The share of electricity generated from the sun, wind and other regenerative sources of energy accounted for 32 per cent of gross electricity consumption in Germany in the first quarter of 2017. The Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research in Baden-Württemberg (ZSW) and the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW) arrived at this figure in an initial assessment. The share of renewable energies was up 4 percent from the same quarter in the previous year, rising from 48.1 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) to 50.1 billion kWh.
Offshore wind power saw the steepest growth, increasing by 36.7 percent from the same period of the previous year to 4.8 billion kWh (Q1 2016: 3.5 billion kWh). Electricity generated by photovoltaic systems also increased significantly, rising by 29 percent to 6 billion kWh (4.6 billion kWh). Onshore wind power, the leading source of renewable energy, was up 3.1 percent to 22.4 billion kWh.
Hydroelectric power was the only renewable to experience a slump. Production dropped by 31.3 percent to 3.7 billion kWh from Q1 in the previous year (5.3 billion kWh) owing to low rainfall early in the year.
A breakdown of electric power generated from other renewables follows: Biomass increased by 2.1 percent to 11.7 billion kWh (11.5 billion kWh), municipal solid waste (50 percent biogenic) was up 3.7 percent to 1.5 billion kWh (1.4 billion kWh), and geothermal energy dropped by 2.5 percent to 0.041 billion kWh (0.042 billion kWh).
"To avoid losing public support for the Energiewende [Germany's exit from nuclear power and fossil fuels and transition to renewables], we have got to get costs under control. The results of the first round of tendering for offshore wind power go to show that we are on the right track with the EEG 2017," said Stefan Kapferer, Chairman of BDEW's General Executive Management Board, at today's opening of the Hanover Fair.
Prof. Frithjof Staiss, Managing Director of ZSW, adds: "The current figures are proof of the success of this transition in the electricity sector. To drive the transition in heating and transportation, we will have to exploit technological synergies and connect the energy sectors in a sensible and economically viable manner. This is the only way the long-term transition to an efficient and climate-friendly energy system is going to succeed."