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Power Generation and Consumption

Electricity production in Germany

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Timeline: The past, present and future of Germany’s Energiewende Simon Evans; Carbon Brief; 21 Sep 2016

Carbon Brief charts the history of the Energiewende, the term for the German energy transition coined in the late 1970s.
The Energiewende is widely associated with German chancellor Angela Merkel. However, her government’s 2010 “Energiekonzept” (energy strategy) makes no mention of the word. In fact, the term Energiewende emerged in the late 1970s as part of the anti-nuclear movement.
Only after the post-Fukushima decision to speed up Germany’s nuclear phaseout did Merkel claim the Energiewende as her own, in a classic political manoeuvre that co-opted her opponents’ ideas. It was later adopted as the official nomenclature for Germany’s wider climate and energy strategy.

Is Germany’s renewable power boom stalling? Megan Darby; Climate Home; 3 Jan 2017

Germany’s power generation from renewable sources is flatlining, according to a leading solar research institute. Solar, wind, biomass and hydropower sources produced 186TWh in 2016, or 34% of net electricity supply, analysis from the Fraunhofer Institute shows – showing no increase from the previous year. That was partly down to the weather: sunshine hours were down 4% and wind 14% from 2015 levels, lead researcher Bruno Burger told Climate Home. A clampdown on subsidies also hit installations of solar panels, he said. “For wind, it was only weather conditions; for solar, it was weather and policy.” With nuclear and coal generation in decline, the big winner was natural gas, which surged more than 40% on cheaper supplies.

Germany’s renewables electricity generation grows in 2015, but coal still dominant EIA; 24 May 2016

Note: "other renewables" = wood

Should other nations follow Germany's lead on promoting solar power? Ryan Carlyle; Quora

Solar power itself is a good thing, but Germany's pro-renewables policy has been a disaster. It has the absurd distinction of completing the trifecta of bad energy policy: Bad for consumers, Bad for producers, Bad for the environment (yes, really; I'll explain)

Energiewende: Germany, UK, France and Spain Euan Mearns; Energy Matters; 3 Nov 2013

Germany: energiewende kaput? Euan Mearns; Energy Matters; 19 May 2014

Germany’s ‘Energiewende’ as a model for Australian climate policy? Graham Palmer, Energy Matters; June 2014

history of anti-nuclear movements in Germany & Australia

An update on the Energiewende Roger Andrews; Energy Matters; 22 Aug 2016

Renewable Energy Costs and Effectiveness in Germany

Germany Pays to Halt Danish Wind Power to Protect Own Output

Reality Check: Germany Does Not Get Half of its Energy from Solar Panels Robert Wilson; the Energy Collective; 19 Aug 2014

Germany will never run on solar power. Here is why

Last year, 5.7% of Germany’s electricity generation and 2.5% of primary energy consumption came from solar panels.

The 4th Largest Economy In The World Just Generated 90 Percent Of The Power It Needs From Renewables JEREMY DEATON; Climate Progress; 9 May 2016

On Sunday, for a brief, shining moment, renewable power output in Germany reached 90 percent of the country’s total electricity demand. That’s a big deal. On 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. (It’s important to note that most likely, not all of that 55 GW could be used at the time it was generated due to system and grid limitations, but it’s still noteworthy that this quantity of power was produced.)

Germany takes steps to roll back renewable energy revolution Philip Oltermann; The Guardian; 11 Oct 2016

According to leaked plans from the German federal network agency, published on Tuesday in the Süddeutsche Zeitung, the government has had to halve its original target for expanding its windfarms in the gale-beaten northern flatlands because it cannot extend its power grid quickly enough to the energy-hungry south.

Germany’s energy consumption and power mix in charts Kerstine Appunn;; 9 Jun 2016

This factsheet provides a range of charts (and data links) about the status of Germany’s energy mix, as well as developments in energy and power production and usage since 1990.

Germany to miss climate targets ‘disastrously’: leaked government paper Climate Change News; 11 Oct 2017

Germany is headed for a clear failure to meet its 2020 climate targets, according to calculations by the country’s environment ministry. Without further action, Germany’s CO2 emissions will only be 31.7% to 32.5% below 1990 levels, an internal environment ministry paper seen by the Clean Energy Wire shows.
Given the official target of cutting emissions by 40%, the ministry warns that a failure of this magnitude would constitute a “significant blow to Germany’s climate policy”, and would amount to “a disaster for Germany’s international reputation as a climate leader”.

Germany’s Energiewende predicament Roger Andrews; Energy Matters; 3 Apr 2018

It’s widely acknowledged that Germany’s Energiewende is in trouble, but few if any recent articles have addressed the full scope of its problems. Here I provide an overview of Germany’s progress to date, or lack thereof, in meeting its original targets, which were set in 2010. The results show that Germany is on track to meet its targets for expanding renewable energy but is unlikely to stay on track in coming years. The prospects that Germany will meet any of its 2050 energy and emissions targets are remote.

Gas wars part one: let’s be honest about Germany’s growing dependence on fossil gas L. Michael Buchsbaum; Energy Transition; 19 Mar 2019

in late January Chancellor Angel Merkel (CDU) addressed the 49th Annual World Economic Meeting and let the cat out of the proverbial bag: “if we phase out coal and nuclear energy, then we have to be honest and tell people that we’ll need more natural gas.”

Merkel under pressure to delay nuclear power ban Energy Reporters; 08 Jun 2019

The German government is facing growing calls from businesses to postpone its phase-out of nuclear power as alternative sources are yet to fill the gap.
Volkswagen’s CEO and the chairman Continental, the car parts manufacturer, have made recent public statements in favour of nuclear power.
They cite environmental fears that ditching nuclear would leave the country reliant on highly pollutant brown coal.
Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germany would close its nuclear reactors by 2022 following the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan after a tsunami. Earthquakes and tsunamis are, however, less common in Germany.
But renewable sources have failed to fill the shortfall, meaning the authorities have been forced to turn to filthy lignite.
Germany is already the world’s biggest natural-gas importer and BASF, the German chemicals giant and investor in Nord Stream 2, consumes more gas than Denmark.
Germany also has Europe’s highest non-household electricity prices.
“If climate protection really matters to us, the nuclear power plants need to run longer,” Herbert Diess, the VW chief executive, told Tagesspiegel.
Closing Germany’s last coal-fired power plant in 2038 – as decided in January by a government-appointed commission – was “far too late”, Diess told the newspaper.
“The priorities are the wrong way round: first we need to get out of coal, and then out of nuclear power.”
The irony of Volkswagen lecturing the government on environmental issues was not lost on observers.
VW’s 2015 “dieselgate” scandal exposed millions to toxic fumes and the firm has promoted polluting SUVs instead of smaller vehicles.
The automotive giant’s vehicles are responsible for an estimated 2 per cent of the world’s total carbon dioxide emissions, according to VW’s data.
Germany currently generates 47 per cent of its energy from renewable sources but it also generates 30 per cent of its power from environmentally ruinous coal. Around 13 per cent currently comes from nuclear.
But the German Green party, which surprised many to come second in May’s European election and recently came top in an opinion poll, remains firmly opposed to nuclear.
Germany’s anti-nuclear movement dates back decades and public opposition increased after the 1986 Chernobyl disaster (pictured). Car bumper stickers saying “Nuclear power, no thanks” are still common and a YouTube attack on the government’s energy policy recently circulated widely.
“We are for a world without nuclear energy,” the Greens’ manifesto said. “We want the dangerous reactors around Europe and across the world to be shut down immediately.”