Germany Breaks 50 Percent Net Renewable Electricity Mark

January 2021

More than half (50.5 percent) of all the net power generated in Germany last year came from wind, solar and other clean sources. That’s according to final 2020 figures from the renowned Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy System (ISE).

“By breaking the fifty percent mark, renewables in Germany crossed another major symbolic threshold,” says Thomas Grigoleit, director of energy, construction and environmental technologies at Germany Trade & Invest (GTAI), the country’s international economic promotion agency.

This new annual best was set after renewable electricity production levels exceeded expectations in the final week of last year. The amount of wind-generated power (43.3 percent) dwarfed that of all other sources, helping give renewables a whopping (57 percent) of 9 terawatt hours in power in Germany.

2020 levels of renewable electricity were up 4.5 percent from 2019’s 46.1 percent share. Wind power accounted for 27 percent, solar for 10.4 percent, biomass for 9.3 percent and hydropower for 3.7 percent. By comparison, coal had a record-low 24.1 percent share, and nuclear power 12.5 percent.

The Bundesnetzagentur, the German regulatory office for electricity, gas, telecommunications, post and railway markets, put the percentage of gross generated electricity in 2020 at 49.3, another record. Renewables covered at least 16 percent of Germany’s electricity needs for every day of the year, and for an hour on May 17, they generated 112.2 percent of the power the country required, or 49.3 gigawatt hours.

Some the record-setting numbers may have been down to decreased demand due to coronavirus-related limitations, but they also reflect the increased emphasis placed by the German government and the private sector on renewable power sources in the country’s bid to transition to clean energy.

“Germany has reached what many thought impossible years ago, namely a stable baseload supply from renewables with increasing levels every year,” GTAI energy expert Tobias Rothacher explains. “In peak times, Germany is now even covering more than 100% of its electricity needs from renewables. This unlocks a whole universe of new business opportunities, for example, for hydrogen, energy storage, flexible loads and the coupling of heating and transport. Germany actively welcomes international companies to participate in this new era of renewables.”

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