Renewables overtook coal on 2018 as Germany's main energy source and reached 40 percent of the country’s electricity generation
Post date: 07/01/2019 - 21:29
In 2018, renewable sources accounted for over 40.4 percent of the electricity generation in Germany, according to the annual assessment on the electricity generation for Germany’s public power supply, published by the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE. German photovoltaic plants fed about 45.7 TWh into the electricity grid, 16 percent more than in 2017. New photovoltaic installations of 3.2 GW increased the installed capacity to 45.5 GW (as of the end of November). On July 2, 2018, solar power production peaked at 32 GW, corresponding to 39 percent of the total power production at this point in time. From April through August 2018, German photovoltaic plants generated more electricity per month than hard coal power plants.
Electricity from wind amounted to about 111 TWh in 2018, making it the second largest source of electricity after brown coal. Due to the extremely dry summer, hydro power contributed only 17 TWh to the electricity mix, the second lowest amount in 30 years. From May to December, the monthly electricity generation from hydropower was less than the previous year. At 44.8 TWh, electricity from biomass was equivalent to the production in 2017. In 2018, the total electricity production from all renewable sources was about 219 TWh, an increase of 4.3 percent compared to 2017.
The electricity generated by nuclear plants was 72.1 TWh in 2018, approximately equivalent to 2017. Brown coal power plants produced 131.3 TWh net electricity (2 percent less than 2017). Net electricity production from hard coal power plants was 75.7 TWh, lower by 6 TWh, or 7.4 percent, than 2017 values. Gas plants demonstrated the largest decrease in production, contributing 40 TWh net electricity to the public power supply. This amount was less than the 2017 level by 9.1 TWh, or 18.5 percent.
Germany’s export surplus (physical flows) was 45.6 TWh, slightly lower than 2017 (52.5 TWh). The majority of the electricity was exported to Holland (19.2 TWh), who then transmitted it further to Belgium and Great Britain. Austria followed in second place (11.6 TWh), ahead of Switzerland (11.5 TWh) who principally acted as a transit country for Italy.
According to ISE’s figures, Germany imported 8.3 TWh of electricity from France in 2018, mainly transmitting it to neighboring countries. The average amount of exported power was 5.2 GW, the equivalent of four nuclear power plants. During 7,730 hours (88 percent) of the year, electricity was exported by Germany, while during 1,030 hours (12 percent) it was imported. In Germany’s electricity foreign trade balance from January to October, Germany had an export surplus of 52.8 TWh. On average, imported electricity cost €42.39 ($48.32) per MWh and exported electricity €38.60 ($44.00) per MWh respectively.