In Germany, in 2018, renewable energy led by the wind provided more energy than coal


    This happened after the country closed its last coal mine. According to the Fraunhofer Institute, in 2018, the renewable energy sector of Germany for the first time in the world produced more electricity than coal, with renewable energy sources providing 40 percent of the electricity produced per year, and coal - 38 percent.

    Of course, “renewable energy” includes a variety of different sources - solar, wind, hydropower and biomass, while coal is just one source of fuel (renewable energy has not yet supplanted all types of fossil fuel use in Germany, as you will notice). But coal has long been the main component of the country's energy balance, and Germany seems ready to significantly reduce the amount of coal-fired energy in its energy system, even closing its last coal mine in November. From now on, coal for about 120 coal-fired power plants that still feed the German power system will be imported from the United States, Russia or Colombia, reports Bloomberg.

    The massive year for renewable energy was driven by the continued expansion of the wind sector. In Germany, wind energy production increased by 5.4% year on year, and is expected to increase again in 2019. Only wind contributed to covering 19% of Germany’s electricity demand in 2018, the largest source after lignite.

    Reuters notes: critics say that favorable weather, not steady growth, helped the country produce more renewable energy this year than last year. Indeed, the prolonged sunny summer increased the production of solar energy, but the hot year also significantly reduced the production of electricity. Germany added 3.2 gigawatts (GW) of solar energy to the existing 45.5 GW last year.

    The rest of the electricity production in Germany in 2018 fell on gas and nuclear power plants. The country hopes to curtail nuclear energy by 2022.

    Germany has made significant progress in adding renewable energy to its energy sector, but, as in most countries, heating and transportation are the most difficult sectors of the economy for decarburization. Germany introduced the world's first hydrogen-powered train earlier this year, but electric vehicles still make up only a small part of the country's vehicles. However, in November, the share of registration of electric vehicles accounted for almost 2 percent of all registrations.

    Germany is Europe’s largest economy, but it’s not the only country with healthy renewable energy indicators. At the beginning of last year, Portugal was able to produce more renewable electricity than all the electricity required for the entire month of March, and there were several nearly three-day segments in the country when the demand for electricity was met only by renewable electricity. In addition, in the UK there have been no coal days since 2017, and it significantly reduces its dependence on coal.

    ARS Technica website

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