Electricity mix 2020: Our electricity is this clean

Beate Jeske
Going Green
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O b E-car or plug-in hybrid - the future of the automobile currently looks very electric. The major vehicle manufacturers have followed the trend and turned their model ranges upside down. Seldom has such a major upheaval been carried out as in recent years. The only problem with all the green spirit of optimism is and remains - besides the infrastructure - the electricity mix. After all, what is the point of driving locally emission-free if the imaginary exhaust of an electric car remains the chimney of a lignite power plant? In other words, electric cars are only better for the environment if their fuel, the electricity, is produced sustainably or renewable.

Last year, the share of renewable energy in net electricity generation in Germany was 46.2 percent (from 514.86 TWh). Briefly on the history of this share: In 2002 it was 8.8 percent, in 2011 with 23.4 for the first time over 20 percent, in 2015 exactly a third and in 2018 40.6 percent.

Windy times ensure an upswing in electricity

In 2019, nuclear energy accounted for 13.8 percent of total net electricity generation. Of the currently six nuclear power plants still in operation, three will be taken off the grid at the end of 2021 and the other half a year later. The proportion of lignite and hard coal has been shrinking for the first time since 2014, not only in percentage, but also in total. In the last year alone, the share of net electricity generation from hard coal and lignite fell by 32.8 percent and 22.3 percent, respectively. Electricity generation from gas (+21.4%) and hydropower (21.1%) recorded the greatest growth, followed by wind with 15.7 percent. However, the latter increase is not due to an equally increased number of wind turbines or even wind parks. Rather, the year 2019, sailors will confirm, is a very windy year.

Fraunhofer ISE
Gas, wind and water power are on the advance .

As nice as skipping the approaching 50 percent hurdle may seem at first glance, the future of energy generation is uncertain . Because if there is hardly any wind or the sun does not shine for a longer period of time, it could look pretty bleak. Just clinging to the growing number of gas-fired power plants would be fatal. According to Stefan Kapferer, former head of the Federal Association of Energy and Water Management (BDEW), of the more than 60 projects to build new gas power plants, just ten were under construction in mid-April 2019. And Rolf Martin Schmitz, CEO of RWE AG, warned at the Handelsblatt Energie Summit at the beginning of 2019: 'Switching off coal-fired power stations completely sounds popular, but it is not at all serious. Because it endangers security of supply, puts a significant strain on companies, costs jobs and people pulling the ground under your feet in the regions. '

Anyone who thinks at this point that it is quite obvious why a company affected by the energy transition such as RWE warns is wrong. Because the Essen-based supplier will in future become the world's second largest offshore wind farm operator and the third largest green electricity producer in Europe. The company is now investing 1.5 billion euros annually in renewable energies. The share price of RWE AG has been on the upswing at the latest since the announcement of the deal with Eon on March 11, 2018 and is currently at its highest level in over five years. In other words: the warning can be taken seriously.

Patrick Lang
The ID.3 starts on the market this year.

The cleaner the electricity, the 'greener' the car

In 2018, the CO2 value per kilowatt hour produced in the German electricity mix was 474 grams per kWh. Compared to 1990 a minus of 38 percent. And a decline of around ten percent is also expected for 2019. What does that mean for a Stromer? A VW ID.3 has to drive around 14.8 Kilowatt hours (13.8 kWh /100 km internal consumption + 1 kWh charge loss). In 2018 it emitted 70.15 grams of CO2 per kilometer - of course not on site.

If you want to compare your conservative combustion engine with such an e-car, you have to note that with Stromer, the entire upstream production chain is included. A vehicle with a combustion vehicle would therefore have to pack around 20 percent of its CO2 emissions (CO2 emissions for extraction, transport, refinery) onto its own emissions. The comparison vehicle should therefore only emit 58.46 grams of CO2 per kilometer in order to reach the level of the ID.3. In 2019 (expected 400 grams of CO /kWh) it should be even 49 grams of CO2 per kilometer. In fossil fuels: 2.09 liters of petrol or 1.85 liters of diesel per 100 kilometers.


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