If wind and solar energy yields in the fourth quarter equal the average of the last few years, renewables’ share could amount to 42 per cent of Germany’s consumption in 2019.

That is according to the latest figures released by the Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW) and the German Association of Energy and Water Management (BDEW).

The data shows an increase of nearly five percentage points over the same period last year (38.1 per cent), confirming a new record.

Notably, renewables’ share climbed as high as 52 per cent during an unusually windy March.

“It is very gratifying to see renewables growing so strongly and the use of conventional energy sources steadily declining. However, the record figures stand in sharp contrast to the dramatic situation in the expansion of wind energy. We are sliding into a real recession for a lack of land and increasingly prohibitive distance regulations. If politicians don’t ease off the brakes on the expansion of wind farms, we are going to fall well short of the 65 per cent target,” says Stefan Kapferer, chairman of BDEW’s General Executive Management Board.

“Achieving that 65 per cent target will require more than just wind power; we also need photovoltaics as a second pillar,” says Prof. Dr. Frithjof Staiß, managing director of ZSW. “If the photovoltaic expansion doesn’t start picking up speed soon, we are only going to make it halfway to the recently set goal of doubling the installed capacity to 98 GW in eleven years. This is why we also need effective measures to drive the expansion of solar power.”

Renewables eclipse coal

The report found that solar, wind and other renewable sources generated around 183 billion kWh of electricity in the first three quarters of 2019 (Q1-3 2018: 166.5 billion kWh).

Renewables accounted for nearly 50 per cent more energy production than lignite and bituminous coal, which contributed 125 billion kWh (Q1-3 2018: 171.1 billion kWh) to the total.

During this period last year, renewables and coal accounted for close to the same share. By contrast, natural gas-fired electricity production rose by more than 11 percentage points to 66 billion kWh, which is mainly attributable to the higher price of CO2 (Q1-3 2018: 59.4 billion kWh).

Onshore wind power remained the leading source of renewable energy in the period under review with nearly 72 billion kWh (Q1-3 2018: 61.4 billion kWh). Photovoltaics came in second with around 41 billion kWh (Q1-3 2018: 39.2 billion kWh).