Annual Report 2018
Country Reports


Jochen Bard and Fabian Thalemann Fraunhofer IEE

In 2019 electricity from renewable energy in Germany again saw new record production levels with a share of almost 43% of electricity consumption - generating more electricity as coal for the first time. However, the renewable energy production capacity increase has slowed down significantly in 2019 with around 1 GW wind onshore and 1.1 GW of new offshore wind capacity for the first time more than onshore. This is the lowest value for onshore wind since the year 2000. In order to achieve the targeted renewable share of 65% in 2030 an added capacity of around 5 GW/a would be necessary. The new PV capacity of around 4 GW added in 2019 brings the total up to almost 50 GW in the country.

The average tender results for solar power declined again in 2019 after a rise in 2018 to an average of 4.9 Cent/kWh. For onshore wind the latest contracts are at 6.2Cent/kWh.

Germany's greenhouse gas emissions fell again by around 50Mt mainly due the reduced production from coal fired power plants and are now 35% below the 1990 level. Meanwhile, CO2 emissions from the buildings and transport sectors have risen due to an in-crease in oil and gas consumption. The decline in CO2 emissions can be attributed to the higher CO2 prices in the EU ETS, a significant increase in renewable generation and lower electricity consumption (source: The energy transition in the power sector – state of affairs 2019.

At the start of 2019, the Commission on Growth, Structural Change and Employment tabled its proposals for the phase-out of coal-fired power plants in Germany. According to these proposals, all coal-fired power plants are to be taken offline by 2038.

At the end of January 2019, the Federal Sectoral Planning for the first section of the 'Ultranet' electricity highway in Hesse and Baden-Württemberg was completed. This marked an important step in the process of expanding the grid. The planning sets out the exact corridor in which the power line will run. 'Ultranet' is one of the five main German power highways and is designed to transport the wind power produced in northern Germany to the south. The project is the first in Germany to put a DC line and an AC line on the same pylons. At the beginning of April 2019, the Bundestag finally gave the go-ahead for the revised Grid Expansion Acceleration Act (NABEG). This act is to make approval procedures for the construction of new power lines in Germany faster and simpler.

Germany's greenhouse gas emissions fell significantly by around 51 Mt or 5.7 % compared to 2017 and are now 31.7 % below the 1990 level at a total of 854 Mt. The reduction is a result of lower primary energy consumption in the industry sector as well as in the heating and transport sectors. A flat economy in the energy-intensive industries and a decline in sales of natural gas, heating oil and diesel contributed to this development. The current gap to achieve the 2020 climate protection target of minus 40 % compared to 1990-levels thus amounts to 103 Mt of CO2. (source: Agora Energiewende (2019): Die Energiewende im Stromsektor: Stand der Dinge 2018. Rückblick auf die wesentlichen Entwicklungen sowie Ausblick auf 2019.

In summer of 2018 the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy launched the Electricity Grid Action Plan to accelerate the expansion process by streamlining planning procedures and improving the way projects are overseen. Existing grids are to be optimised using new technologies and operating strategies. At a grid summit in September, Federal Minister Altmaier and the energy ministers of the Länder, who are responsible for most decisions relating to the expansion of the grid – including planning permissions – agreed on a legislative package to speed up the process of grid expansion.

The Federal Government announced plans to provide € 6.4 billion in funding for energy research up to 2022 within the 7th Energy Research Programme adopted in September 2018 representing an increase of approx. 45% over the period from 2013-2017. The “living labs” or “reality labs” established as part of the energy transition will be made an essential pillar of energy research in Germany. This project type allows for experience to be gained and for regulations to be honed and improved before they are rolled out but in a limited pilot region over a limited period of time.  Furthermore, startups are to be given better access to research funding. In contrast to the former editions of the Energy Research Programme, which only provided funding for individual technologies, the focus in the coming years will also be on horizontal issues such as digitisation and sector coupling (Source: Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy: “Energy transition progress in 2018” from 20.12.2018,