In 2004 renewable sources of energy generated 55.9 TWh, or 9.3% of electricity consumption. This was up from 7.9% in 2003. Last year for the first time wind generation exceeded generation from hydroelectric plants.
Germany has now taken the lead in photovoltaics from Japan. Last year Germany installed 300 MW of solar photovoltaics, Japan 280 MW.
Overall Germans invested 6.5 billion Euros renewable energy in 2004: 1.5 billion Euros in photovoltaics, 2.4 billion Euros in wind energy, and nearly one billion Euros in biomass plants.
A recent study by DENA, the German Energy Agency, says that it is possible to integrate 20% of German electricity supplies with wind energy between 2015 and 2020.The study estimated that the cost of integration would average one Euro per household. At present the study is available only in German.
In other news, the German association for nature protection (BUND), an affiliate of Friends of the Earth, has launched a photo contest for the most scenic wind turbine, old and new. The environmental group, long an advocate of renewable energy, launched the photo contest on February 16, the day the Kyoto protocol went in to effect.
-–by Paul Gipe from the 24 February, 2005 issue of BWE’s Wind News