Renewable Energies in Germany
Germany is the world’s leading nation in terms of production of renewable energies and climate policy.
In 2006, the share of renewable energy in electricity consumption was 12%. About 800,000 people are employed in the environment technology sector of whom about 214,000 people worked in the production of renewable energies in 2006, preventing about 101million tons of CO2 from being emitted into the atmosphere.
In 2006, the economic benefits from renewable energy amounted to more than 9 billion Euro including fuel import savings of about 1 billion Euro and preventing environmental damage worth about 3.4 billion Euro.
German wind and solar energy companies such as Nordex, Repower, Enercon, SolarWorld, and Conenergy are leading in the world market. 30% of all wind turbines are fabricated in Germany and it is the world leading country in terms of the number of wind turbines. By the end of 2006, a capacity of about 20,500 megawatts was generated by wind turbines. Around 5% of Germany’s total electricity consumption is covered by wind power.
In addition to being a leader in the field of solar power, Germany was the global market leader in environmental technology in 2005, and the world’s largest solar power plants are located in Germany. In 2004, about 80% of all solar power capacity in Europe was produced in Germany.
There are many incentives for businesses and homeowners to produce renewable energies, for example by installing solar panels on their roofs. The Renewable Energy Sources Act adopted in 2000, enables any company or individual to feed energy into the grid when meeting the required technical and legal standards. The law guarantees businesses and homeowners that they can sell the energy they produce at fixed prices for at least 20 years.
There is also a law that requires businesses to buy energy from renewable sources before going back to non-renewable sources.
Germany’s Integrated Energy and Climate Program that was implemented in 2007, is the most ambitious, progressive and extensive in the world. It has been set up as a response to the global challenges of dwindling fossil fuels and climate change.
The program includes legislations and regulations that aim at reducing the emission of greenhouse gases by 40% by 2020. By 2010, the use of renewable energies will be doubled and the power generated from wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal power will be used more efficiently. This strategy aims at reducing Germany’s dependence on expensive energy sources.
The program was implemented in line with the EU goals to reduce CO2 emission by one fifth of the 1990 figure. If major EU countries join the initiative, the EU is willing to reduce greenhouse gas emission by 30% by 2020.
Germany’s provisions to reach the envisaged climate goals are:
- Allocating 3.3 billion Euro for climate policy in the 2008 fiscal year
- Producing 25-30% of the energy in 2020 with renewable sources
- Facilitating feeding biogas into the existing gas network
- Implementing higher standards and requirements for new buildings in terms of energy efficiency
By June 2008, Germany has already been able to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by half of the envisaged figure of 40% by 2020.
The German Integrated Energy and Climate Program is a huge and ambitious step towards efficient climate protection and sustainable development. One of the major goals is to foster renewable energy sources and its competitive capacity on the market without subsidies in order to secure its energy supply in the future.