For the first half of 2019 in Germany, for the first time, more electricity was generated from solar, wind, water and biomass energy than from nuclear power plants and coal-fired thermal power plants. How was it done and what does it mean?

In the Saxon town of Lippendorf, the energy concern EnBW temporarily decommissioned the coal power plant. The reason turned out to be quite unusual: it became simply unprofitable to ensure its further work. The prices of carbon credits continue to grow, and under favourable weather conditions, more and more electricity can be obtained from alternative sources. As for the latter, the first half of 2019 was extremely successful: at first, there were many windy, and then sunny days.

The result was not long in coming: for the six months in Germany, renewable sources (RES) generated more energy for the first time than coal and nuclear power plants. The share of electricity generated from solar, wind, biomass and water was 47.3%.

Coal and NPP accounted for 43.4%, another 9.3% of electricity was received from gas, and the remaining 0.4 per cent came from other sources, including oil. Such data in July provided the Institute of Solar Energy Systems of the Fraunhofer Society (Fraunhofer ISE).

The share of coal in the energy balance of Germany is sharply reduced

Fabian Hein (Fabian Hein), an employee of the Agora Energiewende think-tank, stresses that this situation has developed only for the time being and it’s premature to talk about the long-term trend. The first half of 2019 turned out to be particularly windy: as a result, the volume of electricity generated by wind turbines increased by about 20% compared with the same period of 2018. Electricity generation using solar panels increased by 6%, and at gas thermal power plants – by 10%.

The share of atomic energy in the total energy balance of the country has practically not changed, but coal has decreased. Compared with the first half of 2018, coal was produced by 30%, and from brown coal – by 20% less electricity.

And this is quite understandable. Because of rising prices for emission quotas, the generation of electricity from coal costs the group more and more. Gas power plants also emit CO2 in the atmosphere, but smaller volumes, and work more efficiently.

Profitable gas power plants

As a raw material, gas is usually more expensive than coal. However, in the first half of 2019, gas prices in the region were low, so part of the blue-powered power plants turned out to be more profitable. On June 29, 2019, the price of gas on the Dutch TTF marketplace was about 10 euros per megawatt-hour, and a year earlier it was almost 20 euros.

As explained in the Federal Association of Enterprises of Energy and Water (BDEW), one of the reasons for the fall in prices was a relatively warm winter, so there is still a lot of gas in the storage facilities. Besides, several new LNG receiving terminals have appeared in Europe.

At the same time, the increase in electricity generated from solar and wind energy, and the reduction in the capacity of coal-fired power plants, led to a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions. According to BDEW, in the first half of 2019, this figure was about 15% lower than in the same period of 2018.

Despite this, the association emphasizes that by 2030, Germany plans to bring the share of “green electricity” in the energy balance to 65%.

source – here