Some Data on Full Load Hours and Energy Generation in 2013

We thought it might be interesting to take a look at recent figures for full load hours of different types of generation (such as wind, coal, PV) against the background of generated power in 2013.

A  year has 365 days, hence 8760 hours. Full load hours describe the (calculated) amount of time the generators would have run at full capacity to produce the electricty it actually generated in a given time, i.e. the time that it would have operated at full load had it always operated at that level. Another term used in this context is “capacity factor”, describing ratio between actual output in a given period and the potential output if it were possible for it to operate at full capacity all the time. We have added the data on total generation for the different sources to give an indication what quantitative role each source plays in the energy mix. Of course, the actual quantity does not reflect the relevance of the respective source at any given time, as the quantity does not say at what time a particular generation source was available and/or necessary to ensure grid stability and security of supply.

Based on data from the Federal Association of the Energy and Wind Industry (BDEW) on full loead hours and data from the German Federal Statistical Office (destatis) on generation in 2013 we created a diagram. In the diagramme below, we have charted full load hours and total generation for the different types of generation in 2013.

Full Load Hours and Generation Quantities in 2013

Full Load Hours and Generation Quantities in 2013

Some observation from the diagramm:

  • Nuclear energy power stations show the largest amount of full load hours per year (7,630 hour per year)
  • Lignite generation full load hours are also high at  7,030 hours per year.
  • Gas was midrange with 2,480 hours per year.
  • Renewable energies like wind and solar power have considerably fewer full load hours. Wind power was at 1,610 hours per year, solar energy averaged 910 hours per year. The only renewable energy source with high full load hours is biomass at 6,450 hours.
  • Energy generation is a complex business.

Source :  BDEW, AGEB, destatis

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11 Responses to “Some Data on Full Load Hours and Energy Generation in 2013”


  • With regard to variable intermittent energy sources, such as wind and solar, to talk about ELFH in the same breath as other, steady, energy sources is pure nonsense.

    These are different animals like lions and elephants, both have 4 legs, but they are vastly different

  • The above should be EFLH

  • The raw comparison in fact has extremely little meaning.

    The ideal generator would not be generating 100% of the time. It would be generating at a ratio that exactly matches the number of full load hours there is in demands. Any generator that is higher than that requires another one to be lower.

    This shows it’s very important to know if the result is by choice or by necessity. Here solar and wind are 100% by necessity. Storage has a low number by necessity, but you can choose freely when it’s used. Run-of-river is also by necessity, but with little short term unpredicted variation (year on year variation is quite high). Hard coal, gaz, oil are by choice. Lignite and nuclear are very high but by economic necessity, much more than by technical.

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