According to data compiled and reported by Fraunhofer-Institut für Solare Energiesysteme ISE—a German-based solar energy research institute—from July 1 through August 5, solar and wind energy produced 6.24 TWh and 7.09 TWh of electricity respectively, compared to 5.94 TWh of nuclear power generation in Germany.
Although it’s not the first time wind production has exceeded nuclear generation over a period of a month or more, it does mark a first for solar power. It’s not likely to be the last either, because Germany intends to eliminate nuclear power from its energy mix by 2022. (See “Riding Off into the Sunset: Nuclear Decontamination and Decommissioning Update” from the July issue of POWER for an example of what’s already been accomplished at the Stade Nuclear Power Plant located northwest of Hamburg on the Elbe River.)
Considering all of the publicity that the German energy transition Energiewende has received, it may come as a surprise that coal remains the largest source of electric power generation in the country. During the July 1 to August 5 period, coal-fired generation accounted for 22.26 TWh—44.25% of all electricity produced in the country, and more than solar, wind, and nuclear combined (Figure 1).
1. Coal still leads the way. This chart shows German electricity produced (in TWh) by generation source during the period from July 1 through August 5, 2015. Source: Fraunhofer-Institut für Solare Energiesysteme ISE
To gain a better understanding of the German energy market, see Bentham Paulos’ article “Texas and Germany: Energy Twins?”
—Aaron Larson, associate editor (@AaronL_Power, @POWERmagazine)