Renewable energy share in Germany crosses 25% in 2014

Electricity generation from all fossil fuel-based sources, such as lignite, hard coal, natural gas, petroleum products has declined in the country

By Kanchan Kumar Agrawal
Published: Friday 02 January 2015

Germany has been making rapid progress in renewable energy and has set a new record in 2014. According to preliminary surveys by the German Association of Energy and Water (BDEW), renewable energy-based electricity generation in the country has crossed 25 per cent of the gross electricity produced.  According to data, the gross electricity generation in 2014 was 25.8 per cent, up by 1.7 per cent as compared to 24.1 per cent in 2013.

Gross electricity generation in Germany by energy source
Electricity generation in Germany billion kilowatt-hours (109  kWh) Percentage (%)
Energy sources 2013 2014 2013 2014
Lignite 160.9 156 25.4 25.6
Nuclear energy 97.3 96.9 15.4 15.9
Hard coal 121.7 109.9 19.2 18
Natural gas 67.5 58.5 10.7 9.6
Petroleum products 7.2 5 1.1 0.8
Renewable 152.4 157.4 24.1 25.8
Rest 26.2 26.7 4.1 4.3
Total gross  electricity production 633.2 610.4 100 100
Total Gross electricity consumption 599.4 576.3    
Source: German Association of Energy and Water (BDEW)

The gross electricity production in the country decreased from 633 billion kWh to 610.4 billion kWh, but renewable energy share increased from 152.4 billion kWh to 157.4 billion kWh. Electricity generation from all fossil fuel-based sources, such as lignite, hard coal, natural gas, petroleum products declined. Although the gross contribution of nuclear energy declined, the share of nuclear energy saw a marginal increase of 0.5 per cent.  (See table: Gross electricity generation in Germany by energy source)

Among the renewable energy sources, onshore wind had the maximum contribution of 51.2 billion kWh, which comprised of one-third of the renewable energy contribution to the energy mix.  Gross electricity contribution of solar photovoltaic increased maximum, by 4.2 billion kWh, contributing 22.4 per cent of the renewable energy mix. Except for hydro power, contribution from all renewable energy sources increased during 2014. Off-shore wind has also seen rapid scale-up with energy production increasing by 37 per cent as compared to 2013. Geo-thermal energy has also contributed to the renewable energy mix but its share has been only about 0.1 per cent.

Share of electricity from renewable energy sources
Energy sources Electricity generated in 2013 
(billion kWh)
Electricity generated 2014
 (billion kWh)
Percentage share of electricity generation in 2014 (%) Change over
previous year
Onshore wind 50.8 51.2 32.5 +0.7
Offshore wind 0.9 1.2 0.8 +37
Hydro 23 20.8 13.2 -9.5
Biomass 41.2 42.8 27.2 +4
Solar Photovoltaic 31 35.2 22.4 +13.5
Household waste 5.4 6.1 3.9 +12.7
Sum 152.4 157.4 100 3.3%
Source: German Association of Energy and Water (BDEW)

A new record was set on May 11, 2014 at noon, when wind, solar PV, biomass and hydro contributed 43.5 GW (74 per cent) of the instantaneous power requirement in Germany.

(graph) Renewable Energy meeting 74 per cent of instantaneous load in Germany on   May 11, 2014


Germany has set national renewable electricity targets of 40 to 45 per cent by 2025, 55 to 60 per cent by 2035 and 80 per cent by 2050. Based on 2014 performance, those targets appear to be achievable. Germany’s goal of “Energiewende” or energy transition to renewable energy is very much on its path.

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