On April 30, 2017, Germany was able to produce 85% of its energy demand using renewable sources. Germany deploys a wide arsenal of Wind, Solar, and Hydropower facilities in its efforts to become a fully renewable energy nation by 2030. As time goes on, we are likely to see days such as this past April 30 with near 100% renewable energy generation become more frequent.
After the 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis, Germany pledged to accelerate the phasing out of its nuclear generation. As these policies began to take shape, it was looking like coal was going to be the successor to nuclear power in Germany. An unwelcome side-effect of the nuclear phase-out has thus been an increase in carbon-heavy electricity generation when renewables have not able to keep pace due to their external limiting factors.
However, when the stars do align, and conditions are favourable, Germany’s green pedigree is commendable. Attributed to the “Energiewende” policies, Germany is on track to becoming the leader in Europe when it comes to renewable energy production and consumption. We must not neglect to mention other European countries such as Denmark and Spain. These countries are right up there with Germany in producing high levels of renewable energy and at times showing electricity generation surpluses thanks to their renewable energy capabilities.
Key in these developments is scale. Without interconnections to neighbouring countries, generators in Germany, Denmark, and Spain would be heavily penalised for producing electricity that outstrips domestic demand. We cannot control the weather upon which many renewable sources are reliant. Creating a super grid will allow system operators to better take advantage of these moments of high renewable production by allowing them to offload surplus energy to other regions with peaking demand.
The future is looking bright for renewable energy in Europe, and we can expect more records to be shattered as time goes on.