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Renewable energy expansion

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All our figures are interactive: in the upper-right corner of every figure, you find buttons for zooming in and out. By clicking on a time series in a legend, you can add or hide them from the figure.

Solar PV

For solar PV, the government coalition has specified a capacity expansion target of 215 GW by 2030 in the planned revision of the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG). According to AGEE-Stat, the installed capacity in Germany in November 2021 was just over 58 GW. To achieve the target, an average of approx. 1.4 GW per month must be added by the end of 2030 (blue dotted line in the diagram, including intermediate targets specified in EEG revision). This is the required net capacity deployment, i.e. also taking into account old plants that will be taken off the grid over time. Over the last years, the expansion was significantly lower than that. If PV capacity additions were to follow the trend of the years 2017-2021, only around 92 GW could be reached by the end of 2030 (orange dashed line). In the last twelve months, the pace of expansion was only slightly higher, so a continuation of this trend would also fall significantly short of the target (red dashed line). To reach the 215 GW target in 2030, the expansion must therefore be more than three times faster than the trend of the last twelve months. After 2030, the PV capacity is set to grow further, reaching 400 GW in 2040.

For comparison, scenarios of the Ariadne project can also be shown in the figure. The PV target of the coaltion for the year 2030 is at the upper end of the corridor of all Ariadne scenarios (here without the model TIMES). The Ariadne lead model for the expansion of renewable energy sources, REMIND, is more or less similar to the coalition target in the Technology Mix Scenario for 2030. After 2030, PV capacity increases further in the Ariadne scenarios. Yet, the 400 GW targeted by the government are only reached in some scenarios, and only after 2040.

Wind energy

Onshore

For onshore wind power, the German government coalition is aiming for an installed capacity of 115 GW in 2030 according to the planned revision of the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG). In the month of November 2021, the installed capacity in Germany was just under 56 GW, according to AGEE-Stat. To achieve the target, therefore, an average of a good 0.5 GW per month (again net) must be added by the end of 2030. After 2030, the government aims to further expand capacity to 160 GW in 2040.

For comparison, scenarios of the Ariadne project can also be added to the figure. The coalition's targets for the expansion of onshore wind power are roughly in the middle of the corridor formed by all Ariadne scenarios, which is wider than the respective target corridor for photovoltaics. The Ariadne lead model for renewable energy expansion, REMIND, is permanently slightly above the coalition's target in the Technology Mix Scenario in 2030.

According to the coalition agreement, two percent of the land is to be designated for the use of onshore wind energy, although no target year is mentioned. According to the most recent report of the Bund-Länder Kooperationsausschuss, 0.70 per cent of the land was legally designated for onshore wind energy as of 31 December 2020 (lower corridor without double counting, land designated either exclusively at the level of spatial planning or at the level of urban land-use plans). According to a proposed law for increasing and accelerating the expansion of onshore wind energy, the figure was 0.8 percent in 2021 (although only 0.5 percent was actually available). According to the bill, by the end of 2026, an average of 1.4 percent should be reached across all German Länder, and then two percent by the end of 2032. To achieve the target, the current share must therefore be more than doubled.

Offshore

For offshore wind power, the government coalition is aiming for a capacity of at least 30 GW in 2030 as part of the so-called Easter Package. In the month of November 2021, the installed capacity in German waters was 7.8 GW, according to AGEE-Stat. In order to achieve the expansion target, an average of approx. 0.2 GW per month (net) must be added to meet the 2030 target. After that, installed capacity is expected to continue to grow strongly, to at least 40 GW in 2035 and 70 GW in 2045.

For comparison, scenarios of the Ariadne project can also be added to the figure. The coalition's target for the expansion of offshore wind power in 2030 is above the Ariadne scenario corridor. In the Ariadne lead model for the expansion of renewable energy sources, REMIND, the installed capacity is only about half as high as the coalition's target in the Technology Mix Scenario in 2030. The expansion of offshore wind energy in the Ariadne scenarios only picks up speed after 2025. Until 2045, the installed wind power capacity at sea then increases very differently, in the extreme case up to 80 GW in 2045. The targets of the federal government are consistently in the upper range of the Ariadne scenario corridor.

Shares in the power sector

The coalition aims to increase the share of renewable energy in gross electricity consumption to 80 percent by 2030. Statistical data on this indicator are provided by the federal ministry in charge, the BMWK on an annual basis, e.g., here or here. In 2020, the share was 45.1 percent; in 2021, it was only 41.9 percent, although the data are not yet final (*). This decline is likely to be largely caused by significantly lower electricity consumption in 2020 due to the pandemic and a relatively poor wind year in 2021. To reach the 2030 target, the share must grow by more than four percentage points per year on average from 2021 onwards. From 2035 on, the German government aims for an almost climate neutral power sector, according to the planned revision of the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG). We depict this with a 95 percent share of renewable energy in the graph.

In addition, the shares of renewable energy in net electricity generation can also be shown in the figure (by clicking on the corresponding entry in the legend). These shares are regularly updated by Fraunhofer ISE's energy-charts and are thus available much earlier than the consumption-based indicator mentioned in the coalition agreement. The graph shows the data available at the time of the last update of this website, i.e. the share can still change significantly over the course of the current year due to seasonal effects (*). The shares of renewable energy in net electricity generation and gross electricity consumption differ, among other reasons, because the denominator is lower in the first case due to own consumption of power plants.

For comparison, scenarios of the Ariadne project can also be added to the figure. The coalition's target for the share of renewable energies in 2030 lies within the Ariadne scenario corridor. The Ariadne lead model for renewable energy expansion, REMIND, even exceeds the coalition's target of 80 percent in the Technology Mix Scenario in 2030 with a share of 87 percent. After 2030, the share increases beyond 90 percent in most Ariadne scenarios.

Heat pumps

Heat pumps can be used to harness environmental heat. They play a major role in many future scenarios, especially for space heating. The German government did not mention a target for the expansion of heat pumps in its coalition agreement - the term "heat pump" does not appear a single time in the entire document. However, the Eröffnungsbilanz Klimaschutz of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) mentions a corridor of "4.1 to 6 million heat pumps" in 2030. This figure is likely to refer to the provision of space heating in individual buildings (excluding large-scale heat pumps in heating networks and high-temperature heat pumps). In the following figure, we define the middle point of this interval as the coalition target and also show the historical development of the Geman heat pump stock. This means around 0.4 Million heat pumps per year have to be added until 2030. The data source until 2020 is EurObserv'ER, the stock of 2021 is estimated (*) with sales figures from BWP.

For comparison, scenarios of the Ariadne project can also be added to the figure. The lead model for heat pumps (REMod) identifies a stock of 5.3 million heat pumps in 2030 (in individual buildings) in the Technology mix scenario, which is roughly in line with the government target. By 2045, this heat pump inventory grows to about 15 million. In addition, the heat pump expansion paths of four other studies can be compared, which together with the Ariadne scenarios have been dubbed the "Big 5" scenarios, namely "Climate Neutral Germany 2045" by Agora Energiewende, "Climate Paths 2.0" (scenario Zielpfad) by BDI, "Towards climate neutrality" (Leitstudie Aufbruch Klimaneutralität, scenario KN100) by Dena, and "Long-term scenarios 3" (scenario TN-Strom) by BMWK. Up to 2045, heat pump additions are particularly high in the BMWK long-term scenarios, and lowest in the Dena lead study.

Shares in the heating sector

The coalition aims for a "very high" share of renewables in the heating sector. Yet, a quantitative target is only provided for "climate neutral" heat in the coalition agreement, which should reach 50 percent of the total heat supply by 2030. As other options, such as imported climate-neutral hydrogen or carbon capture and storage appear to be implausible in the German heating sector by 2030, we interpret the quantiative target in fact as a renewable energy target, slightly deviating from the exact wording of the coalition agreement. In 2021, the share of renewable energy in final German energy consumption for heating and cooling (including district heating consumption) was 16.5 percent, according to data provided by AGEE-Stat. Accordingly, this share has to increase by more almost four percentage points per year until 2030, which is much more than what has been achieved in previous years.


Last update: 2022-08-30