TECH

Germany's Renewable Sources Provide 85% Of Energy For The First Time

'Most of Germany’s coal-fired power stations were not even operating.'

09/05/2017 11:47 BST | Updated 09/05/2017 17:08 BST

Germany set a new clean energy record on 30 April as renewable sources generated 85% of the country’s electricity.

Breezy, sunny weather in the north and warm weather in the south of the country drove up solar and wind generation during the bank holiday weekend.

Operators were forced to turn off coal-fired power stations and reduce nuclear power facilities across the country as renewable generation soared.

Fabrizio Bensch / Reuters
A general view shows the Lieberose solar farm, one of the world's largest solar power plants. 

The milestone comes in the wake of major government investments in Energiewende, the country’s transition to a low carbon economy.

The government has pledged to phase out nuclear power by 2022 and is aiming for at least 80% of power to come from renewable sources by 2050.

Patrick Graichen of Agora Energiewende told RenewEconomy that Sunday’s record would be “completely normal” by 2030.

“Most of Germany’s coal-fired power stations were not even operating on Sunday April 30th, with renewable sources accounting for 85 per cent of electricity across the country,” Graichen said. “Nuclear power sources, which are planned to be completely phased out by 2022, were also severely reduced.”

The UK set its own clean energy record last month as it went coal-free for a continuous 24 hour period for the first time since the industrial revolution.

Coal-fired power stations have been offline for extended periods in the past, but the previous record of 19 hours was set during a weekend – on 14 May 2016 – when demand is typically lower. 

Environmentalists hailed the announcement as a watershed moment in Britain’s transition to a cleaner economy