Country will see significant growth in solar and wind; intensified focus on heating and transport key to realising even higher shares of renewables.
“Germany’s rapid renewable energy expansion and ambitious targets have demonstrated to the world that a 30 per cent share of renewable power is possible,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin. “However, to meet even higher shares and continue building one of the world’s most energy-efficient, sustainable and low-carbon energy systems, Germany must now expand its focus beyond the power sector.”
Germany’s focus on renewable energy development in the power sector has increased renewable power capacity from 12.3 gigawatts in 2000 to 85 gigawatts in 2013. Consequently, the share of renewables in electricity consumption has increased steadily over the last 15 years from 6 per cent in 2000 to more than 30 per cent in the first half of 2015. According to the report, Germany will need to increase focus on renewable and electrification technologies in the end-use sectors, while also focusing more on the abundant renewable potential for heating and transport fuel. The report also stresses that Germany and its neighbours must work together to accelerate the energy transition by strengthening regional transmission capacity, reforming power markets and better linking ambitious climate goals with renewables.
“Our ambitious targets provide a reliable foundation for further deployment of renewable energy sources. A key prerequisite is to ensure energy security, based on increasing shares of renewables, at the lowest possible costs. With last week’s decision on the Act on the Further Development of the Electricity Market, we have set the regulatory framework for the German electricity market of the future. Our future market design will meet the challenge of synchronizing conventional and renewable electricity,” said German State Secretary for Energy Rainer Baake. “Importantly, we address this challenge in close coordination with our neighbor countries and the European Union. As this report shows, further integration of the electricity, heating and transport sectors will be needed to further expand the share of renewables. Our Act on the Digitisation of the Energy Transition is one important milestone to achieve this.”
Germany’s renewable energy efforts to date have reduced fossil fuel import costs, fostered innovation and created jobs. In 2013, more than 371,000 people were employed in the sector, more than double the number of jobs in 2004. Achieving the higher share of renewable energy identified in the report could provide further benefits when accounting for lower health costs and environmental damage, and reduced fossil fuel imports.
The report is part of IRENA’s renewable energy roadmap, REmap 2030, which provides a plan to double the share of renewable energy in the world’s energy mix by 2030 and determines the potential for Germany and other countries to scale up renewable energy in the energy system, including power, industry, buildings and the transport sector. To date, 38 countries take part in the programme, and 6 other country specific reports have been published including China, Mexico, Poland, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates and the United States.