The magazine ‘Spiegel’ just published a very misleading article about renewable energy in Germany and it’s contribution to carbon emissions reduction, which was quoted on Energy Bulletin.

The author of the article is naming the German Green Party as a source, what is wrong – he did not quote any official statement nor German Green party position.

Here is what I as the speaker of the Energy Group of the German Green Party have to say:

Dear friends,

The quoted article from the magazine ‘Spiegel’ shows only one thing: how badly they are investigating the facts.

The opposite of the written is true. It is a simple lie. The e-mails quoted are not reflecting any official German Green Party statement or position.

Electricity by renewable sources does avoid carbon emissions each kilowatt hour.

After the German reunification the break down of the Eastern German economy widely contributed to CO2-emission savings too.

But the major actual savings and reductions of carbon dioxide in Germany in the electricity sector are made by the use of renewable energy sources.

The so called ‘feed in tariff’, which is granted within the ‘EEG’ (EEG = Erneuerbare Energie Gesetz = Renewable Energy Act) allows to feed individually produced electricity from sun, biomass or wind or other renewable sources into the public grid. The utilities must buy this renewable electricity for a fixed price due to this law. This renewable energy act came into force in 2000. Since then the utilities and others tried to blockade this law. The ‘Spiegel’-article seems to be written in this mood.

In spite of an overall growing electricity demand the CO2-emissions could be reduced by switching from fossil to renewable sources. In 2008 the overall electricity production by renewable sources is 15% of gross electricity production in Germany and merely 19% of the electricity exchanged in public grids.

Some people don’t like this …

The graph shows: 117 tons of CO2 emissions could be avoided in 2007 in Germany by renewable energy.

The share of electricity produced with help of feed in tariff system was 57 Million tons (60% of this was wind power).

These numbers are quoted from the ‘BMU’ = the German Environment Ministry.

They have set up an English speaking website for the renewable energy and you can find very interesting material as well as the numbers and the graph here:

While Germany had an CO2 output of 880 Million tons per year about 90% of this are due to energy use (electricity, heat, traffic).

This means: renewable sources avoided about 13% of the total CO2 emissions, 6.5 % due to the electricity produced within the feed in tariff system.

However it is a major step in getting rid of the fossil fuel dependence – and in to reduce the problems caused by ‘Peak oil’, ‘Peak gas’ and ‘Peak fossil fuels’.

The ‘BEE’ – the German Renewable Energy Association published very recently an outlook how much electricity they can produce from renewable sources in 2020 for Germany:

47% of todays gross electricity production. This might be the true reason for the renewable energy bashing you could see from the ‘Spiegel’ article.

Until now Germany has not made it to reduce the total electricity consumption, which is still slightly rising – and due to the high prices of oil and natural gas (‘Peak oil’!) and the reduction of nuclear power – the only effective measure to avoid to produce even more carbon emissions in fact was the production of renewable electricity.

Astrid Schneider ([email protected])
Speaker of the Energy Group of the German Green Party (Bündnis 90/ Die Grünen)
Germany, Berlin 12.02.2009