The first quarter of 2020 was a historic one for renewable electricity in Germany. According to the Federal Statistical Office, renewables produced 72.3 billion kilowatt hours of electricity or more than half – 51.2 percent – of total feed-in during the three-month period.
That represented a 14.9 percent increase on Q1 2019. Driving the surge was a 21.4 percent increase in wind power, which for the first time ever was the largest source of German electricity production.
Conversely, electricity produced from conventional sources decreased by 21.9 percent. The drop in coal-generated electricity, down 33.4 percent, was particularly marked.
The Federal Statistical Office said that the changes did not result from any identifiable effects of the coronavirus pandemic. But the early weeks of the crisis seem only to have bolstered these trends.
According to the Fraunhofer ISE’s Energy Charts, the share of the power mix from coal-fired plants that supplies German homes reached a historic low of 16 percent in April 2020. That compared with around 30 percent the year before.
And Germany’s Federal Network Agency said that electricity generation by wind, solar, hydro and bioenergy installations exceeded demand on at least three days in April – on each occasion for several hours around midday.
The trend toward green energy is bringing with it a host of infrastructural changes.
“The increased proportion of renewable power in the German electricity supply is leading to significantly increased demand for integration technologies,” says Germany Trade & Invest (GTAI) Director of Energy, Construction and Environmental Technologies Esther Frey. “There are very good business opportunities for companies with innovative solutions in many areas, for example, smart grids and energy storage.”