Increasing the production and the use of renewable energies is an essential part of Germany’s energy transition away from nuclear energy.
Since the introduction of the Renewable Energies Act (EEG) in 2000, the importance of renewable energies especially in the field of electricity production has dramatically increased. Today, 30% of German electricity is generated by wind, sun, biomass or other renewable resources. The proportion of power generation accounted for by renewable energy has risen from 6% in 2000 to 32.6% in 2015 (BMWi 2016). By 2035, between 55 to 60% of Germany’s electricity should come from renewable energy – rising up to 80% until 2050. Moreover, a law requiring the use of renewable energies for the production of heat in new buildings came into effect in 2009.
Solar energy is used in photovoltaic systems, solar thermal power plants and solar collectors to produce electricity or heat. In 2015, Germany’s photovoltaic systems produced around 38.4 TWh of electricity, covering 6.4% of Germany’s gross electricity consumption. Solar thermal power plants generated around 7.8 TWh of heat – amounting to approximately 1% of the overall heat demand in German households. Until 2030, this share is likely to rise to 8%.
Since wind energy already contributes to more than 14% of Germany’s total electricity production, it will also play a decisive role in offering renewable energies at reasonable prices. With an already installed capacity of more than 44,000 MW, Germany ranks third after China and the USA. Apart from the construction of new wind turbines and “repowering”, i.e. the replacement of older, smaller plants by modern and more efficient ones, the offshore wind energy use is also gradually expanding.
Biomass is used for the production of electricity, heat and biofuel. In 2015, roughly 56 TWH of electricity was generated from biomass (Fraunhofer Institute). Slightly more than two third of the total end energy from renewable sources was produced from biomass. The country’s most important bioenergy source is wood. However, canola is grown for the biodiesel production and bioethanol is made from starch- and sugar-containing plants. In new biomass plants for the electricity production, especially biological waste should be used in the future. This can also help to avoid a conflict between a use of biomass for either the food or the energy production.
Geothermal energy is also on the rise. In 2015, it produced 1 % of the gross energy consumption for heat. Around EUR 1bn was invested in geothermal plants. Electricity production of geothermal energy is expected to increase up to 3.7 TWh until 2020.
Germany as an industry location for renewable energies is very innovative. In 2014, over 1,600 patent applications were registered. For example, Germany is amongst the most active in hybrid drives research. This innovative spirit has definitely been fuelled by statutory feed-in compensation for electricity from renewable sources.
New Zealand is among the world leaders of renewable energies. Its geographical remoteness is the main reason for the country’s energy development. Besides already developed renewable energy resources are the not yet exploited natural sources: an incredible amount of hydro power can be generated by making use of New Zealand’s big rivers, frequent and heavy rainfalls, and the melting of snow; the collision of the Australian and Pacific Plate along with New Zealand’s volcanic activities produce geothermal energy; an average wind speed of 10m/s in some regions and more than 2,000 hours of sunshine are additional renewable energy resources.
In 2015 nearly 80% of NZ’s electricity, which makes up 25% of New Zealand’s total energy demand, was generated by using renewable energies - the main renewable energy source is hydro power (approx. 57%). Geothermal energy provides about 16% of the power needed. The government’s aim is to generate 90% of its electric power demand through renewable energy sources by 2025.
There are no binding guidelines for New Zealand’s energy sector; the government pursues the principle of a “free market approach to energy” and sets generally applicable guidelines and goals. One of the reasons for only implementing economically viable energy projects is the lack of funding and subsidies.
Business opportunities are plenty. E.g. construction work for the world’s biggest geothermal plant started in October 2013; the use of photovoltaic and wind energy is a further focus of expansion.
Please contact us for more information about the New Zealand or German market.