Renewables Overtake Coal as the Main Energy Source in Germany

Germany, Europe’s largest economy, is aiming to generate 65 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2030. Additionally, Germany is currently in the process of abandoning nuclear power by 2022 and is making plans for a long-term exit from the use of coal. This change signifies progress for Europe as a whole.


According to research from the Fraunhofer Organization of Applied Science, output of hydroelectric, solar, wind, and biomass generation units increased 4.3 percent last year, generating a total 219 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity. The total national power production was 542 TWh. This national power production was derived from both fossil and green fuels. Coal accounted for about 38 percent of total national power production.

The share of green energy of the power production in Germany has risen from 19.1 percent in 2010 and 38.2 percent in 2017. According to Bruno Burger, who authored the Fraunhofer study, renewable energy production is set to remain above 40 percent in 2019. He said, “We will not fall below the 40 percent in 2019 because more renewable installations are being built and weather patterns will not change that dramatically.”

Skeptics of green power say that this output reflects exceptional weather patterns in the country this year and does not prove the contribution of the sector to secure energy supplies. Due to an extensive and hot summer, solar power increased to 45.7 TWh, an increase of 16 percent. Installed capacity expanded to 45.5 GW from 3.2 GW last year, according to Fraunhofer data.

The industry of wind power produced 111 TWh from offshore capacity and combined onshore capacity of under 60 GW, making up 20.4 percent of total German power output.

Wind power was the main source of energy. The main source of energy was domestically mined brown coal power, which made up 24.1 percent. Coal plants run on hard coal contributed 13.9 percent or 75.7 TWh of the total.

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About Salman Zafar

Salman Zafar is the Founder of EcoMENA, and an international consultant, advisor, ecopreneur and journalist with expertise in waste management, waste-to-energy, renewable energy, environment protection and sustainable development. His geographical areas of focus include Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe. Salman has successfully accomplished a wide range of projects in the areas of biomass energy, biogas, waste-to-energy, recycling and waste management. He has participated in numerous conferences and workshops as chairman, session chair, keynote speaker and panelist. Salman is the Editor-in-Chief of EcoMENA, and is a professional environmental writer with more than 300 popular articles to his credit. He is proactively engaged in creating mass awareness on renewable energy, waste management and environmental sustainability in different parts of the world. Salman Zafar can be reached at or

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