Electricity mix in Germany: coal is once again the most important energy source

Electricity mix in Germany
Coal is again the most important energy source

Germany wants to get out of coal, but from July to September it will again be the most important energy source. For climate protection activists, however, the news is not quite as bad as it sounds.

For decades, Germany has been trying to increase the share of renewable energies – but coal will remain indispensable in 2020: In the third quarter of this year, it once again rose to become the most important energy source in the country. At 26.4 percent, for the first time since the fourth quarter of 2019, coal electricity had the largest share of the total amount of electricity fed into the grid, according to the Federal Statistical Office. In total, 56 percent of the electricity produced between July and September came from conventional sources such as coal, gas and nuclear power. In the first two quarters of this year, renewable energies were still just ahead.

Anyone who is worried about this can at least take some comfort with a look at the same quarter of the previous year. In comparison, the importance of conventional energy sources has decreased – back then they were the source of 57.7 percent of the electricity fed into the grid. The share of coal was still 28.5 percent. In the third quarter of the current year, significantly less coal was used to generate electricity than in the summer quarter of 2019. According to the Federal Office, there was a decrease of almost 10 percent. A similar minus is recorded for nuclear power. The fact that the proportion of conventional energy sources did not fall even more is due to natural gas. This was recently used to a much greater extent for power generation than last year.

At the same time, the share of renewable energies grew compared to the previous year. This is mainly due to an increase in photovoltaics, which increased by almost 10 percent. There was also more energy from biogas (plus 3 percent). In contrast, wind power output fell by a good 6 percent. So despite the continued importance of coal, the balance continues to shift towards renewable energies.

A total of 116.7 billion kilowatt hours of electricity were generated and fed into the power grid in the third quarter. The amount of electricity imported fell in the last quarter compared to the previous year by 10.3 percent to 12.5 billion kilowatt hours. Imports from France recorded the greatest decline with a minus of 65.7 percent. The amount of electricity exported fell to 13.5 billion kilowatt hours. Overall, more electricity was exported from Germany than imported to Germany. As a measure against climate change, Germany is planning to phase out coal-fired power generation by 2038. In return, billions in aid will flow into the regions affected by the phase-out.

. (tagsToTranslate) Economy (t) Renewable energies (t) Energy transition (t) Coal power plants (t) Coal phase-out (t) Climate protection