German state to go 100% renewable power… this year
On the border to Denmark, Schleswig-Holstein is a largely rural state – and Germany’s windiest area. It is home to the country’s only Energiewende Minister, and it will produce as much green electricity as it consumes total electricity over the year for the first time in 2014.
Two years ago, we reported on the state’s plans to go 300 percent renewable, a target that then-Environmental Minister Peter Altmaier did not doubt the state could reach. He merely wondered who the state would sell to given all of the other targets for 100 percent renewables in power supply elsewhere in the country.
This year, Schleswig-Holstein will cross a symbolic milestone towards that goal by producing as much renewable electricity as the state consumes in electricity (including conventional) over the year as a whole – meaning that the figure is a net calculation, not that the state can do without interconnections to Denmark and other parts of Germany. Indeed, the state needs the grid both to sell its excess renewable power and to purchase conventional electricity.
In April, the state’s Energiewende Minister told German website Klimaretter that the government’s new target for 40-45 percent renewable electricity by 2025 is not enough to offset the drop in nuclear power by the end of the phaseout in December 2022 – a statement that stretches the case. In 2013, Germany met 25 percent of its domestic power demand from renewables, with nuclear making up around 15 percent. Renewables would therefore need to grow by 15 percent to completely offset nuclear, putting the country at 40 percent renewable power by 2022.
Provided that Germany reaches the upper end of that target corridor, Germany will indeed offset its nuclear power completely. The real problem is that the upper limit means that Germany will not cut into its electricity from fossil fuel enough – the coal phaseout will be postponed until after the nuclear phaseout under business as usual.
For a closer look at how Germany’s targets are likely to pan out, see Thomas Gerke’s calculation. (Craig Morris)