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09/30/2011 05:09 PM     print story email story  

Germany's Shift to Renewables is Paying Off News

Germany still exports more energy than it imports even after exiting nuclear, thanks to its renewable energy industry.

Renewable energy supplied a record 20.8% of its electricity in the first half of 2011, from wind, solar, biomass and hydro.

After Japan's nuclear disaster, Chancellor Angela Merkel  announced the government's goal was for renewable energy to generate 35% of Germany's energy by 2022, when all its nuclear reactors would be closed.

Following the Japanese incident in March, citizen pressure caused Germany to immediately shut down its seven oldest plants and Merkel announced the remaining 10 plants would follow by 2022.

It is the first industrialized nation to eliminate its nuclear industry. Since nuclear generates almost a third of its electricity, many feared Germany would soon have to import energy.

The early results are in, and although the ratio of exports to imports decreased slightly in the first half of 2011, Germany still sold more electricity than it bought. 

A consumer of more than 300 TWh every six months, the nation exported nearly 11 TWh more electricity than it imported in the first half of the year.

Last year, Germany installed over 7,400 MW of solar and another 7,000 MW will be added this year. Solar and wind capacity is expected to grow by 32% from 2012-2013.

The surge in renewable energy is credited with driving down the price of electricity in Germany. This week it's down 45 euros per megawatt hour.

In July, Germany passed a new version of its landmark feed-in law, raising its target for renewable energy to 35-40% by 2020. It maintains its system of incentives for solar PV and onshore wind, and raised payments for biomass, geothermal, & offshore Wind, to build up those resources. 

Read about the feed-in law:


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