Gallery: Germany Quadruples Energy Surplus Over the Last Two Years


For a country phasing out its nuclear plants, you might expect a downturn in energy production. But Germany has actually seen its power output quadruple between 2011 and 2012. Europe’s leading economy has been pushing for a green revolution, becoming one of the largest markets for solar voltaics and where support for renewables is subsidized by taxpayers. The country’s Federal Statistics Office reported a surplus of 22.8 billion kilowatt hours over the last two years. The government has set a goal to source 80 percent of its electricity from green technology by 2050, leaving the old fossil fuel-based utilities behind. Holland, Austria and Switzerland were the country’s main customers for the extra energy.

While 46 percent of Germany’s power still comes from coal, renewable sources have steadily been chipping away at the dominance of fossil fuels. In 2012, nearly 22 percent of the country’s electricity came from renewables, many of which were privately-owned. According to Reuters, individuals claimed 40 percent of the renewable market, a trend that is beginning to affect the share of the country’s main utility companies. Of the 71 gigawatts of renewables installed last year, the four largest utilities owned only 7 percent.

Despite the erosion of the traditional utilities model in Germany, the country’s energy surplus is evidence that a push towards clean energy can still produce enough electricity to not only power the nation but to export to other countries. Government subsidies have continued to make renewable technologies cheaper, allowing them to work their way towards achieving critical mass and driving down retail prices for individuals hoping to install their own systems. Although Germany still imported electricity from France, Denmark and the Czech Republic last year, the country still continues to break records in solar installation on the continent and set an example for those looking to green their infrastructure.

Via The Telegraph/Reuters

Images via Wikicommons users Kelisi and Zonk43


or your inhabitat account below


  1. Bob Melville April 22, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    How about some balanced reporting? Back at the end of February, Bloomberg reported that “Germany will this year start up more coal-fired power stations than at any time in the past 20 years as the country advances a plan to exit nuclear energy by 2022.”
    5,300mw to be exact. Hardly “green” is it?
    Germany will continue to import energy/electricity for the simple reason that Merkels knee jerk reaction after Fukishima to shut down nuclear plants will return to haunt Germany.
    Nuclear power is the future.

  2. mishasibirsk April 14, 2013 at 8:52 am

    “Quadrupled its surplus” does not equal “quadrupled its output.”

    No, not a pedantic quibble: the numbers are massively different. If Germany had quadrupled its power output, bearing in mind that its renewable output share has risen to nearly a quarter, it could have retired nearly all of its non-renewables – now; all, if you take into account that its consumption has been fallen. The basic terminology has to be correct; that’s the starting line.

    Another one of this ilk, but more frequent, is the confusion of energy with electricity, e.g. I saw in the Irish Times a while back that the Irish target was to get 40% of its energy from renewables by 2020. Of course, they meant 40% of electricity; which would mean 10 – 15% overall, creeping up to about 20 when non-electricity renewables are added in.

  3. Derek April 12, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    If there’s “a surplus of 22.8 billion kilowatt hours over the last two years”, why is Germany still importing energy?

get the free Inhabitat newsletter

Submit this form
popular today
all time
most commented
more popular stories >
more popular stories >
more popular stories >
Federated Media Publishing - Home