For the first time, renewable energy has overtaken coal as Germany’s main power source. Solar, wind, biomass and hydroelectric usage all grew, with wind now Germany’s second largest single source of power.
Research undertaken by Bruno Burger of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems says that renewable energy generation grew by 4.3% in 2018, accounting for 40% of Germany’s electricity production. A rise of over 100% since 2010.
Burger is also adamant that this number will not fall across the next year, as “more renewable installations are being built and weather patters will not change dramatically”.
Other European countries are also seeing huge declines in the use of coal, and as such are becoming far less dependent on it.
Germany, who has the largest open cast coal mine in Europe, has extended mining commitments through until 2040, but ministers have said that renewable sources should provide 65% of the country’s energy by 2030.
Germany’s reluctance to end its dependence on coal saw protesters unfurl banners at its embassy in London three months ago after a major UN report called for unprecedented action to tackle climate change.
Coal remains Germany’s largest single source of power, followed closely by wind.
Renewable energy in the UK
In April 2017, the UK went four days without using any coal producing any electricity to the national grid, the first time coal has been cut out of the generation of power since the 1880s.
In 2016, 210 hours were classed as coal free, indicating that it hadn’t been used to contribute to the national grid. By 2017, this rose to 624 coal free hours, and in 2018, over 1,000 hours were logged where coal wasn’t used.
The UK has plans to completely eradicate the use of coal by 2025.