15 March 2012

Germany can meet renewable targets on schedule

Germany's expansion targets for renewable energies will be securely reached under any scenario. Moreover, the renewable energies will be significantly cheaper in the long term than an energy supply based on coal, oil and gas, says a study carried out by renowned research institutes.

© Spectral-design

The guiding question of the study "Long-term scenarios and strategies for the expansion of renewable energies in Germany" was under which conditions the measures adopted last year to transform the energy system can be implemented by 2050.

According to the findings of the study, the share of renewable energies in electricity production will be about 40 percent in 2020 under all scenarios, and thus considerably above the 35 percent target defined by the German government.

Their share already reached 20 percent last year. For 2050 the three main scenarios of the study forecast a renewables’ share of about 85 percent to 87 percent. The targets for renewable energies in the mobility and heat sectors will be reached or even exceeded.

The DLR (Stuttgart), Fraunhofer IWES (Kassel) and IfnE (Teltow) developed various scenarios for the study.

These differ in particular with regard to the assumptions made for the development of long-term storage of excess electricity from renewables, the transport sector, electricity saving targets and climate targets. Strict ecological standards were applied in all cases.

Renewables significantly cheaper in 2030

The study also addresses the economic effects of the transformation of the energy system. At present, renewables are still more expensive than coal, oil and gas.

However, while the prices for coal, oil and gas are likely to continue to rise further, renewable energies are becoming more and more cost effective.

If the energy targets are pursued consistently, experts expect electricity from renewable sources to cost an average of 7.6 cents/kWh in 2030, while the costs for electricity from hard coal and natural gas will then have risen to more than 9 cents/kWh.

Spending on imported fossil fuels down

By the end of 2010 about EUR150 billion had been invested in installations for renewable electricity and heat production in Germany. In the course of the transformation of Germany’s energy system this investment volume could increase to around EUR200 billion each for the decades to come.

At the same time, spending on imported fossil energy sources, which totaled almost EUR70 billion in 2010, will go down dramatically.

Germany’s import spending is expected to decrease by EUR30 billion  to EUR35 billion per year by 2030 due to the increased use of renewable energies, the study says

Transformation feasible - and it pays off

The transformation of our energy system is feasible - and it pays off, a according to the study commissioned by the Federal Environment Ministry.

"This study confirms that the German government has taken the right path by launching the transformation of our energy system, the most important modernization and infrastructure project of the decades to come,” said Federal Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen.

The key result is that the political expansion targets for renewable energies will be securely reached under any scenario. The basis for this is the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG).

“Entering the age of renewables is an appropriate and logical step. Coal, oil and gas supplies are limited and must be replaced by renewable energies step by step, also for reasons of climate protection.”

“Renewable energies, energy efficiency and resource-saving technologies create supply security, jobs and value added in Germany. We want to remain an industrialized country and will do so," Röttgen said.

"Whether other countries copy our model will depend on the successful implementation of our goals. The latest figures prove that the transformation of the energy system is feasible."

The Report (in German)

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