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News > World

Germany Smashes Own Renewable Energy Record

  • A German windfarm powering the country towards reliance on renewable energy.

    A German windfarm powering the country towards reliance on renewable energy. | Photo: AFP

Published 30 July 2015
Opinion

With climate change talks approacing at the end of this year in Paris, Germany continues its move towards renewable energy sources.

Germany has established itself as one of the greenest countries on the planet, setting a new national record July 25 for renewable energy, providing 78 percent of the day’s power demand with renewable sources.

The figure beat its previous record of 74 percent, achieved in May 2014.

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German energy expert Craig Morris explained at the Energiewende blog that a combination of storms and sun across the country accounted for the new levels, making use of wind turbines in the north and solar panels in the south. The researcher added that the current results are preliminary.

Last year, 28.8 percent of Germany’s power came from renewable sources, leaping from 6.2 percent in 2000. Increased use of renewables and a mild winter last year led to Germany reducing its greenhouse gas emissions for the first time in three years, marking a new chapter for the European country.

According to Osha Gray Davidson, author of Clean Break, a book about Germany’s transition to clean energy, for such a large, developed country to rely on renewables for 28 percent of its energy is “pretty amazing,” and the United States should look to it as a model, which gets 13 percent from non-fossil fuels.

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“Manufacturing accounts for much more of the German economy than the American economy, and they have 80 million people — much larger than a country like Denmark, which gets more of its power from renewables but has a much smaller industrial base, and has a population of five and a half million people,” he said.

In world rankings, Germany still has some way to go, with Finland and Norway achieving well above 28 percent. Costa Rica to set world records in March this year after it managed to go 75 days using 100 percent renewable energy.

Formal energy talks are due to be held in Paris in December this year, where countries are obliged to develop a new agreement with legal force to apply to all countries from 2020 onward over action on catastrophic global warming, by reducing emissions.

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