On Sunday May 8th, at 11 a.m. local time, the total output of German solar, wind, hydropower, and biomass reached 55 gigawatts (GW), just short of the 58 GW consumed by every light bulb, washing machine, water heater and personal computer humming away on Sunday morning.
According to Agora Energiewende, a German clean energy think tank, this 90% figure is a new record and a major milestone in Germany’s long term objective of using renewables for all their power generation.
Germany is the fourth-largest economy on the planet. Germany’s $3.7 trillion GDP beats the economic output of any other country in Europe or, for that matter, any U.S. state. Sunday’s spike in renewable output shows that wind and solar can keep pace with the demands of an economic powerhouse. What’s more, the growth of clean energy has tracked the growth of Germany’s economy.
Despite being in supposedly wet and gloomy Europe, Germany ranks second in installed photovoltaic solar capacity, according to the International Energy Agency. Until recently it was the world leader. It tends to be individuals who are driving the growth with small scale and domestic energy production providing significant contribution to electricity generation.
In 2015, almost one-third of Germany’s electricity demand last year has been delivered by renewable energy, with onshore wind and solar PV leading the charge.
Renewables academic Volker Quaschning published the findings today, compiling the data from a range of sources:
“The share of renewables in Germany’s gross electricity consumption has reached almost one-third in the year 2015th In 2014 the renewable energy overtook first lignite in electricity production. Conventional power plants are increasingly pushed back that can maintain their production volumes only on increased exports. The wind power on land the largest contribution, followed by biomass and photovoltaics.”