FRANKFURT, July 1 – Renewable energy’s share of Germany’s overall power supply mix rose by 8.8 percentage points in the January to June period to 55.8%, data from Europe’s biggest state-funded research and development service showed on Wednesday.
Out of total power production of 243.8 terawatt hours (TWh), solar, wind, biomass and hydroelectric generation together produced 136.1 TWh in that six months, according to data from the Fraunhofer organisation of applied science.
Overall production in the period was down by 11% year-on-year due to sharp falls in demand, especially from industry, during the coronavirus pandemic.
Generators responded by throttling back output at fossil fuels plants, which cannot be stored at meaningful scale.
By contrast, green power output was up 8.4% on the year, benefiting from favourable weather conditions, priority dispatch on power networks, and continuously expanding capacity.
High wind speeds and high solar intensity more than overrode a decline in hydroelectric output.
Europe’s biggest economy is aiming for renewables to provide 65% of its power mix by 2030. It plans to abandon nuclear energy by 2022, and has just confirmed an orderly long-term exit from hard coal by 2033 and brown coal by 2038.
Coal burning was the big loser in the first half. Output from brown coal plants dropped 36.3% to 33.6 TWh and hard coal plants by 46% to 14.4 TWh in Jan-June, Fraunhofer said.
As carbon emissions price also increased and gas prices declined, more electricity producers switched to generating from gas-to-power plants. Their supply to public grids rose 13.9% to 28 TWh in the six months to June.
The cost of mandatory carbon emissions allowances covering coal and gas-fired power output on Wednesday hit 11-month highs of over 28 euros a tonne. (Reporting by Vera Eckert; Editing by Jan Harvey)