GlobalData: Renewable power is the key for Germany to overcome potential energy crisis following Russia-Ukraine conflict

Source: press release, 28 September 2022

Power market, Germany, total annual generation and share of renewables, 2010-2035 (source: GlobalData Power Intelligence Center)
Power market, Germany, total annual generation and share of renewables, 2010-2035 (source: GlobalData Power Intelligence Center)

To help divert a potential energy crisis, renewables are expected to play a major role in meeting Germany’s power demand as a result of the country’s gas and coal supply being stunted due to EU sanctions placed on Russia, observes GlobalData.

However, the analytics company found that as a result of Germany’s plans to phase out nuclear power by the end of 2022, few conventional plants will be present to pay off the fluctuations in the renewable sector. Although, based on the current energy crisis, the country is in talks to reconsider the phase out of two nuclear stations.

GlobalData’s latest report, Germany Power Market Size, Trends, Regulations, Competitive Landscape and Forecast, 2022-2035, found that although the country has plans to rapidly develop renewable power, the country lacks the infrastructure to accommodate the distribution. Germany is also having to create transmission infrastructure for transporting electricity produced in the north of the country, where most of its renewable power generation assets are situated, to the south of the country where most of the consumption is.

Attaurrahman Ojindaram Saibasan, Senior Power Analyst at GlobalData, comments, “Currently, in the absence of this infrastructure, Germany has to export most of its renewable-generated electricity to neighbours such as Poland and the Czech Republic. In turn, these countries have had to invest in technology that would protect their grids from blackouts resulting from power surges originating from Germany on particularly windy days. Germany has identified 3,800 km of electricity lines that would need to be laid between the north and the south of the country, but this proposal has been opposed by local municipalities.”

Since 2003, Germany has been one of the largest exporters of electricity in Europe. However, in order to meet climate protection obligations and decarbonise its energy systems, the government is working towards shutting down all its 84 coal-fired power plants by 2038. The government has already initiated this process by shutting down around 8 coal power plants in 2020. This is expected to increase the country’s dependence on imported electricity from neighbouring countries if the power generation gap is not filled by renewable energy sources.

Saibasan adds, “Old thermal plants are being transformed into energy storage facilities so that excess power generated from renewables can be supplied at peak demand. Overall, the country will focus more on energy storage, combined heat and power generation, and the modernisation of grids to maintain energy security.”