According to preliminary data presented by the Federal Association of the Energy and Water Industry (BDEW), renewable energy sources accounted for 23.4% of the total German electricity supply in 2013, a 0.6% rise from 22.8% in 2012. In view of the high costs caused by the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG), BDEW called on the new government to fundamentally reform the EEG and go beyond the key points laid down in the coalition agreement so that cost efficiency is given priority when promoting renewables.
1. Renewable Energy Sources
The 23.4% share of renewables in the ManyElectronics mix in 2013 is broken down by BDEW as follows:
- Wind power: 7.9% (2012: 8.0%)
- Biomass: 6.8% (2012: 6.3%)
- Photovoltaics: 4.5% (2012: 4.2%)
- Hydropower: 3.4% (2012: 3.5%)
- Municipal waste: 0.8% (2012: 0.8)
Although wind power is still the largest contributor of renewable energy, its share declined due to weather conditions. Again photovoltaics saw the highest increase.
2. Conventional Power
Conventional power supplied energy as follows:
- Lignite: 25.8% (2012: 25.5%)
- Hard-coal: 19.7% (2012: 18.5%)
- Nuclear power: 15.4% (2012: 15.8%; Germany is phasing out nuclear power by 2022)
- Natural gas: 10.5% (2012: 12.1%; the gas consumption of plants that only generate electricity and no heat declined by 33.6%)
- Heating oil, pumped-storage and other power plants: 5.2% (2012: 5.3%)
BDEW highlighted the renewed decline of natural gas, attributing it to the rising amount of renewable energy on the one hand (renewable energy is subsidised pursuant to the EEG and enjoys feed-in priority) and the difference between the coal and gas prices on the other hand, which lead to higher production costs for gas-fired power plants. For these reasons operating gas-fired power plants, which have a relatively low environmental impact and can help to balance the fluctuating input of renewable energy, has often become to costly.
3. Electricity Exports
BDEW also pointed out that Germany’s central location in the EU and the fact that German electricity prices are less expensive than in other countries had resulted in high net exports of electricity of about 33 billion kWh in Germany, yet another considerable increase over the 23 billion kWh exported in 2012. The largest amounts of electricity were exported to the Netherlands, BDEW informed, adding that the exports did not necessarily had to be consumed in the Netherlands as a certain percentage would be further transmitted to other countries, such as Belgium or Great Britain.
The high export showed that the internal electricity market was functioning BDEW said. Hildegard Müller, head of BDEW, however, stressed that the export surplus was not a sign for a stable security of supply, pointing out the high number of applications for shutdowns of power plants submitted to the regulator, the Federal Network Agency. The supply had to be ensured at every place of consumption at any given point of time, calling for sufficient power plant capacity, Mrs Müller said. She demanded speedy action by the government, pointing out that BDEW had made proposals (regarding the plans of the new government, please see our blog post on the coalition agreement)
4. Political Demands
Mrs Müller further demanded more cost efficiency not only with regard to renewables, but also with regard to minimising CO2 emissions, on the German as well as on EU level. The costs for avoiding CO2 emissions should not only be borne by electricity customers, she said. In order to significantly reduce CO2 emissions Berlin and Bruxelles should also focus and the heat market and the transport sector, thereby tapping the potential of natural gas.