Towards 100% renewable power

This initiative reflects Germany's commitment to sustainability, environmental responsibility, and leadership in the global shift towards clean energy

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Published: Thu 30 Nov 2023, 2:06 PM

The evident impacts of climate change have prompted nations worldwide to adopt measures aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions, in an effort to limit global temperature rises. Germany has long been a pioneer in renewable energy adoption. The ‘Energiewende’, or energy transition, was officially launched in the early 2000s as a comprehensive policy framework aimed at decarbonising the country's energy sector. The plan includes increasing energy efficiency, expanding renewable energy sources, and phasing out nuclear power. Since then, the country has made significant strides in increasing the share of renewables in its energy mix.

In fact, Germany is taking a decisive step towards a sustainable future by boldly committing to achieve 100 per cent renewable energy by 2035. This ambitious move positions the country as a frontrunner in the global shift towards sustainable energy within the engineering sector.

The country plans to increase the use of wind and solar power so that they make up 80 per cent of Germany’s energy by 2030 by doubling the amount of onshore wind energy to 110GW, tripling the amount of solar energy to 200GW, and reaching 30GW of offshore wind energy.

This initiative is a pivotal part of Germany's comprehensive green agenda, with the nation now aiming to source all its electricity from renewable means by 2035, five years ahead of their previous fossil fuel elimination target.

Germany's pursuit of renewable energy has gained momentum in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, prompting the country to accelerate efforts to reduce dependence on Russian fossil fuels. Economy Minister Robert Habeck emphasised the importance of expanding renewable energy sources to achieve greater energy independence.

Even before the geopolitical developments, Germany had announced plans to phase out coal-fired power plants by 2030 and to close all nuclear power plants by 2022. Faced with these impending changes, the country is now tasked with finding alternative methods of energy production.

Finance Minister Christian Lindner called renewable electricity ‘the energy of freedom’ and according to a government draft paper, the country is planning to increase the use of wind and solar power so that they make up 80 per cent of Germany’s energy by 2030. By then, Germany's onshore wind energy capacity should double to up to 110 gigawatts (GW), offshore wind energy should reach 30GW — arithmetically the capacity of 10 nuclear plants — and solar energy would more than triple to 200GW, the paper showed.

Hitting this accelerator is essential to reduce the impacts of high fossil energy prices. A focus on cutting demand and expanding renewables is critical to helping Europe stop importing Russian gas altogether by 2025.

GERMANY overtakes China as second-most attractive country for renewables investment

Germany has overtaken China to become the second most attractive country in the world for renewables investment due to its efforts to speed up power market reform and move away from fossil fuels, research showed.

In an annual ranking of the top 40 renewable energy markets worldwide by consultancy EY, the United States was ranked first, with Germany climbing one place to second position for the first time in a decade.

Germany was Europe's biggest buyer of Russian gas until the war in Ukraine and has also been reliant on nuclear and coal. However, it closed its last three nuclear power stations in April.

"While this is a major milestone in its progress to accelerated energy transition targets, there is likely to be an increase in the use of coal in the short term, to reduce the effects of intermittency in the power supply," the report said. Germany is aiming to have renewables make up 80 per cent of its energy mix by 2030. Currently, renewables account for 46 per cent, up from 41 per cent at the start of 2022, the report said.

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