German power sector 27 percent non-hydro renewable in 2014
The figures published by German research institute Fraunhofer ISE show that the share of new renewables in power generation (including exports) rose from below 24 percent in 2013 to 27 percent in the first two quarters of this year. Renewables were collectively larger than lignite for the first time. And there is a great new website with power sector data.
As I forecast at the beginning of the year, 2014 continues to be a bumper year for renewables. Solar grew by 28 percent in the first half of 2014 relative to Q1 & Q2 2013, while 19 percent more wind power was generated. Solar and wind alone made up a whopping 17 percent of power generation, up from around 12-13 percent in the past few years.
Gas turbines continue to be hurt the most in the Energiewende, with power from natural gas dropping further by 25 percent this year. In contrast, power from hard coal was down 11 percent, with lignite down four percent. Nuclear power decreased only by around two percent.
We have repeatedly discussed how Germany’s record net exports are rescuing the country’s conventional plants, and the issue was one of the main topics in the recent study entitled German Coal Conundrum I co-authored. Net power exports continued to increase, rising from 14.4 TWh in the first half of 2013 to 18.3 TWh in the first half of this year.
But according to the fantastic overview (PDF) published by Fraunhofer’s Bruno Burger, France was no longer the second biggest buyer. The Netherlands remain the biggest buyer of German power, followed by Austria, Switzerland, and Poland this year. The mild winter means that French demand for German power remained low.
It seems, however, judging from this explanation that Burger may be counting physical power flows, not commercial purchases. For instance, he writes: “the Netherlands acts as transit country for Belgium and the UK, Switzerland transmits electricity mainly to Italy.”
To the extent that it may have happened, another year of record net exports from Germany in the power sector would be especially interesting this year because such sales would be more clearly related to lower prices on the wholesale market this year and less related to a shortfall of electricity in neighboring countries due to cold weather. Specifically, this situation is likely to continue for the foreseeable future, and any cold spell that occurs will increase demand for German power.
In addition, I am pleased to announce that Fraunhofer ISE has put up an entirely new website for its charts. I have not yet had a look at all of its features, but we certainly now have an excellent option to the overview provided by Agora Energiewende. Here is what the alleged record day of 50 percent solar (June 9) looks like on Fraunhofer’s new website – and once again, it does not look like solar peaked anywhere close to 50 percent of power production (and probably not of power demand either once we exclude exports, not shown in the chart above).