Germany broke their own record for renewable energy at the end of July, providing for 78% of their energy needs on the 25th and generating 40.65 GW with just solar and wind. They had previously managed to get 74% of their energy needs from renewables.
Biomass and hydropower also helped, bringing the total energy generated to 47.9 GW at a time when the country only needed 61.1 GW to fulfill everyone’s needs.
It should be noted that the 40.65 GW figure may change in the future as the numbers are checked for precision. That being said, the true number will probably be close to the estimate.
According to German renewable energy expert Craig Morris, sun power and wind power worked in tandem; a majority of German wind turbines are located on the northern side of the country, while solar panels are clustered in the south. A windy day in the north and abundance of sun in the south made for a perfect match.
Germany still gets 40% of its electricity from coal and 10% from natural gas. Though they have a goal to make renewable energy 40-50% of power generation by 2025, and 55-60% by 2035, the country’s economy still relies heavily on manufacturing. Many even worry that Germany’s departure from using nuclear as a primary energy source has increased their use of coal.
However, Craig Morris disagrees. He published a report demonstrating that while Germany did build some power plants between 2005 and 2007, it was because carbon credits were cheap at the time and so developers wanted to finish any new coal projects before the pollution regulations began imposing stricter constraints.
The report also found that while German renewable energy has largely replaced nuclear, it has not deeply cut into the demand for fossil fuels. The country’s regulations also do not specifically require companies to cut back on using coal.
Their grid does hold up well when one form of power slows. For instance, if the wind isn’t blowing, then solar, hydropower and biomass are still consistently contributing to the grid.