An Energy Central Expert Community Power Industry Professionals

Article Post

About the Development of Renewable Energies in Germany in 2007.

What do the numbers: 6.6, 6.7, 6.9, 8.5 and 14.2 have in common? All give the proportion of renewable energies (RE) at the Primary and Final Energy Consumption in Germany in 2007 in percent. Which figure, however, is correct? The BMU, German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, based in Berlin, Germany (*) knows it. In principle,all of these figures are correct. One has only to put them in the context.
  • 6.6 % is the share of renewable heat in total energy consumption
  • 6.7 % is the share of renewable energies in total primary energy consumption (calculated in accordance with the so-called efficiency method)
  • 6.9 % is the share of renewable energies in fuel consumption
  • 8.5 % is the share of renewable energies in total final energy consumption
  • 14.2 % is the share of renewable energy in total gross electricity consumption
In BMU text then reads: "... In the year 2007, the use of renewable energies in Germany a further boost. The contribution of renewable energy in total primary energy consumption in Germany in 2007 amounted to approx. 8.5% (2006: 7.5 %)..." That sounds all well and good, and like "high tech". But can you really be proud of it and what orders of magnitude hide behind these percentages? Especially when you have to deal with percent information, one should always ask: Who or what are the 100 percent? In order to improve comparability for the following information, all following figures are converted to TWh, which are billion kWh.

The “sum up” of all the figures is: With 152.4 TWh, the biomasses are far ahead of all renewable energies in Germany (total 222.0 TWh). The largest share absolutely have so called: “biogenic solid fuels (households)”. The renewable energy in Germany is mostly simply nothing else than wood. That said, the biogenic fuels (industry) and the biogenic share of waste in this regard also have their additional shares. Somehow, the "public opinion" and the "published opinion" in Germany are conveying other pictures. What may be the reason?

Shares of renewable energies in detail

Heat generation by renewable energies
In the heating applications, the entire biomass (solid, liquid and gaseous biomass, sewage and depot gas, biogenic waste) with 84.3 TWh stands for the largest share of heat supply. The shares of solar and geothermal heat with 3.7 TWh and 2.3 TWh is still clearly subordinate. The use of firewood in households increased by 8% from 2006, the demand for heating pellet was in the last year no longer as strong as in 2006.

Renewable energies in fuel consumption
In 2007, there was an increase in biogenic fuel sales. It increased to 44.4 TWh. In addition to the remains dominant sales of bio diesel of 32.9 TWh, 7.9 TWh vegetable oil and 3.5 TWh bio ethanol were registered for the past year. That's according to BMU report, 6.9% of fuel consumption relative to the entire road traffic and 1.2% relative to total primary energy consumption. Anyway, a step into the right direction.

Electricity generation by renewable energies
Wind power last year was accounting 39.5 billion kWh for electricity generation. With a new installation of 1,625 MW in 2007, Germany is "... still one of the best in the world ...". This is only relative, when compared with the current champions United States (5,244 MW), Spain (3,533 MW), China (3,449 MW) and India with 1,730 MW. Electricity generation from hydro power remained at 20.7 billion kWh largely stable. The conversion of biomass rose to 17.4 billion kWh. Together with landfill and sewage and the proportion of biogenic waste, the entire biomass for electricity generation, with 23.8 billion kWh first time was coming ahead of hydro power. Photo voltaic rose by approx. 60% to 3.5 TWh and a proud 0.6% share in total gross electricity consumption. The share of geothermal energy for power generation is equipped with 0.0004 TWh in 2007 is still negligible.

Let us finally take a look at the employment effect. In Germany, one often hears about: "... a worldwide leading technically-profile industry with over 200,000 jobs created...” (EUROSOLAR, May 30, 2008). In reality, the biomass bears the burden with 96,100 employees and the most part in gross employment, followed by the wind energy with 84,300 employees, 50,700 in solar energy, 9,400 with hydro power and 4,500 with geothermal. Not to mention the 4,000 people whose jobs have been created by: "... the provision of public and private resources in research and administrative imperatives ..."...

Now everyone can calculate for yourself, what trends lay in these figures. One can also think, what this all could have to do with hydrogen and fuel cells. The questions are: Where will the sustainable future be and how do we to get there? It all remains in any event exciting. I sincerely hope, we do not have to wait to long for it.

(*) The development of renewable energies in Germany in 2007 as at March 2008, Publisher: Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Berlin, Germany

Links to the message: