By - Jim Vess

Denmark, Germany and Spain move closer to 50 percent renewable electricity generation

Energize Weekly, January 15, 2020

In 2019, three European countries – Denmark, Germany and Spain ­–were all closing in on getting 50 percent of their electricity from renewable sources.

Wind power provided more than 47 percent of the electricity in Denmark, and solar bumped the total from renewable sources to 50 percent, according to Energinet, the Danish national transmission system operator.

The previous record for wind-generated electricity in Denmark was in 2017 at 43 percent. Denmark has set a goal of a 70 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

“Once we thought that the power system could handle the maximum of 5 percent of the power being produced as the wind blew and the sun was shining. Fortunately, we have become smarter!” Energinet said in a statement.

In Germany, renewable energy’s share of the power supply for the year was up 5.4 percent to 46 percent. The national goal is for renewables to supply 65 percent of the country’s power by 2030.

Wind power accounted for 25 percent of the total electricity, 127.2 terawatt-hours. Solar produced 9 percent of the total power. Biomass provided 8.5 percent of the power and hydro another 3.8 percent.

Coal-fired generation accounted for 20 percent of Germany’s electricity in 2019. That was down from a 38 percent share in 2018.

In Spain, renewable generation capacity reached 49.3 percent total capacity in 2019, according to Red Eléctrica de Espana (REE), the national grid operator. Installed renewable energy capacity was up 10 percent in 2019, with an additional 5 gigawatts coming online.

Overall, renewables provided 36.8 percent of all the electricity for the year with nearly 59 percent coming from technologies that did not emit carbon dioxide, REE said. Nuclear power provided 21.2 percent of the electricity.

The 347-megawatt, coal-fired Anllares power plant was taken offline in 2019, and coal-fired units provided just 10.8 terawatt-hours of power, 4 percent of the total demand. That was down from 17 percent in 2017. Spain has the goal of a total phaseout of coal by 2030.

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