Coal is Again Germany’s Main Energy Source

Coal is again Germany’s main energy source. The conventional energy source overtook wind as the largest energy supplier in the first six months of the year. This is happening at a time when there is a major discussion in Germany in the run-up to the elections in September about measures to combat climate change.


According to calculations by the German Federal Statistical Office, 56 percent of the 258.9 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity generated in Germany during this period came from conventional sources such as coal, natural gas or nuclear power. That represented an annual increase of one fifth.

By contrast, the share in the energy mix of renewable energy sources such as wind, solar energy and biogas decreased to 44 percent. This was considerably less compared to the January-June period last year.

The main reason for the drop was the lack of steady wind. As a result, the share of wind energy decreased by 21 percent. Electricity generated by coal-fired power plants mainly filled the gap created by the shortage of wind energy.

Under current legislation, Germany must completely stop using coal by 2038 at the latest. Nuclear energy is also gradually being phased out. However, climate activists and political party Die GrĂ¼nen are calling for a faster phasing out of coal in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions more quickly.

Germany has enshrined its climate ambitions in law. According to this law, emissions of greenhouse gases such as CO2 must be reduced by 65 percent by 2030 from 1990 levels and at least 88 percent by 2040.

A key challenge for the next government will be how to implement measures to meet these legislative targets. This concerns, for example, the question of how the available acreage for wind farms can be greatly expanded without provoking too much opposition from the public.

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