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Germany to exit coal power “well before 2050”

Reuters reported at the beginning of May 2016 that “according to a draft environment ministry document”, coal-fired power production in Germany should come to an end “well before 2050”.

The draft document:

• says that CO₂ emissions from the energy sector will need to be halved by 2030 compared to 2014 levels;
• proposes setting up a committee to come up with recommendations on how to phase out coal while averting economic hardship for those working in coal-producing regions;
• calls for a faster expansion of renewables than currently envisaged and says support for solar power needs to be increased;
• says the amount of energy produced by green sources should increase by around 75 percent by 2030;
• says that support for research into energy-storage technologies should be doubled over the next 10 years;
• says that the government will also push for a stricter European emissions trading system and is considering whether an additional levy on petrol, heating oil and gas would increase demand for green technologies.

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Renewable Record for Germany

Germany’s share of renewable energy input into the gross national energy requirement is set to hit the 33% mark for 2015. Some 193 billion kWh will come from solar, wind, and other renewable sources for 2015, around a 20% increase on the previous year, according to the estimates from the Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW) and the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW).

The most significant increases have been in photovoltaic and wind energy: Wind outlets produced 47% more power up to Oct. 31 than in the same period last year, while photovoltaic sources had already beaten their total production for 2014 in the first 10 months of 2015, despite only modest increases in installations.

“Even if we don’t hit 33%, the overall increase in Germany’s renewable energy share is terrific news,” said Thomas Grigoleit, director of Energy, Environment and Resources at Germany Trade and Invest.

“Not only does it show how important this aspect is in terms of Germany’s Energiewende and climate change targets, it confirms Germany’s pioneering position in the industry. Germany is able not only to install this capacity but integrate it effectively into the grid.”