Coal overtakes wind to become Germany's top electricity source

Coal overtakes wind to become Germany's top electricity source

After hitting a green energy high in early 2020, Germany regressed to more conventional sources of power in the first half of 2021, as coal overtook wind power as the biggest contributor to the grid. The weather is partly to blame. 

Coal most important energy source in first half of 2021

Despite efforts to boost green energy sources as the country plods towards its commitment to phase out coal power by 2038 at the latest, most of the electricity generated in Germany in the first half of 2021 came from non-renewable sources. In the first half of 2020, wind power was the most important source of energy in Germany

However, as new figures from the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) show, production of electricity from “conventional” energy sources like coal, natural gas and nuclear energy rose by 20,9 percent in the first six months of 2021, and together contributed 56 percent of the total energy fed into Germany’s national grid. 27 percent of that power came from coal alone. 

On the other hand, wind power’s contribution dropped significantly compared to the first half of 2020 - from a 29 percent to a 22 percent share. In 2020, it was the top producer of energy, but 2021’s figure is its lowest since 2018. In total, the contribution from renewable energies fell by 11,7 percent. 

Weather to blame for low green energy output in Germany

The statisticians at Destatis said that the weather in Germany in the first half of 2021 was partly to blame for the decline in renewable energy’s share. Between January and March, a lack of wind significantly reduced the amount of energy produced by wind farms in Germany - whereas in 2020 and 2019 a lot of stormy weather created the perfect conditions for wind energy. 

These fluctuations in the power output of renewable energy sources - which are largely dependent on the natural forces of wind, sun and rain - are something that will have to be ironed out as Germany presses ahead to phase out nuclear power by 2022 and coal-fired power plants by 2038. 



Abi Carter

Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles...

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