Conventional energy sources such as coal, natural gas and nuclear power were the most important energy sources for electricity generation in Germany last year; the share of renewable energies, on the other hand, decreased. In 2021, 57.6 percent of the electricity generated in Germany and fed into the power grid came from conventional power, the Federal Statistical Office announced on Thursday. In the previous year it was 52.9 percent. Above all, the share of coal grew.
Electricity from conventional energy increased by 11.9 percent compared to 2020. Power from renewable energy, meanwhile, fell by 7.6 percent to a share of 42.4 percent; In 2020 it was 47.1 percent. The main reason was a spring with less wind, according to the statisticians.
In total, nearly 518 billion kilowatt hours of electricity entered the grid last year. That was 2.6 percent more electricity than the year before, but 3.1 percent less than the year before the coronavirus hit 2019.
Coal was the most important energy source for electricity generation in Germany in 2021, the statistical office explained. With an increase of 24.9 percent, electricity from coal-fired power plants also saw the largest increase compared to the previous year. The share of coal-fired electricity in the total amount of electricity fed into the grid was 30.2 percent in 2021; the previous year it was 24.8 percent.
According to the Federal Office, about 60 percent of the electricity generated from coal in Germany comes from lignite and about 40 percent from coal. Therefore, the demand for lignite is “largely covered by domestic production”, the demand for coal by imports.
In the case of renewable energies, the supply of electricity from wind energy decreased “significantly” by 13.3 percent, as explained by the Federal Office. This is due “particularly to the spring of 2021, which was less windy than the previous year.” As a result, electricity from wind power only accounted for 21.5 percent of the amount of electricity injected into the grid. In 2020, wind power was the most important energy source in electricity generation for the first time, with a share of 25.2 percent. By contrast, electricity feed from photovoltaics fell only slightly by 0.5 percent to a share of 8.7 percent in 2021.
The share of natural gas in electricity generation, which is currently receiving particular attention due to the economic fallout from the Russian attack on Ukraine, was 12.6% in 2021, after 13.7% the previous year. According to the Federal Office, electricity injection decreased in the third quarter, in particular due to significantly higher prices for natural gas.
The injection of electricity from nuclear power increased compared to 2020 to a proportion of 12.6% of the total amount of electricity injected into the grid. In 2020 it was 12.1 percent. “However, at the end of 2021, three of the six nuclear power plants that were still in operation were closed as part of the phase-out of nuclear power,” the statistical office emphasized. Therefore, the ratio will decrease significantly.
The amount of imported electricity in Germany increased by 7.7% in 2021 compared to the previous year and, at 51.7 billion kilowatt hours, represented exactly one tenth of the national production. As in previous years, France was the most important electricity supplier.
The amount of electricity exported from Germany increased by 5.0 percent compared to the previous year. With 70.3 billion kilowatt hours or 13.6 percent of electricity fed into the home grid, Germany continued to export more electricity than it imported.