German lawmakers back largest renewable expansion reforms in history


The German Bundestag, lower house of the parliament, approved on Thursday a legislative package to speed up the expansion of renewable energy. The bill aims to increase the renewable share to at least 80% by 2030, up from its previous objective of 65%.

According to preliminary figures released by the energy sector group BDEW and research institution ZSW, renewables produced nearly half of Germany’s electricity in the first six months of 2022. Solar panels, wind turbines, biogas plants, and other installations met 49% of total electricity consumption, up six percentage points from the same period the previous year.

Wind turbines, the most important renewable energy source, grew their share from 17% to 21%, and solar panels raised their part from 10% to 12%, while power consumption in the country decreased marginally by 2 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) to 281 billion kWh. Renewables generated 139 billion kWh in total, with 17 billion kWh exported. 

“Shrinking gas flows from Russia have put Germany’s energy supply into an exceptional situation. The safest way to prevent such a situation in the future is a quick buildout of renewable energy installations,” BDEW head Kerstin Andreae said, adding that a shortage of construction area for wind turbines will remain one of the country’s largest barriers to renewable expansion.

According to the new bill, Germany plans to increase its installed onshore wind power capacity to roughly 115 GW, with 10 GW to be added annually as of 2025. Offshore wind energy, on the other hand, is expected to reach 30 GW by 2030, 40GW by 2035, and 70 GW by 2045. 

As for solar energy, the government intends to triple the installed capacity to 215 GW by 2030, meaning 22 GW should be added per year as of 2026. To reach the objective, the country has pledged more space for solar PV and wind power installations, with 2% of the country’s territory be designated for onshore wind power by 2032. 

Matthias Miersch, a Social Democrat (SPD) energy lawmaker, said the agreement reached with the Green Party and the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) would guarantee that “renewables get the highest priority” in the German energy system, particularly in the wind power development arena. The legislative package, which marks the most significant overhaul in more than two decades, would lay the framework for a carbon-neutral energy system and greater independence from energy imports.

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