Record share of renewable energies in the German electricity mix

Renewable energy

Renewable energies from wind, sun and co achieved a record share of net electricity generation in the first half of 2023. © GetYourPic/ iStock

The semi-annual data on electricity generation in Germany are here - and bring a new record with them. According to this, for the first time in the first half of 2023, the electricity mix that comes out of the socket consisted of 57.7 percent renewable energies. Wind energy accounted for the largest share, followed by photovoltaics. The shares of lignite and hard coal, on the other hand, have fallen significantly compared to the previous year. At the same time, prices have also recovered a little.

It doesn't matter whether you use green electricity or "normal" electricity: a mix of different types of electricity generation always comes out of the socket. Once every six months, the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE determines the composition of this electricity mix over the past six months. This is also referred to as net electricity generation. The data for this comes from the Energy Charts platform.

Renewable energies are booming

For the first half of 2023, the Fraunhofer Institute has recorded a record share of renewable energies. Accordingly, the share of green electricity in net electricity generation in Germany was 57.7 percent for the first time. This means that anyone who charged their mobile phone at the socket in the past few months did so with around 60 percent renewable energy. Across Germany, this new record share corresponds to around 130 terawatt hours (TWh). Of this, 67 TWh is accounted for by wind energy, 30 by photovoltaic systems, 21 by biomass and 9.3 by hydroelectric power plants.

On May 4th, solar energy also set another record by feeding more than 40 gigawatts of power into the German grid for the first time. As far as the construction of further photovoltaic systems is concerned, according to the Fraunhofer Institute, Germany is currently well on the way to achieving its climate protection goals. From January to May alone, a capacity of five gigawatts was added, bringing the overall photovoltaic target for this year of nine additional gigawatts within reach. Wind expansion, on the other hand, is currently still lagging behind. Of the planned plus four gigawatts, just one gigawatt had been achieved by the end of May.

energy sources
Shares of different energy sources in the net electricity generation for public electricity supply. © Fraunhofer ISE/energy-charts.info

Coal on the retreat, falling prices

The rise of renewable energy has coincided with the decline of other forms of power generation. According to the Fraunhofer Institute, electricity production from lignite has fallen by 21 percent compared to the first half of 2022, and that from hard coal by 23 percent. Electricity from natural gas has decreased by four percent, electricity generation from nuclear energy by 57 percent. Taken together, these types of electricity production generated 91.4 TWh in the past half year.

The strong decline in nuclear energy is due to the phase-out of nuclear energy and the shutdown of the last nuclear power plants - Isar 2, Emsland and Neckarwestheim 2 - in April 2023. According to the Fraunhofer Institute, however, the lost capacity of 30 TWh has been successfully compensated. An already lower consumption, reduced exports, increased imports and the expansion of solar and wind capacity would have led to a balance.

According to the Fraunhofer Institute, electricity prices have also fallen compared to the previous year. According to this, a megawatt hour on the stock exchange cost an average of 100.54 euros in the first half of 2023. In the first half of 2022 it was still 181.28 euros. This means that prices are back to the level before the start of the war in Ukraine, but are still above the usual prices in 2021. According to the data, the shutdown of the last nuclear power plants had hardly any effect on the price of electricity. On the other hand, increasing production from renewable sources, the weather and increased production in neighboring European countries had a clearly price-reducing effect.

Source: Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE

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