Germans have set their sights on powering their country from renewable sources exclusively by 2050. They’re already well on their way, and just over a week ago they celebrated a major milestone.
According to an update from Patrick Graichen, director of the Agora Energiewende Initiative, 64% of the power consumed in Germany over the final weekend in April came from renewables. Sunny, breezy weather gave solar, and wind farms a big boost, and biomass and hydro plants also helped out.
Just last year, deal weather conditions created a very brief window one afternoon where renewable energy met 87% of demand. There was a surplus of electricity as a result, which resulted in negative billing. Germans actually got paid to use electricity. The same thing happened again this year, and peak renewable production — which hit 85% — lasted several hours longer.
In a post about this year’s record-breaking weekend, Graichen said that most of Germany’s coal plants weren’t operating on Sunday the 30th, and nuclear stations didn’t have to contribute much to the effort, either.
That’s part of a larger trend: Germany plans to completely phase out nuclear power within five years. It doesn’t look like that will pose a problem given the country’s renewable energy capabilities — and the desire to generate 100% of its power from renewable sources by 2050.
Fossil fuels and nuclear are being pushed aside elsewhere in the EU. Three years ago in Spain, for example, wind power became the country’s top energy source. Next door in Portugal they managed to run for three whole days last year without having to fire up its coal or natural gas plants.
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