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Renewable Energies for Climate Protection

In 2008 Germany was the world leader in photovoltaic and wind energy. The Renewable Energy Sector boasted EUR 30 billion in revenues with over EUR 9 billion in exports and over EUR 13 billion in domestic investments while employing a staggering 280,000 people.

Germany has a bright future in the renewables sector and is determined to remain the Number 1 country for renewables in the world by 2020, when predictions put domestic investments at EUR 200 billion and exports at over EUR 80 billion with an overall market share of 20 percent. The ambitious goal is to also cut 270 million metric tons of CO2 emissions by 2020 and to ensure that, by 2050, half of Germany’s primary energy consumption comes from renewable resources. (Source: gtai)

The expansion of renewable energies in Germany has been a real success story up to now. Their share in electricity generation has increased greatly in all areas since 2000. The share of regenerative energies in final energy consumption rose from 3.8 percent in 2000 to 7.8 percent in 2006, meaning it has actually doubled in this time.

With a total installed capacity of approximately 21,000 megawatts by mid-2007, no other country has more wind turbines than Germany. The prerequisite for generating power from  wind energy  in Germany was created by the Renewable Energy Sources Act (Erneuerbare-Energien-Gesetz) which guarantees the payment for electricity from renewable energy fed to the grid.

Along with the planning security the act provides, it also offers the industry incentives for technological advances whereby considerable reductions in the cost of generating electricity from wind can be realised. At some locations, wind energy is already competitive today. In Germany, the possibility exists to directly market the wind power it generates; the majority of the wind power generated will continue to be reimbursed by the EEG.

Photovoltaic has also benefitted from this Act and from low-interest rate funding. The market is catered for by large and above all highly innovative small and medium-sized enterprises. One of the largest systems in Germany was erected near Leipzig in 2008 and has a capacity of 40 MWp. Owing to Germany's many years of experience in the PV sector, thin-film modules produced solely in Germany were used in this system. The global radiation that has long reached an average of around 1,055 kWh/m² in the Leipzig area enables the power plant to feed approximately 40,000,000 kWh of PV electricity into the national grid every year. In Saxony, this electricity volume is sufficient to supply around 16,200 households while helping to reduce CO2 emissions into the atmosphere by roughly 37,000 tonnes.

The use of geothermal energy has been an integral part of energy strategy for many years now in Germany. In addition to making efficient use of available high temperature sources, the German geothermal industry also focuses on developing technologies which can work efficiently at lower temperature ranges of approx. 120 - 200 °C.

German companies are market leaders in the biogas technology sector. Their many years of experience in plant management, process biology, and associated laboratory services ensure successful plant operation. Specialists cover the entire value creation chain and support all project phases - from planning and financing to the operation and maintenance of biogas plants. Sophisticated products are also available in the fields of combined heat and power units, storage and tank systems as well as biogas analysis technology.