Germany—No 100% 2050 commitment
Benchmark: 80 % renewable energy by 2050
Germany has short-term and long-term goals for ensuring that energy efficiency is achieved. It intends to reduce 50% of primary energy use by 2050 (compared to 2008 levels) and 80% of greenhouse gas emissions by the same year (compared to 1990 levels) (Rafindadi and Ozturk, 2017). In particular, it aims to innovate the electricity sector that accounts for about 40% of CO2 emissions (Rafindadi and Ozturk, 2017). As a result, Germany has made a commitment to increase the generation of renewable energy by 50%, 65 % and 80 % by 2030, 2040 and 2050 respectively (Rafindadi and Ozturk, 2017). To achieve these targets, Germany has invested and will continue to invest in renewable energy technologies by 2050 to generate electricity that can meet the energy needs of the country. As such, a number of scenarios created by studies undertaken by the German Advisory Council on the Environment (SRU), the German Enquête-Commission on sustainable energy supply, or Greenpeace, are available. For example, a study carried out by Klaus et al. (2010) provides a baseline upon which achieving a 100% renewable energy electricity supply by 2050 may be assumed. First, it is important to identify the renewable energy potential in wind, solar, hydropower, biomass and geothermal power in the country.
For instance, if Photovoltaic modules are installed over a total of 1,620 Km2, then 275 gigawatts (GW) of solar power can be harnessed (Klaus et al., 2010). Also, onshore wind power equivalent to about 60 GW can be generated if 134 wind power installations are done on land and about 45GW can be obtained from offshore wind. There is also potential of increased hydropower generation by 5.2 GW if existing power plants are expanded and new ones are constructed. The geothermal power has also a potential of generating 6.4 GW of power (Klaus et al., 2010). However, by 2050 these renewable energy potentials are expected to be exploited such that 120 GW are obtained from Photovoltaic modules, 60 GW from onshore wind, 45 GW from offshore wind, 5.2 GW from hydropower and 23.3 GW from biogas. Nevertheless, Germany has had some successes in generating renewable energy that has been used in heating and in the transport sector among others.
For example, the total share of wind and solar energy in the last 5 years was about 23.5%, 25.1%, 27.3%, 31.5% and 31.7 % in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 respectively (umweltbundesamt, 2017). Further, there are two states in Germany who have already achieved 100 % renewable electricity in 2016 namely; Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Schleswig-Holstein (Marks, n.d). Mecklenburg-Vorpommern generated 2.6 terawatt hours (TWh), 2.3 gigawatt hours (GWh) and 4.9 TWh from onshore wind, biomass and offshore wind respectively (Marks, n.d). Schleswig-Holstein generated about 46% of its renewable energy from biomass and 44% from wind energy and about 10% from renewable sources (Marks, n.d).
In 2016, wind was the leading source of renewable energy at 12.3% followed by biomass (7.9%) and solar PV at 5.9% (Stromvergleich, 2017). According to the Renewable Energy Agency, about 16-28% of private households have invested in renewable energy (Stromvergleich, 2017). On average, 22 % of private households have invested in renewable energy in Germany. In terms of states, about 28%, 28% and 27% of households in Berlin, Saarland and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern respectively are leading in purchase of renewable energy (Stromvergleich, 2017). However, Thuringia and Saxony have the least households at 16% purchasing green energy (Stromvergleich, 2017).
Klaus, T., Vollmer, C., Werner, K., Lehmann, H., Müschen, K., (2010): Energieziel 2050: 100% Strom aus erneuerbaren Quellen. Dessau-Roßlau: Umweltbundesamt.
Rafindadi, A.A and Ozturk, I., 2017. Impacts of renewable energy consumption on the German economic growth: Evidence from combined cointegration test. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Vol.75 (2017), pp. 1130-1141.