21 Nov 2018, 13:48
Sören Amelang Benjamin Wehrmann

Call to achieve 65% renewables by 2030 / Coal exit petition

Clean Energy Wire

Achieving a 65 percent share of renewables in power consumption by 2030, as determined by Germany’s government coalition, will require a clear regulatory framework and parallel investments in infrastructure, work on which must start as soon as possible, several representatives of Germany’s conventional and renewable energy industries as well as energy system researchers told the parliamentary committee on economic affairs and energy at a public hearing on planned changes to the country’s energy law. “The 65 percent goal is definitely achievable,” said Stefan Kapferer, head of the energy industry lobby group BDEW. He stressed that four conditions are central to its achievement: public acceptance, land consumption, grid expansion, and storage technology. 
In the first nine months of 2018, the share of renewables stood at 38 percent of power consumption in Germany. Patrick Graichen, head of the energy policy think tank Agora Energiewende, said the 65 percent goal had been the cornerstone of all debates held within Germany’s coal exit commission. “Whether we look at conventional or renewable power producers, the goal is important for both to allow for adequate planning,” Graichen said, adding that this will require the annual addition of 5 gigawatts (GW) of both solar and wind power. 
Harald Schwarz of the Technical University Cottbus-Senftenberg said the renewables capacity in Germany will have to at least double to over 200 GW by 2030. Schwarz added that wind and solar alone could never power Germany due to their volatile production pattern. “This means we either need a block of conventional capacity – or storage capacity. We should have started doing this a long time ago because it will take between 20 and 30 years and it is going to cost us a lot of money.”

For background, read the dossiers Onshore wind power in GermanyOffshore wind power in Germany, and the factsheet Solar power in Germany – output, business & perspectives.


Around 70 partners, including grid operators, power producers, consumers, and traders in eastern Germany, have launched a trial to find cheap and efficient ways of resolving costly grid congestion on windy days, for example by using demand flexibility, reports Nathan Witkop for Montel. “We need to build power line networks if the energy transition is to succeed, but networks alone will not suffice,” Dirk Biermann, head of the eastern German grid operator 50Hertz, told reporters in Berlin. Integrating large volumes of renewable energy would require “intelligent solutions” that make the most use of existing infrastructure, he added.

Read the article in English here.

For background, read the dossier The energy transition and Germany’s power grid.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance

Flexible energy options, such as energy storage, smart charging electric vehicles, demand response, and interconnectors are needed to ensure that the energy transition proceeds on an optimal path, according to a Bloomberg NEF report focused on the UK and Germany. In the case of Germany, adding flexibility supports cheap lignite through 2030 even as renewables grow to dominate the market. “To decarbonise, Germany needs to address existing coal generation while investing in renewables, flexibility, and interconnection,” according to a press release. “Still, by 2040, adding more batteries, flexible electric vehicles, and interconnections with the Nordics all enable greater renewable penetration and emissions savings.”

Find the report in English here.

For background, read the dossiers Electricity storage is next feat for Germany’s energy transition and Energiewende hinges on unblocking the power grid.


Germany’s rail operator Deutsche Bahn has stepped up its green energy ambitions. The company announced its intention to increase the share of renewable power in its total electricity consumption to 80 percent by 2030, reports the newswire dpa. One year ago, Deutsche Bahn said it was aiming for 70 percent. In 2017, the company’s green energy share was 44 percent.

Read the article in German here.

For background, read the dossiers How Germany is greening its growing freight sector to meet climate targets and Car giant Germany struggles to ignite Energiewende in transportation and the factsheet Rail cargo emissions in Germany.

Clean Energy Wire

The potential of artificial intelligence (AI) to help solve pressing environmental challenges needs to be better understood and exploited, panellists agreed at a debate on AI and the environment organised by Microsoft in Berlin. “AI is going to change the way environmental organisations work,” said Marco Vollmar of WWF Germany. Using machine learning and big data processing capacities make these organisations’ work much more cost efficient and enable them to understand and monitor things like animal migration, forest management, or fishing a lot better, Vollmar said. He urged greater political and financial support for AI-based environmental protection projects, even though the difficulties environmentalists encounter are often political rather than technological in nature. “Digitalisation and AI bring change and disruption to businesses and to society, and environmental protection cannot stay untouched by that,” he added. In a survey commissioned by Microsoft, 50 percent of respondents said they were confident that AI could help manage environmental challenges, the company said. “There need to be more concrete trial projects, for example about resource use and autonomous driving or pesticide use in agriculture,” Green Party politician Anna Christmann said at the panel debate. Policymakers in Germany had to become less reluctant to cooperate with digital companies and heed the example of France, which recently made environmental protection a key aim of its AI strategy. “However, it’s also important to look at the impact digital technology itself has on the environment,” Christmann pointed out. Power consumption and carbon emissions of blockchain technologies and other resource-intensive effects of a rapidly growing digital world should be one of the first application areas for AI to support environmental protection, she said.

Find a press release by Microsoft on AI and the environment in German here and in English here.

Find background in the CLEW dossier The digitalisation of the Energiewende.


Germany’s coal commission is a “societal innovation” and shows how the exit from the dirty fossil fuel can be organised responsibly, according to environment minister Svenja Schulze. “If we manage it, it will become an example for many, many nations and states,” Schulze said during a debate in the German parliament. She added that it was time for all parties to concentrate on the opportunities offered by climate protection.

Read the article in German here.

For background, read the article Commission watch – Managing Germany’s coal phase-out.

The climate change campaign group has launched an international petition demanding an immediate stop to coal expansion and a rapid coal phase-out in Germany. “This petition is being launched ahead of a highly anticipated coal phase-out proposal to be delivered by the German ‘coal commission’ in the coming weeks,” states a press release.

Find the petition in English here.

For background, read the article Commission watch – Managing Germany’s coal phase-out.

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