricity in 2019 than coal and nuclear power combined. 

But, the celebrations may not be long-lived, as this may wind up simply being a specific market situation, and not a long-term trend. 


Here's what we know about the country's energy this year so far.

Weather in Germany in 2019

So far in 2019, Germany has enjoyed a lot of sun and wind.

Amassing higher amounts of sunshine and wind forces have certainly assisted the renewable energy sector in the country, and have added to its electricity output.

This resulted in forms of renewable energy providing most of the country's electricity, in stark comparison to the country's coal and nuclear power plants combined. 

The figure for electricity provided through renewables is 47.3 percent, compared with 43.4 percent from coal-fired and nuclear plants. 

For the First Time Ever, Germany Provides Most Electricity from Renewables
Net electricity production in Germany, 2019. Source: Deutsche Welle

It's not a massive contrast, but, it certainly is a positive one. 

Moreover, along with solar and wind power, biomass and hydropower added to the renewable energy list this year. Gas, for example, provided 9.3 percent, while other methods such as oil, contributed about 0.4 percent, as noted by the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems in July

Future of renewables in Germany

Fabian Hein, of the think tank Agora Energiewende, reminded us that this may not be a consistent form of energy in Germany - not yet, anyway. 

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The country experienced higher than usual amounts of wind in the first half of the year, increasing wind power by 20 percent compared with the first half of 2018

More sun energy was also noted, with an increase of 6 percent in solar energy, and natural gas has increased by 10 percent. Nuclear power in German electricity has remained unchanged, however. 

Coal, though, has gone down in usage, falling by 30 percent compared with 2018's first half of the year. Going further, some coal-fired power plants have been closed off entirely. 

Hein stressed though, that it's still unclear whether this is part of the long-term plan for renewable energy consumption increase or if there simply isn't as much need in the current market situation. 

There are still quite a few unanswered questions but we'll take what we can get and in any case, it's a positive sign for the planet.

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