In the first quarter of 2023, Germany reached a significant milestone as renewable energy sources contributed to more than half of the nation’s total power consumption. According to data released by the utility group BDEW and the Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research (ZSW), clean energy sources such as solar, wind, biomass, and hydroelectric power made up 50.3% of Germany’s energy mix. As part of its ambitious environmental goals, Germany aims to increase the share of renewable energy in its power consumption to 80% by 2030. This shift towards clean energy is part of the country’s plan to phase out nuclear power and significantly reduce its reliance on coal-generated electricity, while utilizing natural gas plants primarily for grid stabilization.
The preliminary data suggests that a decrease in power consumption during the first three months of 2023 also contributed to the increase in renewable energy’s share. Total electricity usage fell by 6.4% year-on-year, amounting to 138.1 terawatt hours (TWh). Compared to the same period in 2022, when renewables made up 49.2% of Germany’s energy mix, there has been notable progress. The methodology used to calculate these figures is based on the European Union’s guidelines, which focus on usage instead of production. The German government has also adopted this approach for determining its climate targets.
BDEW emphasized that the relative share of renewable energy increases when overall electricity consumption decreases, and vice versa. Examining domestic electricity production, the two research organizations reported an 8.3% decrease to 147.5 TWh during the first quarter, including volumes designated for export. Despite a 4.3% drop in green power production volumes, renewables accounted for 47.1% of the total output, up from 45.1% during the same period in 2022. Conventional energy sources, including nuclear, coal, natural gas, and oil, supplied 78 TWh of the total power generation during the first quarter, marking a decline from 88.3 TWh the previous year.