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Global Economy

New solar record in Germany

On Sunday around 1 p.m. the time had come: For the first time in Germany, solar power with an output of more than 40 gigawatts was fed into the public power grid. Almost 80 percent of the electricity consumed in Germany at that time was generated with the help of photovoltaics. This emerges from the data from the Freiburg Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems.

Electricity is far from everything

Despite this development, there is still a lot to be done in expanding renewable energies in Germany. In the past twelve months, the proportion of environmentally friendly energy sources was on average just under half of the total electricity consumption.

However, the energy currently consumed in Germany comprises significantly more than electricity. Last year, renewable energies covered just under a sixth of the so-called primary energy consumed in Germany. This includes the amount of energy that comes from energy sources such as oil, natural gas, lignite, hard coal, sun, wind, hydropower or nuclear fuel.

The importance of solar power is therefore still comparatively low – despite the new peak value. Last year, just under nine percent of the electricity produced in Germany was produced with the help of photovoltaics. On the other hand, almost a third of the primary energy consumed came from mineral oil.

More power required

In addition, experts expect further increases in electricity consumption in Germany in the coming years – also due to the increasing spread of electric cars. Heat pumps play a role in the building sector.

Nevertheless, a new study gives reason for hope: According to the assessment of the credit insurer Allianz Trade (formerly Euler Hermes), the energy transition can be far more successful than previously expected. "In the medium term, Germany's ambitious goals are likely to increase the share of renewable energies in the electricity mix even beyond what would be required to meet the Paris climate targets by 2035," said Milo Bogaerts, head of Allianz Trade for the German-speaking region.

However, the prerequisite for this is a major restructuring of processes in central areas of the electricity system. "The planning and approval procedures for renewable energy, electricity and hydrogen networks must be consistently simplified and accelerated," said Allianz energy expert Markus Zimmer. In addition, the expansion of the electricity, gas and hydrogen networks must be better coordinated.

Many new jobs in sight

The expansion of electricity generation capacity from renewable energies alone will require investments of an average of 28 billion euros per year up to 2035. These lead directly and indirectly to additional added value of 40 billion euros per year, which currently corresponds to more than one percent of German gross domestic product. "In addition, the expansion of renewable energies will employ an average of 440,000 workers in Germany from 2022 to 2035," according to the credit insurer's economists.

Allianz Trade explains that a short-term increase in the use of coal in electricity production with the corresponding accumulation of the climate-damaging gas CO2 does not endanger the climate goals with the functioning of the EU emissions trading system. In this context, the additional use of coal leads to an increase in the price of CO2 emissions. "This in turn means fewer CO2 emissions in other sectors," says Zimmer. "In addition, given the high EU emissions trading prices, it is very unlikely that coal will serve as a long-term substitute for Russian gas."

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