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In record-breaking weekend, Germany got 85% of its electricity from renewables

Alternative Energy

Germany is kicking all kinds of sustainable butt when it comes to its use of renewable energy sources. According to recently released figures, for the last weekend of April, the country established a jaw-dropping new national record in this department — with 85 percent of all electricity consumed in Germany being produced through wind, solar, biomass, and hydroelectric power.

Aided by a seasonal combination of windy but sunny weather, during that weekend the majority of Germany’s coal-fired power stations weren’t even operating, while nuclear power stations (which the country plans to phase out by the year 2022) were massively reduced in output.

To be clear, this is impressive even by Germany’s progressive standards. By comparison, in March just over 40 percent of all electricity consumed in the country came from renewable sources. (According to the most recent figures we could find, in 2015 just 16.9 percent of the electrical generation in the United States came from renewable sources.)

However, while the end-of-April weekend was an aberration, the hope is that it won’t be for too much longer. According to Patrick Graichen of the country’s sustainability-focused Agora Energiewende Initiative, German renewable energy percentages in the mid-80s should be “completely normal” by the year 2030.

This is all thanks to an aggressive focus on investing in renewable energy resources, which have seen a massive boost since 2010. Despite criticism from some parts of the media, the push to embrace sustainable energy sources has received strong support from the German public, as well as from chancellor Angela Merkel.

In all, it’s a timely reminder of what renewable energy sources are able to deliver if given the chance. While private companies like Apple in the U.S. have made their pro-sustainability stance clear, for the most part this is still an area the United States is lagging behind other parts of the world — particularly Germany.

Digital Trends

40 Comments on "In record-breaking weekend, Germany got 85% of its electricity from renewables"

  1. Cloggie on Fri, 12th May 2017 6:50 am 

    Other countries like Denmark are even further. Please note that neither Denmark (the real pioneer of renewable energy) nor Germany have “easy renewable” hydro power. It’s solar + wind + biomass.

    Meanwhile more wind power onshore meets stiff resistance from environmentalist and landscape protectors. Most new wind power therefor will come from offshore.

    It is safe to assume that by 2030 Germany (and the rest of Western Europe) will produce most of its 2017-level electricity renewable.

    Note though that for NW-Europe electricity is something like 25% of the total energy budget, the rest is space heating and transport.

    By 2030 most of the transport energy will be electric, increase the share of electricity within the total energy budget.

    Space heating can be covered with heat pumps, geothermal, better isolation, new zero energy home design, thermal solar collectors in combination with seasonal storage of heat…

  2. Westexasfanclub on Fri, 12th May 2017 8:10 am 

    Hello Cloggie

    While I agree with you in general terms, I beg to differ in the detail:

    “It is safe to assume that by 2030 Germany (and the rest of Western Europe) will produce most of its 2017-level electricity renewable.”

    Not sure. Over all electricity production does not grow in Europe. So it is not very probable that 2017-level electricity then will be produced by renewable. I rather think 50-60% is realistic.

    “Note though that for NW-Europe electricity is something like 25% of the total energy budget, the rest is space heating and transport.”

    The amount is closer to 20% I think. I don’t want to be nitpicky, but the corrected amount of renewable energy, summing both statements, is significantly smaller. Grossly estimated, the amount of renewable electricity produced in 2030 would be a 50% lower.

  3. Jan on Fri, 12th May 2017 8:47 am 

    That is fantastic, hopefully Germany got all it’s cars and washing machines built during that weekend.

    I wonder what happened on Tuesday the 9th after the sun went down.
    If by 2030 it is windy all the time and sunny all the time they will have sorted their energy problems
    Well of the 48 gigawatts used between 8 and 9pm 43 gigawatts were not produced by wind or solar.

  4. Cloggie on Fri, 12th May 2017 9:30 am 

    That is fantastic, hopefully Germany got all it’s cars and washing machines built during that weekend.

    Many people think that during the weekend hardly any electricity is used since everybody is in church praying. Why not study this chart to verify that the difference between weekdays and weekend is something like 60 vs 50 GW, not great a difference:

    What IS true though is that the weather conditions were exceptional for this 85% to occur.

    I wonder what happened on Tuesday the 9th after the sun went down.

    Not much. Germany is embedded in a European supergrid. All over Europe there are wicked operators monitoring the continental energy situation and they have endless options so that supply meets demand. Hydro power stations respond in a time-frame of a few seconds. Fossil power stations in a matter of minutes. But once renewable energy continues to penetrate, new storage options needs to be installed. Pumped hydro is not exhausted and then there is ammonia or hydrogen:

  5. Jan on Fri, 12th May 2017 9:56 am 


    Do you work for the wind or solar industry or are you a student of some sort?

  6. Cloggie on Fri, 12th May 2017 10:16 am 

    Do you work for the wind or solar industry or are you a student of some sort?

    Graduated on renewable energy in the eighties and worked a couple of years in the field before moving to IT, until today. But I kept an interest in the subject, hence my blog.

  7. banjo on Fri, 12th May 2017 10:27 am 

    You will likely find these 85% numbers apply to residential electrical use only. It would be great if renewable sources could do the job. Reality is like a brick wall it don’t care for snoogy feel good shit just what works and that friends is fossil fuels.

  8. Sissyfuss on Fri, 12th May 2017 10:32 am 

    And in related news, Germany got 85% of its population growth from destroyed 3rd world litter boxes.

  9. Apneaman on Fri, 12th May 2017 12:22 pm 

    German Sun King’s SolarWorld to file for insolvency

  10. Cloggie on Fri, 12th May 2017 12:53 pm 

    German Sun King’s SolarWorld to file for insolvency

    The Chinese can do it much cheaper. Let them work their asses of for a dime and let them help carrying out the European transition.

    Germans are better at building automated solar factories than supervising them, like the Chinese do.

    This year Germany (82m) will outperform the Chinese (1330m) yet again with export volume.

    130 billion in March, that would be 1.56 trillion. In 2016 it was 1.21 trillion. These figures are insane. Some food for thought for the hardcore collapseniks.

  11. Umnik on Fri, 12th May 2017 1:16 pm 

    @ cloggie: there is a eu-co-funded project which works towards an even closer cooperation between all the energy-clusters around the North Sea. It is called “Northern Connections” and just started a few months ago (not much on the homepace yet). Except for the english masters of stupidity, every country bordering the North Sea takes part..If you are interested in it, just write me an email.



  12. rockman on Fri, 12th May 2017 1:35 pm 

    Texas doesn’t quite have the bragging rights as the krauts but pretty good compared to other states. Especially since we consume a hell of a lot more electricity then sny other state:

    “Just 4 months ago a burst of wind propelled Texas to surpass its all-time record for wind energy production, providing 45 percent of the state’s total electricity needs… 13.9 gigawatts of electric power at its peak. Enough electricity to power over 230 million conventional 60 watt incandescent light bulbs.

    Of course, like Germany, it didn’t last long so the stat isn’t that big a deal. A smaller but more impressive number is the 12% average of wind power generated electricity provided year round. And again: in the state that consumes 30% more then #2 CA. And before some asks that includes residential AND commercial demand.

    And the future could be even more significant. With lower prices commercial solar is beginning to take off in Texas. And we have a huge potential…far greater then we had with wind. We have many hundreds of thousands of sun soaked acres of very little value. And then add the big electricity demand in the state right have commercial: AC. AC in the summer when the sun beats down on Texas without mercy.

    And we won’t have to expand the grid much to accommodate solar power: we already spent $7 billion to accommodate wind power expansion. The number of large solar energy plants in Texas is projected to nearly double over the next four years. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas expects 20 new utility-grade solar projects to come on line by the end of 2020. That would bring the total to 41 solar plants in Texas, which could produce enough electricity to power all of Dallas County.

    And as interesting as always: being done in the largest fossil fuel producing state.

  13. Boat on Fri, 12th May 2017 2:51 pm 


    Not sure if you knew that Houston is now 50 percent renewable. A recently completed solar field in west Texas added the latest 10.

  14. Apneaman on Fri, 12th May 2017 10:21 pm 

    Cutting Europe’s lifelines to coal: tracking subsidies in 10 countries

    “This report reviews subsidies to coal in 10 countries that produce 84% of Europe’s energy-related greenhouse gas emissions: France, the Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Italy, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain and UK. It is accompanied by individual briefs for each of the ten countries setting out where subsidies to coal remain.”

  15. Apneaman on Fri, 12th May 2017 10:26 pm 

    Boat how can, Houston, the Cancer capital of the world be 50% renewable? So half of all vehicles in Houston including trains, cranes, heavy equipment are solar-wind powered? Wow! That sounds like 100% texass bullshit to me.

    How’s the weather been lately? Baha

  16. Boat on Fri, 12th May 2017 10:32 pm 


    Electricity dude. Not transportation. You know, wind and solar.

  17. makati1 on Fri, 12th May 2017 10:42 pm 

    Ap, electricity is a small part of the energy use in Texas. And oil makes even that possible, as you well know. About 20% of the electric used in Texas is from hydroelectric and ‘renewables’. (2017 EIA stats.)

    Texans have a built-in arrogance not seen in other states. They seem to believe they are ‘different/better’ when they are different/stupid.

  18. Apneaman on Sat, 13th May 2017 12:19 am 

    Boat, do you know what percentage of total world energy demand is electricity?

  19. Kenz300 on Sat, 13th May 2017 12:53 am 

    Clean energy production with solar power and battery storage.

    Clean energy consumption with electric vehicles.

    No emissions. That is a future we can all live with.

  20. GregT on Sat, 13th May 2017 1:08 am 


    “Electricity dude. Not transportation.”

    You do understand, ‘dude’, that without transportation there would be no wind or solar? If you can’t even figure that one out, you’re even more stupid than you normally make yourself out to be.

  21. Boat on Sat, 13th May 2017 1:39 am 


    Did you know a world without carbon we wouldn’t exhist. That makes about as much sense as your comment. Wow man just think, if we didn’t have air we couldn’t breath. Welcome to a common Canadian doomer thought process. Wow without transportation our wind mill blade would just sit there. Admit it greggiet, your growing mushrooms up there.

  22. Boat on Sat, 13th May 2017 1:50 am 


    Petroleum products are around 38 percent. Coal, nat gas geo thermal, hydro,wind and solar make up the rest along with cow shyt, biomass etc. How much goes into fertilizer, plastic etc is the question. A breakout of products and percentages is difficult. Why? You gonna start walking?

  23. makati1 on Sat, 13th May 2017 2:46 am 

    Boat, your soooo DEEP in denial that you cannot see the sun shine. You have no rebuttal to the facts presented to you. Without FFs, NOTHING you use would exist unless you grew it in your back yard. Nothing. But you are beyond redemption or education. Why do you waste your time here if you refuse to learn from those who know and understand? Masochism?

    Define masochism: enjoyment of pain: pleasure that someone gets from being abused or hurt. M/W

  24. Cloggie on Sat, 13th May 2017 3:55 am 

    Ammonia replacing natural gas?

    We need a carbon-free economy, so the questions is what will replace fossil?

    Answer: renewable energy.

    But that is intermittent?

    Right, so we need storage. Pumped hydro is an important part of the solution, but not every country has mountains and not every mountainous country would like to see dams build in its beautiful valleys for water storage, just because the neighboring flatlander wants to store his energy.

    Here is an interesting alternative, NH3 or Ammonia:

    In New Orleans, 1871 they had a “Ammoniacal Gas Engine” propelled streetcar.

    Your average oil tank of 60,000 m3 filled with 1 Bar liquid ammonia contains 200 GWh of energy, or the really production of 30 wind turbines.

    But the real kicker is that it is probably possible to burn the ammonia in conventional natural gas station, avoiding writing off a lot of sunk capital.

    Ammonia is one of the more promising alternatives, next to hydrogen.

  25. Cloggie on Sat, 13th May 2017 3:57 am 

    really production

    Yearly production

  26. Boat on Sat, 13th May 2017 4:06 am 


    Where do you get the idea I think FF are not. Important. In have posted the possibility of Peak of oil around 2030. That’s peak, idiot, not the end of oil. You and greggiet have group think mud for brains. Ya’ll been using that same argument for 4 years and to what end. I have yet to see any poster say we don’t need FF. Your clueless.
    What I like to talk about is the transition to an electric economy. Doing so is a several decade long path. Even at 95 percent renewables we will use oil. My mower for one. I refuse to drag a cord around the yard.

  27. Davy on Sat, 13th May 2017 6:01 am 

    “Ammonia is one of the more promising alternatives, next to hydrogen.” It does sound promising but still plenty of issues around before you get the horse before the cart. Ammonia is just an energy vector for renewables so you need to get the actually generating apparatus, adapted grid, and human behavior right first. I am also skeptical of scale and timeframe. With scale comes cost benefit and with time comes energy transformation process. Can you do this cheap enough? They always chime in “Yes” and “look how prices are dropping now”. Your penetration levels are improving but still not there in relation to a time frame that needs to be much quicker. Price is dropping but not yet enough and your calculations of cost leave out many aspects of what goes into the civilization producing and operating renewables. You leave out the repression of markets and the monetization of debt to provide artificial liquidity. This keeps the engines of commerce humming now but how safe is that? It takes an economy to do a renewable transformation. Our economy may be what does us in and is what is most ignored in the habituation of a status quo. Attitudes are it could get bad but it will get good again. What if it ends?

    You are still a long way off with EV’s for personal transport. Heavy transport and flying are even more remote. Transport is the “blood” of civilization. If oil were likewise not in a situation of economic uncertainty to cover the transport side this would be less worrisome. Despite all those people that discount peak oil dynamics I feel the economic aspects of oil are declining. This decline is in tandem with other declines of other vital systematic aspects of society. Instead of contributing to solutions through energy oil is now one of the problems. So oil is not there without problems to power a renewable transformation. Renewables will be hard pressed to take up the slack of oil in decline and build itself out in an energy transition.

    Agriculture is the worst for a renewable transformation. Agriculture is already difficult and marginal with fossil fuels and a potent global economy. Depress the markets for the huge monocultures by raising the costs of production and you find yet another systematic problem. Transport is huge in agriculture. You have lots of low value product that needs to be moved long distances. There are highly technical aspects to what goes into agriculture like the equipment and the chemicals. You have 7BIL people that are not being fed properly now and with agriculture increasingly facing diminishing returns to its productivity. IOW productivity is stagnating.

    For some they would say “well good” the turd world needs a die off except that the interconnected nature of globalism and the far flung just-in-time economies of scale are susceptible to die offs through risk contagions spreading to all aspects of that system. Financialization loathes such shocks and once the faith in trade declines so does trade which is a self-reinforcing problem. Renewables are on a roll now only because of the economy. Take that away and it is dead in its tracks for many reasons. One simple reason is cheaper already available fossil fuels will be used by necessity instead of an expensive renewable buildout. Can we even keep from killing ourselves in war with a global system in failure?

    Much of this renewable transition is being done because of climate change but that appears to be already concluded. It is going abrupt and self-reinforcing. Many write off the worst and believe tech can mitigate that. We just don’t know and that means we don’t know if a renewable world will be produced, function well, and be maintained in an altered climate. Will an altered climate destroy agriculture and the economy as we know it? That ends renewables. Before we go balls to the wall in an energy transition lets figure out if we moderns are done because of climate and when.

    My long winded explanation comes down to sobriety and humility that is needed with techno optimism with what will likely be man’s last energy transition. With all these above challenges where is the wisdom? A real wisdom would ask is it right to try to transition? Would it be better to acknowledge we are defeated at some level and use this process with less boldness and more reality? Maybe we should be pushing for this renewables effort as extenders and enhancers instead of a world of new and more. Maybe instead of pushing so hard into new and more maybe we need less and reincorporate the old.

    Yea, lost cause because the global economy has its own faith and that is development through growth. A renewables transition fits into that faith so the point comes down to “YES” and “MOAR” because that is our basics of meaning in our current global civilization. I only bring this up because there might be a better way. We will surely choose techno optimism. There is still a hefty amount of latent denialism and lack of concern of continued unfettered fossil fuel use. At a certain level humans don’t care because that is what is human. That is defeatist but it is pointing to the truth. In the end truth matters to humans.

  28. makati1 on Sat, 13th May 2017 6:14 am 

    Boat, perhaps because of your grade school remark. “Did you know a world without carbon we wouldn’t exhist. That makes about as much sense as your comment….” That is NOT an intelligent rebuttal. Perhaps you need to reread and think about your comments before you hit “Post”?

  29. Davy on Sat, 13th May 2017 6:34 am 

    This is another factor that threatens the renewable transition and that is the risks of complexity. A huge interconnected grid is very easy to disrupt. Forget the “EMP” sensationalism all you need is a good virus. Just more of the long list of challenges to a renewable transition. We can’t even manage what we have now let alone get more complex and more efficient.

    “Global cyber-attack: How roots can be traced to the US”

    “The huge cyber-attack affecting organisations around the world, including some UK hospitals, can be traced back to the US National Security Agency (NSA) – raising questions over the US government’s decision to keep such flaws a secret. Elements of the malicious software used in Friday’s attacks were part of a treasure trove of cyber-attack tools leaked by hacking group the Shadow Brokers in April. One of the tools contained in the Shadow Brokers leak, codenamed EternalBlue, proved to be “the most significant factor” in the spread of Friday’s global attack, according to cyber-security firm Kaspersky Lab. The tool was said to have been created by the NSA – though, as is typical, the agency has neither confirmed nor denied this. EternalBlue was made public on 14 April, and while Microsoft had fixed the problem a month prior to its leak, it appeared many high-profile targets had not updated their systems to stay secure.”

  30. Boat on Sat, 13th May 2017 7:02 am 


    I realize guys like you and greggiet wouldn’t know sarcasm if you were paid to point it out. But it’s ok, sarcasm is in my blood. You don’t need to understand.

  31. Boat on Sat, 13th May 2017 7:12 am 


    Did you know India had 230 gw of coal in the pipeline they recently canceled. They are going with renewables instead. India also just reported the latest solar auction will be 18 percent cheaper than it would take to use coal. Renewables are finally getting to scale. Stay tuned.

  32. Davy on Sat, 13th May 2017 7:25 am 

    boat, references? You tend to talk jibberish

  33. Cloggie on Sat, 13th May 2017 7:42 am 

    Did you know India had 230 gw of coal in the pipeline they recently canceled.

    I had 300 GW coal in the pipeline,
    but I just cancelled it too,
    during my last visit to the loo.

  34. GregT on Sat, 13th May 2017 9:22 am 


    “My mower for one. I refuse to drag a cord around the yard.”

    More nonsense. I’ve had a cordless electric lawnmower now for 5 years. In your case, however, that would be kind of pointless, considering the fact that your electricity is generated mostly with coal and natural gas.

  35. GregT on Sat, 13th May 2017 9:24 am 

    Boat said,

    “Your clueless.”


  36. GregT on Sat, 13th May 2017 9:31 am 

    “Wow man just think, if we didn’t have air we couldn’t breath.”

    Assuming that you actually meant oxygen, that’s exactly what will happen when ocean acidification kills off the phytoplankton.

  37. Sissyfuss on Sat, 13th May 2017 10:22 am 

    His clueless what, GT? Oh…. Nevermind.

  38. Apneaman on Sat, 13th May 2017 2:54 pm 

    Germany is a pimple on the greasy ass of a €10 whore. China is MIGHTY. A mighty big fucking cancer and nothing they do will make one bit of difference – cept bring on the end that much quicker. This round eyed devil says, you go my slant eyed brothers, you go.

    Three Reasons to Believe in China’s Renewable Energy Boom

    It has atrocious air pollution. It fears climate change. And it wants to be a “manufacturing monster” in renewables too

    “Every hour, China erects another wind turbine and installs enough solar panels to cover a soccer field..”

  39. Apneaman on Sat, 13th May 2017 3:01 pm 

    Metaphor for Humanity

    Farewell, giant pine: Climate change kills a champion at Washington Park Arboretum

    “It saw the flight of Boeing’s first jet; the World’s Fair, the founding of Microsoft. It survived the eruption of Mount St. Helens, witnessed the state’s centennial, and the confession of the Green River Killer.

    But after 72 years, Pinus rigida 212-45-C, the state’s champion pitch pine, has died and will be cut down at the Washington Park Arboretum.

    The cause of death was climate change: steadily warming and drier summers, that stressed the tree in its position atop a droughty knoll. Red turpentine beetles, catching the scent of stress chemicals emitted by the tree as it struggled, bored in.

    The beetles chewed and fed on the tree’s phloem, conduits just below the bark for the tree’s life-giving juices. Just as damaging, the beetles were vectors for fungus that plugged up other conduits carrying water into the tree. ”

  40. onlooker on Sat, 13th May 2017 3:36 pm 

    Hey dumbasses, speed kills. Danger Mass Extinction up ahead especially ours. Was this suppose to happen in thousands of years
    Oceans ‘on verge of mass extinction event’, scientists warn

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