Nationwide electricity generation Coal is overtaking wind power again
Status: 06/11/2021 1:53 p.m.
A spring without storms has led to a decline in wind energy. Coal grew to become the most important energy source in the country in the first quarter. At the same time, the demand for electricity is increasing, says Minister of Economic Affairs Altmaier. Electricity production using coal in Germany overtook wind power again in the first quarter of 2021. According to the Federal Statistical Office, a “windless spring” resulted in almost a third less electricity from wind power. According to the authorities, the gap has been filled by increasing electricity generation from coal and natural gas power plants. From January to March inclusive, a total of 138.2 billion kilowatt hours of electricity was generated and fed into the grid. According to preliminary results from the Federal Office, that was 2.6 percent less than in the first quarter of 2020.
Coal, gas and nuclear power dominate
While the electricity in the same period last year came mainly from renewable energy sources such as wind power, biogas and sun (51.4 percent), coal, gas and nuclear energy dominated at the beginning of this year (59.3 percent). With a share of 28.9 percent of the total amount of electricity fed into the grid, coal was the most important energy source for electricity generation in Germany in the first quarter of this year. The amount of electricity generated in coal-fired power plants increased by more than a quarter (26.8 percent) to almost 40 billion kilowatt hours compared to the same period in the previous year. The amount of electricity from natural gas increased by 24 percent to 22.5 billion kilowatt hours. In contrast, there was a strong minus of almost a third (32.4 percent) in wind power: The feed-in of 33.5 billion kilowatt hours was the lowest value for this energy source for a first quarter since 2018. In the two previous years, there was wind power significantly higher values achieved due to strong spring storms.
Altmaier sees increased demand for electricity
Meanwhile, Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier admitted that his department had so far underestimated how much the demand for electricity in Germany is likely to increase in the course of the energy transition. “Due to the more stringent climate targets in Germany and the EU, we have to assume a significantly higher electricity demand than was previously assumed,” said the CDU politician to Wirtschaftswoche. “My house will submit new calculations for this.” Altmaier said that more energy must be produced, “from all available renewable sources: wind power and photovoltaics”. Altmaier said that he would present specific proposals on how offshore wind power on the high seas and other renewable energies could be expanded more than previously planned. For “green hydrogen” for use in the steel industry or the expansion of electromobility, many experts believe that significantly more electricity will be required in the coming years, which should come from renewable energies.
SPD puts pressure on
The SPD criticized Altmaier: “For months now, the SPD and the entire German industry and energy sector have been calling on the Federal Minister of Economics in vain to anchor realistic electricity requirements and a correspondingly ambitious expansion of wind power and photovoltaics in the EEG,” said parliamentary group vice-president Matthias Miersch of the dpa news agency. If Altmaier now announces new proposals, which can only then be implemented by the next federal government, it is “poor” and unworthy of a federal minister of economics, according to Miersch. The SPD had already submitted proposals months ago which, based on realistic electricity consumption, determine the associated expansion paths for green electricity up to 2030 and contain funds for acquiring space and accelerating it. “We could implement this next week,” said the politician.
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