Germany

Germany

Wind-generated electricity in Germany slumps to new low in 2021

Fall in both onshore and offshore wind production amid rising demand leads to growth in coal and nuclear in 2021

Lower wind speeds accounted for onshore wind generation falling 13.1% against 2020 (pic credit: Nordex)
Lower wind speeds accounted for onshore wind generation falling 13.1% against 2020 (pic credit: Nordex)

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Wind power in 2021 retained its spot as the largest individual source of electricity in Germany, at 22.6% of total grid load, but fell to 113.6TWh from 130TWh in 2020, according to an annual report released last week by federal agency Smard.

Lower wind speeds accounted for onshore wind generation falling 13.1% from 2020 levels, with generation from offshore wind turbines falling 10.8%. Solar photovoltaic generation rose by 1.8%.

Electricity generated from all renewable energies, including biomass and hydropower as well as wind and solar, fell by 7.7% against the previous year. Renewables represented 42.8% of the grid load in 2021, down from 48% in 2020.

Lower generation from renewables combined with higher electricity demand – up 3.7% year-on-year – to produce an 11% increase in electricity produced from conventional sources such as coal and nuclear, according to the report.

“While electricity production from wind turbines recorded the biggest slump of all time in 2021… coal-fired power generation achieved record growth,” environmental think tank Agora Energiewende noted. 

Germany saw greenhouse gas emissions increase by about 4.5% in 2021 compared with the previous year, the think tank stated, warning that the government risks “losing touch with its 2030 climate target”. Germany has a target of cutting carbon emissions by 65% by 2030.

“The sharp decline in renewable energies shows the failures in energy policy in recent years. In order to almost double the share of green electricity by 2030, as envisaged in the coalition agreement, we now need a massive and rapid expansion of wind and solar systems,” said Simon Müller, Agora Energiewende’s director for Germany.

The Smard report also found that the average day-ahead wholesale electricity price in 2021 was €96.85/MWh, more than three times the average €30.47/MWh in 2020. 

Germany was again a net electricity exporter with a total of 17.4TWh in 2021. Despite net exports falling 5.9% against 2020 by volume, the export surplus was €330 million higher due to increased prices.

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