Sustainable development in Germany - 17 Goals to Transform our World

Renewable energies – Strengthening a sustainable energy supply

Indicator 7.2.b: Share of electricity from renewable sources in gross electricity consumption

(Evaluation of the year 2019 as reporting year from indicator report 2021)

Selection

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This overview includes additional information on the indicators presented above, such as a brief definition of the indicator and a description of the politically determined target value, as well as the political intention for selecting the indicator.

Definition of indicators (Taken from the official translation of the German Sustainable Development Strategy)

The indicator reflects the share of electricity from renewable energy sources in gross electricity consumption.

Target and intention of the German Government (Taken from the official translation of the German Sustainable Development Strategy)

Switching to renewables, natural energy sources that constantly regenerate, can reduce demand for fossil fuels. As a result, dependence on imports of conventional fuels would be reduced, as would the release of energy-related emissions, which would limit the extent of climate change. The German Government had therefore set itself the aim of increasing the share of electricity from renewable sources in gross electricity consumption to at least 35% by 2020 and at least 65% by 2030.

Before 2050, all electricity generated and consumed in Germany is to be greenhouse gas neutral.

Data state

The data published in the indicator report 2021 is as of 31.12.2020. The data shown on the DNS-Online-Platform is updated regularly, so that more current data may be available online than published in the indicator report 2021.

Last modification of code (data) 2021-06-30: see changes on GitHub opens in a new window
Last modification of code (text) 2021-09-10: see changes on GitHub opens in a new window

Taken from the official translation of the German Sustainable Development Strategy

The indicator is calculated by the Working Group on Renewable Energy Statistics (AGEE-Stat) from various official and unofficial sources. Gross electricity consumption is the sum of all generated and imported electricity minus the volume of exported electricity. It therefore comprises the electricity generated in Germany, the balance of exchanges across national borders, power stations’ own electricity consumption and network losses. The following are considered to be renewable energies: wind power, hydro power, solar radiation energy, geothermal energy and biomass including biogas, biomethane, landfill gas and sludge gas as well as the biodegradable proportion of waste from households and industry.

Over the period from 2005 to 2019, the share of renewable energies in electricity consumption increased from 10.3% to 42.0%. This means that the target set by the German Government in its energy policy blueprint of at least 35% by 2020 was already achieved in 2017. This trend was accelerated by legal measures such as the Renewable Energy Sources Act (Erneuerbare-Energien-Gesetz). Among other things, the Act requires grid operators to give priority to energy from renewable sources for electricity feed-in. If the trend of past years continues, the target for 2030 is also likely to be achieved.

As in the case of indicator 7.2.a, with regard to the calculation method it should be noted that external trade in electricity directly influences the denominator of the indicator but not the numerator. Regardless of whether electricity is produced from renewable sources, net exports reduce gross electricity consumption, while net imports increase gross electricity consumption. Since 2003, Germany has increasingly been a net exporter of electricity, which means that the indicator has been overstating the actual share of renewable energies in gross electricity consumption over the subsequent period.

Since 2005, the share of renewable energies in electricity generation has risen, particularly because of the increased use of wind power, photovoltaics and biomass. Between 2005 and 2019, declining electricity generation from conventional energy sources was offset by an increase of almost 180 terawatt-hours in the production of electricity from renewable sources. In particular, onshore and offshore electricity generation from wind power soared from 27.8 TWh in 2005 to 126 TWh in 2019. Offshore wind farms contributed about 24.7 TWh of the total in 2019. Electricity generation from photovoltaics rose between 2005 and 2019 from 1.3 TWh to 46.4 TWh. Electricity generation from biomass more than trebled in the same period to 50.2 TWh.

This summary table illustrates the evaluations of the indicator by status of previous years. This shows whether the weather symbol for an indicator has been stable or rather volatile in the past years. (Evaluations from the indicator report 2021)

Indicator

7.2.b Share of electricity from renewable energy sources in gross electricity consumption

Target

Increase to at least 35% by 2020, 65% by 2030, and greenhouse gas neutrality of electricity generated and consumed in Germany by 2050

Year

2016

2017

2018

2019

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Source 1

 Working Group on Renewable Energy Statistics

Organisation

Working Group on Renewable Energy Statistics

Data source Development of renewable energies in Germany opens in a new window

Source 2