In a sign of the further penetration of renewables into mainstream energy markets, renewable power sources have overtaken coal in Germany’s energy mix. The news is seen as an important milestone for the renewables industry in Europe’s biggest economy.
The announcement was made by the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW), which said the share of wind, solar, hydro, and biomass in the country’s energy production mix reached 36.3 percent as of end-June this year, versus a combined 35.1 percent for hard coal and lignite coal. This compares with 32.5 percent for renewables and 38.5 percent for coal same time last year.
Total electricity production from renewables in the first half of 2018 in Germany hit 118 billion kWh, which compares with 114 billion kWh generated from coal. The difference may not be all that great, but it has been hailed as a clear signal that “Renewables are on the march,” as the head of BDEW said, and coal is on its way out.
It looks like this news is a natural consequence of a concerted government effort to increase the country’s reliance on renewable energy at the expense of coal and nuclear power. Sporting one of the strongest national environmental lobbies in the world, Germany’s coalition government earlier this year set a target of 65 percent of electricity to be sourced from renewable capacity by 2030. According to a clean energy think tank, the goal is fully within the capabilities of Germany.