For the first time in history, a combination of wind, solar and other renewables outperformed Germany’s coal, oil and gas for use as the country’s fuel source during 2020.
A combination of the pandemic, lower demand for electricity, mild weather, cheaper natural gas, and various economic and market factors led to the historic figures on the data sheets for the Western Europe’s largest fossil fuel consumer and the fourth largest consumer of fossil fuels. largest economy in the world.
According to data collected from German think tank Agora Energiewende, wind power alone supplied the nation’s more power than its lignite brown-coal plants, while the mild climate and warmer months were largely cloudless saw solar contributing 40% of the nation’s baseline, a higher proportion than black coal.
All this clean energy caused a huge 10% drop in greenhouse gas emissions compared to the previous year, contributing to what Agora described as “the end of coal.”
Announcing the end of coal
This can be attributed to political and market forces that increased the cost of running coal plants and lowered the cost of renewables.
“Lignite power plants delivered 22.3 terawatt-hours less than in 2019 (-19.6 percent), while coal-fired power plants lost 15 terawatt-hours (-26.1 percent),” the authors wrote. of the Agora expert group report. “Coal generation has therefore been cut by more than half since 2015.”
It wasn’t just coal that suffered in 2020, but the fossil fuel sector as a whole.
“… Germany’s greenhouse gas emissions fell significantly in 2020, 42.3 percent below the baseline year of 1990, [and] Germany thus met its 2020 climate protection target of a 40 percent reduction, ”the authors wrote.
However, certainly, the arrival of COVID-19 played its part in the reductions. According to their estimates, greenhouse gas emissions were reduced by 80 million metric tons and the share of renewable energy in the grid was 46.2%.
If the effects on the economy, movement and energy consumption of COVID-19 were subtracted, the growth of renewables would be around 2 percentage points less.
Minister of the Environment, Svenja Schulze famous that COVID didn’t deserve all the credit for reducing emissions, and that climate policy decisions had been building ground for these changes to happen on their own.
“Emissions are already falling significantly for the third year in a row,” he wrote on Twitter, translated into English.
In fact, and again according to Agora, rooftop solar panel installations increased 25% in 2020 compared to 2019.
“Whether it is solar cells, solar storages or solar collectors, this year they were practically taken out of the hands of our industry,” said Carsten Körnig, managing director of the lobby group. BSW Solar, for Now.
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