Proving we do not need to rely so much on fossil fuels, Germany has broken a new record for renewable energy, with low-carbon sources almost completely replacing coal and nuclear power last weekend.
At one point on Sunday, sustainable energy from wind, solar, biomass and hydro power provided a record 85 per cent of the country’s total energy, according to The Independent.
Unlike the US, where even national parks have recently been opened to coal mining, Germany has been investing heavily in renewable energy, as part of the government’s Energiewende initiative to transition away from fossil fuels and nuclear power to a low carbon, environmentally sound, reliable, and affordable energy supply by 2050.
For several hours on Sunday, electricity prices fell into negative figures, as renewable sources produced so much power that supply exceeded demand.
Coal use fell to an all-time low, with public broadcaster Deutsche Welle reporting that on 30 April coal-fired power stations were only operational between three and four in the afternoon and produced less than eight gigawatts of energy, well below their maximum output of about 50 gigawatts, said The Independent.
“Most of Germany’s coal-fired power stations were not even operating on Sunday,” Patrick Graichen of Agora Energiewende told Australian news site RenewEconomy.
“Nuclear power sources, which are planned to be completely phased out by 2022, were also severely reduced.”
Graichen also said days like Sunday would be “completely normal” by 2030 thanks to the government’s continued investment in the Energiewende initiative.
Germany announced in May 2011 that it plans to shut down all its nuclear power plants by 2022, in addition to nearly eliminating fossil fuel power.
Germany should be an example used to the rest of the world that renewable energy can provide for us if people are willing to invest in it rather than hang onto the same old, dirty forms of energy.
(Article By Jeremiah Jones)