Electricity sector in Germany
This article needs to be updated.January 2019)(
Germany's electrical grid is part of the Synchronous grid of Continental Europe. In 2018, Germany produced 540 TWh of electricity of which 40% was from renewable energy sources, 38% from coal, and 8% from natural gas.
|Continuity of supply||0.2815 hrs (16.89 min) interruption per subscriber per year|
|Installed capacity||198.45 GW(2017)|
|Production (2018)||540 TWh|
|Share of fossil energy||61.8% (2017)|
|Share of renewable energy||38.2% (2017)|
|GHG emissions from electricity generation (2013)||363.7 Mt CO|
2 [631.4 TWh × 576 g/kWh]
|Average industrial tariff|
- Nuclear: 72.2 TWh (13.2%)
- Brown Coal: 134 TWh (24.5%)
- Hard Coal: 81.7 TWh (14.9%)
- Natural Gas: 49.1 TWh (9.0%)
- Wind: 103.6 TWh (18.9%)
- Solar: 38.4 TWh (7.0%)
- Biomass: 47.4 TWh (8.7%)
- Hydro: 20.5 TWh (3.7%)
While nuclear power production decreased only slightly from 2013 to 2014, electricity generated from brown coal, hard coal, and gas-fired power plants significantly decreased by 3%, 9.5%, and 13.8%, respectively. Germany will phase-out nuclear power by 2022, and as of 2019, coal is scheduled to be phased out by 2038.
German prices in 2017 were €29.16 cents per kwh for residential customers, an increase of 35% over 2008.
German households and small businesses pay the second highest electricity price in Europe for many years in a row now. More than half of the power price consists of components determined by the state. These include charges for using power grids (24.6%), levies for financing investment in renewable energy (22.1%) and for other kinds of taxes (e.g. GST 16%).
Electricity trade in GermanyEdit
Germany, the largest exporter of electricity with 10% of the overall exports, reinforced its position as a net exporter by 20% during the year 2010 Germany has grid interconnections with neighboring countries representing 10% of domestic capacity.:5
Electricity per person and by power sourceEdit
Germany produced power per person in 2008 equal to the EU-15 average (EU-15: 7,409 kWh/person) and 77% of the OECD average (8,991 kWh/person).
On 8 May 2016 renewables supplied 87.6% of Germany's national electricity consumption, albeit under extremely favourable weather conditions.:11
|Use||Production||Export||Exp. %||Fossil||Fossil %||Nuclear||Nuc. %||Other RE*||Bio+waste||Wind||Non RE use*||RE %|
|* This data for Germany is extracted from the international column of a Swedish report|
* Other RE is waterpower, solar and geothermal electricity and wind power until 2008
* Non RE use = use – production of renewable electricity
* RE % = (production of RE / use) * 100%
Note: European Union calculates the share of renewable energies in gross electrical consumption.
Mode of productionEdit
According to the IEA the gross production of electricity was 631 TWh in 2008 which gave the seventh position among the world top producers in 2010. The top seven countries produced 59% of electricity in 2008. The top producers were the United States (21.5%), China (17.1%), Japan (5.3%), Russia (5.1%), India (4.1%), Canada (3.2%) and Germany (3.1%).
In 2015, Germany generated electricity from the following sources:
- 24.0% Lignite
- 18.2% Hard coal
- 14.1% Nuclear
- 12.0% Onshore wind
- 8.8% Natural gas
- 6.8% Biomass
- 5.9% Solar
- 3.0% Hydro
- 1.3% Offshore wind
- 0.9% Waste
- 0.8% Oil
- 4.0% Other
In 2008, power generation from coal contributed 291 TWh or 46% to the overall production of 631 TWh, but this dropped to under 40% in 2017. Germany remains one of the world's largest power producer from coal besides China (2,733 TWh), USA (2,133 TWh) and India (569 TWh).
In January 2019 the German Commission on Growth, Structural Change and Employment initiates Germany's plans to entirely phase out and shut down the 84 remaining coal-fired plants on its territory by 2038.
Germany has defined a firm active phase-out policy of nuclear power. Eight nuclear power plants were permanently shut down after the Fukushima accident. All nuclear power plants are to be phased out by the end of 2022. According to BMU this is an opportunity for future generations.
Siemens is the only significant nuclear constructor in Germany and the nuclear share was 3% of their business in 2000. In 2006 the large international bribes of Siemens in the energy and telecommunication business were revealed. The case was investigated, for example, in Nigeria, the United States, Greece and South Korea.
The installed nuclear power capacity in Germany was 20 GW in 2008 and 21 GW in 2004. The production of nuclear power was 148 TWh in 2008 (sixth top by 5.4% of world total) and 167 TWh in 2004 (fourth top by 6.1% of world total).
In 2009 compared to 2004 the nuclear power was produced 19% less and its share had declined smoothly over time from 27% units to 23% units. The share of renewable electricity increased, substituting for nuclear power.
Germany has been called "the world's first major renewable energy economy". Renewable energy in Germany is mainly based on wind, solar and biomass. Germany had the world's largest photovoltaic installed capacity until 2014, and as of 2016, it is third with 40 GW. It is also the world's third country by installed wind power capacity, at 50 GW, and second for offshore wind, with over 4 GW.
Chancellor Angela Merkel, along with a vast majority of her compatriots, believes, "As the first big industrialized nation, we can achieve such a transformation toward efficient and renewable energies, with all the opportunities that brings for exports, developing new technologies and jobs". The share of renewable electricity rose from just 3.4% of gross electricity consumption in 1990 to exceed 10% by 2005, 20% by 2011 and 30% by 2015, reaching 36.2% of consumption by year end 2017. As with most countries, the transition to renewable energy in the transport and heating and cooling sectors has been considerably slower.
More than 23,000 wind turbines and 1.4 million solar PV systems are distributed all over the country.[when?] According to official figures, around 370,000 people were employed in the renewable energy sector in 2010, particularly in small and medium-sized companies. This is an increase of around 8% compared to 2009 (around 339,500 jobs), and well over twice the number of jobs in 2004 (160,500). About two-thirds of these jobs are attributed to the Renewable Energy Sources Act.
Germany's federal government is working to increase renewable energy commercialization, with a particular focus on offshore wind farms. A major challenge is the development of sufficient network capacities for transmitting the power generated in the North Sea to the large industrial consumers in southern parts of the country.Germany's energy transition, the Energiewende, designates a significant change in energy policy from 2011. The term encompasses a reorientation of policy from demand to supply and a shift from centralized to distributed generation (for example, producing heat and power in very small cogeneration units), which should replace overproduction and avoidable energy consumption with energy-saving measures and increased efficiency.
Grid owners included, in 2008, RWE, EnBW, Vattenfall and E.ON. According to the European Commission the electricity producers should not own the electricity grid to ensure open competition. The European Commission accused E.ON of the misuse of markets in February 2008. Consequently, E.ON sold its share of the network. As of July 2016 the four German TSOs are:
- 50Hertz Transmission GmbH (owned by Elia, formerly owned by Vattenfall)
- Amprion GmbH (RWE)
- Tennet TSO GmbH (owned by TenneT, formerly owned by E.ON)
- TransnetBW (renamed from EnBW Transportnetze AG and a 100% subsidiary of EnBW)
In Germany, there also exists a single-phase AC grid operated at 16.7 Hz to supply power to rail transport, see list of installations for 15 kV AC railway electrification in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
Elbe Crossing 1Edit
Elbe Crossing 1 is a group of masts providing an overhead crossing of a 220 kV three-phase alternating current electric powerline across the River Elbe. Constructed between 1959 and 1962 as part of the line from Stade to Hamburg north, it consists of four masts. Each of the two portal masts is a guyed mast 50 metres in height with a crossbeam at a height of 33 metres. One of these masts stands on the Schleswig-Holstein bank of the Elbe and the other on the Lower Saxony bank. Two identical carrying masts 189 metres in height, each weighing 330 tons, ensure the necessary passage height of 75 metres over the Elbe. One stands on the island of Lühesand, the other in the Buhnenfeld on the Schleswig-Holstein side.
Because of the swampy terrain, each mast's foundation is built on pilings driven into the ground. The Lühesand portal mast rests on 41 pilings and the one on the Buhnenfeld on 57. In contrast to the usual construction of such lattice-steel transmission towers, the direction of the line passes diagonally over the square ground cross section of the pylon, resulting in savings in material. The two crossbeams for the admission of the six conductor cables are at a height of 166 metres and 179 metres. The mast on the Buhnenfeld bears at a height of 30 metres a radar facility belonging to the Water and Navigation Office of the Port of Hamburg. Each portal mast has stairs and gangways for maintenance of flight safety beacons, and has a hoist for heavy loads.
Elbe Crossing 2Edit
Elbe Crossing 2 is a group of transmission towers providing overhead lines for four 380 kV three-phase alternating current (AC) circuits across the German river Elbe. It was constructed between 1976 and 1978 to supplement Elbe Crossing 1, and consists of four towers:
- A 76-metre-tall anchor pylon located in Lower Saxony, on the Elbe's southern banks.
- Two carrying pylons, each 227 metres tall. One is located on the island of Lühesand and the other is near Hetlingen in Schleswig-Holstein, on the northern shore.
- These pylons are the tallest pylons in Europe and the sixth tallest of the world. They stand on 95 stakes because of the unfavorable building ground. The base of each pylon measures 45×45 metres and each pylon weighs 980 tons. Crossbeams, which hold up the power cables, are located at heights of 172, 190 and 208 metres. The crossbeams span 56 meters (lowest crossbeam), 72 metres (middle crossbeam) and 57 metres (highest crossbeam). Each pylon has a self-propelled climbing elevator for maintenance of the aircraft warning lights; each elevator runs inside a steel tube in the centre of the mast, around which there is a spiral staircase.
- A 62-metre-tall anchor pylon on the Schleswig-Holstein side.
The enormous height of the two carrying pylons ensures that the passage height requirement of 75 metres over the Elbe demanded by German authorities is met. The height requirement ensures that large ships are able to enter Hamburg's deep-water port.
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