The 4th Largest Economy In The World Just Generated 90 Percent Of The Power It Needs From Renewables

Credit: Shutterstock

Credit: Shutterstock

By Jeremy Deaton

On Sunday, for a brief, shining moment, renewable power output in Germany reached 90 percent of the country’s total electricity demand.

That’s a big deal. On May 8th, at 11 a.m. local time, the total output of German solar, wind, hydropower, and biomass reached 55 gigawatts (GW), just short of the 58 GW consumed by every light bulb, washing machine, water heater and personal computer humming away on Sunday morning.

Why this is considered a Big Deal:

  • Germany’s $3.7 trillion GDP beats the economic output of any other country in Europe or, for that matter, any U.S. state.
  • Germany was an unlikely leader in solar yet currently ranks second in photovoltaic solar capacity.
  • Proves that renewables did not hurt or slow Germany’s economy.
  • Shows that wind and solar can keep pace and continue to grow with the demands of an economic powerhouse.
  • Germany’s smart policies have increased efficiency and democratize power generation. Individuals own over a third of the renewable energy capacity.
  • Germany only sees about as much sunshine as Alaska yet renewables supply 30 percent of the country’s power.


Categories: Americas, Business, Climate change, Climate science, Economic policy, Economics, Environment, Environmental policy, Fossil fuels, Germany, Pollution, United States, US News, Water quality, Wind and solar power, World news

9 replies

  1. I was unaware that Germany had so few sunny days. Think what the USA could accomplish with more people and our abundance of wind & sun. This is a job creator.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for this post. It’s nice to be reminded of the good world news. Your post inspired me to spend the evening researching the latest news on the subject. The world seems a more hopeful place tonight.

      Anyone interested in reading more on the subject may enjoy these informative links:

      Wind supplied Iowa with more than 31% of its electricity last year

      A Texas Utility Offers a Nighttime Special: Free Electricity

      New Fees May Weaken Demand for Rooftop Solar

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you. Today, it is nice to get some good news. Technology is getting better at collecting and storing clean energy.

        I enjoyed those links/articles. I did not expect TX to be so open to and generous with their clean energy. Offering free electricity at night is logical. It would encourage users to do larger projects after peek hours. It is nice to know that we have States taking clean energy seriously.

        I was hoping the US would create a smart grid. It would benefit everyone living here. I watched a PBS program and the smart grid plan was not popular with the states or power companies. They were fighting over who would benefit the most. It was mostly about money, taxes, and power. Our capitalistic system causes problems here.

        Your last link was informative. Added fees hurt solar installations and can get complicated. I heard about one western state that was unfairly charging homeowners who hooked their solar grid up to the power grid. In that article, the Kock’s and state leaders were being blamed for passing state legislation which added unfair surcharges and fees. I do not remember the state but individuals were actually removing their clean energy grid off of the power grid due to the excessive fees.

        I strongly believe the US should have a smart national plan like Germany. One organization that regulates and sets guidelines that everyone can follow. That may keep corporations or states from over charging individuals that use solar or wind.

        Liked by 1 person

        • It was the Oklahoma state legislature that passed a law in 2014 allowing for the assessment of fees on private solar and wind power generators. The implications had a predictable effect on local enthusiasm for investment in private wind and solar generation systems. But the law did not itself impose fees or any taxes as was incorrectly reported by Rachel Maddow. That wee bit of misreporting of the facts subsequently went viral in the media.

          However, Maddow’s insinuation about the ultimate intent of the legislation was probably correct. The law was supported by Oklahoma utility companies and ALEC. But it wasn’t until December 2015 that the Oklahoma Gas and Electric company asked the Oklahoma Corporation Commission to impose a fee on new private solar installations.

          The argument for such a fee is that if utility companies should be required to pay private producers for energy supplied to them, then those producers should share in paying for the costs of energy delivery infrastructure maintenance.

          My understanding is that the Oklahoma Corporation Commission denied OG&E’s solar tariff request last month. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          • Your comment was interesting & informative for several reasons. Maddow does not usually make that many mistakes and if she does, she normally correct her mistakes. I no longer get cable so I did not know which states were trying to impose green energy fees. It is wonderful to hear that OG&E’s solar tariff was denied last month. Thank you for posting the correct information.

            I disagree with the Oklahoma’s argument. It is good to know that others feel the same:-) Yes, utilities have to deal with storing, supplying and receive power now. They have the power grids, lines, software and cables in place. Normally customers have to pay for hook up fees, hardware on their own property, etc but utilities wanted to forget that small detail. This reminds me of the AT&T’s lawsuit claiming that it was not fair that all the baby Bells were given free access to all their hardware, software, including free maintenance. AT&T was forced to help the Baby Bells become competitive.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Eh, nobody gets everything right all of the time.

              I agree with you that the argument used to justify the need for tariffs is not sound, and for the simple reason that utility users already pay for power company infrastructure costs as a portion of the rates they pay for service.

              Of course, we both understand that the ulterior motive of ALEC and the utility companies is to discourage the expansion of private renewable energy sources. It’s bad for their bottom line.

              Liked by 1 person

              • You are right, why did I forget about our monthly bills? We are a capitalist nation through-and-through. We have paid for everything the utility companies have. ALEX is a typical corporate style organization. They are excessively greedy. I do not understand why so many support corporate America. They do not serve the workers, the citizens, and they could care less about OUR country.

                “utility users already pay for power company infrastructure costs as a portion of the rates they pay for service.”

                Liked by 1 person

  2. Another link about the success of solar power. Chile is giving away free electricity:

    Liked by 1 person

  3. And this is what more nations, especially Venezuela need to do. They’re a mess without electricity because they relied on hydropower….with a drought looming on the horizon. When it hit, well, it’s cost them electric power.

    Liked by 1 person

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