Renewables Briefly Meet 100% of German Electricity Needs for First Time

Renewables Briefly Meet 100% of German Electricity Needs for First Time
Renewables Briefly Meet 100% of German Electricity Needs for First Time

Germany has crossed a symbolic milestone in its energy transition by briefly covering around 100% of electricity use with renewables for the first time ever on Jan. 1.

At around 6 a.m. on 1 January, a combination of strong winds and low demand after New Year’s Eve celebrations meant that wind power alone produced about 85% of Germany’s power consumption, according to data provided by the Federal Network Agency, Clean Energy Wire reported.

Hydropower and biomass installations covered the rest, as there was no solar power generation before sunrise.

Coal, gas and nuclear power generation was cut to a minimum, as power prices turned negative and surplus energy was exported to neighboring countries.

“Nobody expected we would reach 100% in the early morning of a winter day,” energy state secretary, Rainer Baake, said.

In the whole of last year, the world’s fourth-largest economy produced a record 36.1% of its total power needs with renewable sources. But the country’s progress in emissions reductions stagnated for the third year in a row, likely putting its self-imposed 2020 climate targets out of reach.

Most experts believed it was most likely Germany would cross the threshold on a sunny and windy spring day. Renewables set last year’s record of almost 90% of total power use on 30 April 2017. A large increase of wind power generation has pushed Germany’s renewable share of total power use to a record 36.1% in the whole of last year, an increase of 3.8 percentage points over 2016, according to energy think tank Agora Energiewende.

A rising number of turbines and a lot of wind meant that wind power outstripped hard coal and nuclear for the first time.

But the country’s total emissions stagnated for the third year in a row, because more oil and gas were used in transport, heating and industry, according to Agora’s review of 2017 developments.

Germany has made climate protection one of its priorities in its Energiewende, a dual shift from fossil fuel and nuclear power to a renewables-based energy system. Germany’s Environment Ministry warned in October high emissions from coal-fired power plants and transport will make the country miss its 2020 climate targets by a wider margin than previously anticipated.

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