December 2023 | According to the latest calculations by the Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW) and the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW), renewable energies will cover more than half of gross electricity consumption for the first time in 2023.
There are various milestones in the transition from a fossil to a green energy system. Starting with the first hour without coal or gas up to the point at which the last “fossil” power plant is shut down. Between these key points lies another milestone: the first year in which more electricity is generated from renewable energy sources than from fossil fuels.
This milestone was reached in Germany in 2023.
The preliminary calculations show that renewable energies covered nearly 52 per cent of gross electricity consumption in 2023. This corresponds to an increase of five percentage points compared to the previous year and marks the first time a share of over 50 per cent for the entire year.
Particularly high shares of renewable electricity were recorded in July (59 per cent), May (57 per cent) and October and November (55 per cent each). In June, photovoltaics set a new all-time record with 9.8 billion kilowatt hours. Onshore wind energy set a new record for the year as a whole with 113.5 billion kilowatt hours.
The lower consumption figures had a positive effect on the renewables quota, as it is measured as a proportion of electricity consumption. However, in absolute terms too, the generation of renewable energy reached a historic high of 267.0 billion kilowatt hours, which corresponds to an increase of six per cent compared to the previous year.
Bureaucracy reduction needed
Kerstin Andreae, Chairwoman of the BDEW Executive Board, emphasises:
“The figures show that we are on the right track. Today, we use more electricity from renewable sources than from conventional sources and have our sights firmly set on 100 per cent renewables.”
However, she calls for further support from politicians. Bureaucratic hurdles and lengthy authorisation procedures must be further reduced in order to facilitate investment in the expansion of renewable energies. This is the only way to achieve the second 50 per cent.
“Companies in the energy industry want to invest in the energy transition, but despite improvements in legislation, they are still too often slowed down by lengthy authorisation procedures, excessive bureaucracy and a lack of space,” added Andreae, calling for a “successful attitude right down to every office”.
The exact generation figures for 2023 show that a total of around 508.1 billion kilowatt hours of electricity were generated, almost 11 per cent less than in the previous year. Renewable energies accounted for 267.0 billion kilowatt hours of this, with onshore wind power plants making up the largest share.
The share of green electricity can be calculated in two ways: as a share of gross electricity consumption or as a share of gross electricity generation. In the case of gross electricity generation, exported electricity volumes are also taken into account. The share of renewable energies in 2023 based on gross electricity generation is just under 53 per cent (2022: 44 per cent).