Annual Report 2017
Country Reports


Jochen Bard and Fabian Thalemann Fraunhofer IWES


The expansion of renewable energy is one of the central pillars in Germany’s energy transition. In light of an increasing scarcity of resources, the aim is to become less dependent on fossil fuels and to make Germany’s electricity supply more climate-friendly. The growing significance of renewable energy sources in the power sector is largely a result of the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG). Since the adoption of the Renewable Energy Sources Act, the share of gross power consumption of renewable energies grew from about 6% in 2000 to 36.1% in 2017 according to preliminary data. By 2025, 40-45 % of electricity consumed in Germany is to be derived from renewables. Wind and solar energy are the most important forms of renewables, but biomass and hydropower are also valuable building blocks of the German energy system.

With the 2017 revision of the Renewable Energy Sources Act funding rates for renewable electricity are no longer fixed by the government, but are determined via a market-based auction scheme – a fundamental change in funding Germany’s renewable energies. These competitive biddings schemes are already showing a cost-cutting effect. E.g. average funding rates for onshore wind energy installation auctions have dropped by 25% between May 2016 and August 2017 (source: Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy). Excluded from the bidding schemes are hydro power plants (including wave, tidal range and currents and salinity gradient), landfill and sewage gas and geothermal plants. For those, fixed feed in tariffs continue to be applied which e.g. in the case of hydropower and ocean energy systems range from 12.4 € Cent/kWh for systems below 500 kW to 3.47 Cents/kWh for plants above 50 MW.

While the recent production figures indicate, that the energy transition is making good progress in terms of increasing renewables and phasing out nuclear energy, greenhouse gas emissions stagnated at the same level for the third year in a row, mainly due to increased emissions in the transport, building and industrial sectors. Extrapolating the current trend, Germany will cut its emissions by only 30 % compared with 1990 levels instead of 40 % as planned (Source: Dr Patrick Graichen, Director of Agora Energiewende).

The current 6th energy research programme of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy as published in 2014 continues to fund R&D projects with regard to ocean energy technologies. Up to now, around 12 technology projects related to the development of components and concepts for tidal turbines and wave energy components have been funded. A consultation process for the follow up 7th energy research programme started end of 2016. The new programme is expected to be released in summer 2018.