Germany has been called “the world’s first major renewable energy economy” as the country is one of the world’s most prolific users of renewable energy for power, heating, and transport. Germany has rapidly expanded the use of clean energy which now contributes almost one-fourth to the national energy mix. Renewable energy contribute as much as one-fourth of the primary energy mix and the country has set a goal to producing 35 percent of electricity from renewable sources by 2020 and 100 percent by 2050.
Germany is the world’s biggest solar market and largest PV installer with a solar PV capacity of more than 49.78 GW at the end of 2019. The German new solar PV installations increased by about 4 GW in 2019. Germany has nearly as much installed solar power generation capacity as the rest of the world combined and gets about 5 percent of its overall annual electricity needs from solar power alone.
In 2019, German photovoltaic (PV) plants fed about 46.5 TWh into the public electricity grid, an increase of 1.7 percent compared to 2018.
Germany’s wind energy industry is one of the world’s largest, and it is at the forefront of technological development. Over half of all wind turbines in Germany are owned by local residents, farmers and local authorities which have tremendously improved the acceptance of wind turbines among local communities as they directly profit.
Being Europe’s primary wind energy market, Germany represents around 30 percent of total installed capacity in Europe and 12 percent of global installed capacity. Total wind energy capacity in Germany was 59.3 GW at the end of year 2019. Currently Germany is ranked third worldwide in installed total wind capacity with its share of total domestic electricity production forecasted to reach 25 percent by 2025.
Wind became the main electricity source in Germany for the first time in 2019. In eight months of the year 2019, the electricity generation from wind surpassed brown coal and in twelve months nuclear. Together wind and solar power plants generated a total of ca. 173 TWh electricity in 2019.
Biomass energy is making a significant contribution to renewable energy supply in Germany and accounts for about 5.5 percent of the total electricity production in the country. Germany is the market leader in biogas technology and is also Europe’s biggest biogas producer. Last year around 7,600 systems with a cumulative capacity of 3,200 MW generated 21.9 billion kWh in the country, thus consolidating Germany’s status as a pioneer in clean energy technologies.
Renewable Energy Investment
Germany’s plan to phase out all 17 of its nuclear power plants and shift to renewable energy by 2022 is the largest infrastructure investment program in Europe since World War II. The country’s transition from nuclear energy-based power network to renewable energy systems will require investments of much as $55 billion by 2030.
Germany is the world’s third largest market for renewable energy investment which and ranked 5th in the Bloomberg’s 2018 global renewable investment report with total investments of $10.5 billion in 2018. Sixty-five percent of investment in Germany was directed toward solar, with 29 percent directed to wind.
The country offers generous feed-in-tariffs for investors across all renewable energy segments which is attracting huge private capital in cleantech investments. In 2018, the majority of cleantech investment came from corporate investors across all sectors of the economy, including farmers, energy utilities, and industrial and commercial enterprises.
In 2019, the total electricity production in Germany from all renewable sources was about 237 TWh, an increase of 7 percent compared to 2018, and above fossil fuel carriers (207 TWh) for the first time.