Germany added 2.3 GW of new onshore wind capacity in the first half of 2017. Though it failed to meet the target last year, the Renewable Energy Act set annual target of installing 2.5 GW new solar capacity. Add in a warm autumn and the winter storms Xavier and Herwart, and it is easy to see how renewables supplied 44.1 per cent of Germany’s energy in October.
Germany led the world for the number of solar installations during 2012. This relatively small European nation added 7.60 GW of capacity to the grid. Then their numbers started going downward: 3.30 GW of new solar capacity in 2013; 1.56 GW in 2014; 1.4 GW in 2015. As of October 31, only 0.79 GW of new capacity has been added this year. Germany’s critics are once again hailing the imminent demise of this nation’s renewable revolution. What happened to Energiewende?
Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein have achieved Germany’s renewable target for 2025. They already obtain 40% of their energy from renewables on an annual basis. A technological breakthrough, the digitization of industry, will be required to go further. This region of 4.5 million people expects to obtain 70% of its energy from renewables by 2025 and 100% by 2035. Schleswig-Holstein and Hamburg will be showcasing the fourth industrial revolution.
One of the European leaders of “Mission Innovation” announced the launch of a €230 million energy project yesterday. Sigmar Gabriel, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, unveiled SINTEG (Schaufenster intelligente Energie/ Shop window for intelligent energy) a key part of the digitalization of Germany’s economy.
Aside from the cold winter of 2012, Europe’s electric consumption has been declining the past five years. A combination of milder winters, advances in energy efficiency and some industry relocations have brought the numbers down. It is against this background that the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) point to the marked growth of wind and solar energy. According to their report Electricity in Europe 2014, renewables supplied 32.9% of the EU’s electricity.