FRANKFURT (Reuters) - A record 50.2% of Germany’s power consumption in January to June was met from renewable sources, utility industry association BDEW said on Thursday, adding that usage dropped by 5.7% year-on-year due to the coronavirus crisis.
This was up from 44.1% over the same period last year and reflects efforts by Europe’s biggest economy to curb climate-warming emissions from thermal power stations.
Germany wants to raise the share of renewables in its power mix to 65% by 2030, a goal it aims to achieve by supporting steady additions to green power generation facilities.
But the big increase this year also resulted from utilities meeting a slump in industrial demand with production cuts as lockdowns paralysed business activities, BDEW said.
“Operators scaled back power generation from conventional energy significantly in recent months in response to the feed-in priority for renewable energy,” it said. “This resulted in an increase in the percentage share of renewables.”
Weather-generated renewables must be transmitted first on power lines as and when they are produced because grids must be balanced and power cannot be stored in meaningful quantities.
Domestic power consumption amounted to 272.3 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) in the six months compared with 288.7 billion a year earlier, BDEW said.
The total factored in imports of 26.1 billion kWh and exports of 34.2 billion and included 13.4 billion of internal usage of manufacturers’ onsite power plants.
As the pandemic sapped demand, consumption decreased by 4% in the year to early May, data from advisory Team Consult showed at that stage, when it predicted full-year demand would fall by 4%-5% over 2019.
Wind power output of 74.5 billion kWh in January to June represented the single biggest electricity source, while operators added 591 megawatts (MW) of turbine capacity, compared with 287 MW in the comparable 2019 period.
Reporting by Vera Eckert, editing by David Evans