Renewables overtake coal to become Germany’s primary energy source

Sources of renewable energy accounted for just over 40% of Germany’s electricity production in 2018, overtaking coal as the country’s main source of energy for the first time.

Coal-fired power accounted for 38% of Germany’s total energy supply last year, with its position set to further diminish as Europe’s largest economy plans for an orderly long-term exit from coal while committing to a 65% renewables target by 2030.

Research from the Fraunhofer organization of applied science found that output from solar, wind, biomass and hydroelectric generation units rose 4.3% in 2018 to produce 219TWh of electricity.

The share of renewable energy’s in Germany’s power production rose from 38.2% in 2017 and just 19.1% in 2010. Bruno Burger, author of the Fraunhofer study, said it is set to stay above 40% this year.

“We will not fall below the 40% in 2019 because more renewable installations are being built and weather patterns will not change that dramatically,” he said.

Germany officially closed its last operating coal mine in the Ruhr region last month, although its 120 coal-fired power plants will continue to power the national grid via imported coal from the US, Russia, or Colombia.