Debacle: As Germany Adds 70 Gigawatts Of Green Electricity, Its Fossil Fuel Capacity Reaches New Record High!

The Fraunhofer Institute has an excellent page for monitoring Germany’s installed electrical energy production capacity.

Examining the charts, we see a stunning result for Germany: Despite the almost monster 70 gigawatts of renewable energy coming online since 2002, Germany’s fossil fuel capacity has risen and reached their highest level ever in 2014!

The following chart shows Germany’s installed renewable energy capacity (wind, solar, hydro and biomass) since 2012:

Germany installed renewable energy

Figure 1: blue = hydro; green = biomass: gray = wind, cream = solar. Source:

From the above chart we that in 2002 Germany had just under 20 gigawatts of installed green capacity. Then came the renewable energy boom and that figure ballooned to almost 90 gigawatts – an amount that is enough to power the whole country on an average day.

You’d think with so much green energy capacity coming online since 2002 (close to 70 gigawatts), lots of fossil fuel capacity would get scaled back, i.e. replaced. But amazingly fossil fuel capacity has not dropped at all. To the contrary, it has reached a record high!

The next chart shows Germany’s installed fossil fuel capacity (gas, lignite, black coal), which we would have expected to drop massively due to all the green energy coming online:

Germany installed fossil energy capacity

Figure 2: Germany’s installed fossil fuel capacity for electricity generation. Source:

Clearly that has not been the case. Here we see that 2010 had seen a record high with 76.70 gigawatts of installed capacity. But that mark was surpassed just last year, which saw 77.50 gigawatts of installed FOSSIL FUEL capacity – a record. The paradox is that as more green energy capacity came online, so did the unwanted, CO2-emitting fossil fuels!

Of course some of that had to do with Germany’s 2011 knee-jerk reaction of shutting down a number of its nuclear power plants in the wake of Fukushima accident, which meant fossil fuels had to jump in (because green energies are too volatile to fill in). From Figure 2 one also sees that coal capacity has been rising since 2011.

So what does this all mean? Green energies have not replaced any fossil fuel capacity in Germany. It means that consumers have gotten zero-climate protection for the 200 billion or so euros committed so far to green energies. All that money – for nothing!

Finally, the following chart shows all sources of Germany’s installed capacity:

Germany total installed capacity

Figure 3: Germany’s total installed capacity has skyrocketed to 177.14 gigawatts. But the demand for electricity averages only about 80 gigawatts and that has not risen at all over the past 13 years. Source:

Clearly we see skyrocketing overall capacity when the overall demand for electricity remains steady. Today Germany has a total installed capacity of a whopping 177 gigawatts. The country’s average demand, however, is around just 80 gigawatts. This is an economics folly, and one that is on track to get even far more insane unless political leaders sober up quickly.

As Germany keeps bringing more and more green energy capacity on line, the more and more fossil capacity will need to be added for days when the wind and sun don’t show up.


20 responses to “Debacle: As Germany Adds 70 Gigawatts Of Green Electricity, Its Fossil Fuel Capacity Reaches New Record High!”

  1. sod

    Thanks for this article, impressive statistics!

    What is happening, can be explained easily, when we look at power production:

    Unfortunetly, i cannot save my actions, so you have to switch to annual and limit the graph to the fossil fuels and export by yourself.

    Brown coal has been grwoing, while hard coal and gas have lost shares. At the same time, exports have increased.


    Green organisations in Germany have been fighting the planned new coal plants for quite some time now and have managed to stop a lot of them.

    This is an important map, if you want to discuss fossil fuel power in Germany:


    And in latest developments (today!), there is a massive move against Sigmar Gabriel’s (vice chancellor and economics and energy minister) plans to put a levy on the oldest and most dirty coal plants. This would hit brown coal the most, pushing some of them out of service.

    The industry and local (federal state level) politicians are fighting back and are having a success. The CDU is not really interested in the environment and some parts of the SPD still has a close connection to coal in some federal states.

    1. DirkH

      “And in latest developments (today!), there is a massive move against Sigmar Gabriel’s (vice chancellor and economics and energy minister) plans to put a levy on the oldest and most dirty coal plants. This would hit brown coal the most, pushing some of them out of service.”

      What? You mean there are resisting pockets of rational thinkers in apparatchikdom? Well, those will have to be eradicated for the creation of the New Man to succeed, so what are ye waiting for, join yer brethren in the good fight against reason and logic – destroy the evil lignite industry and bring eternal darkness over Germany! SPD SPD!

    2. Bernd Felsche

      This would hit brown coal the most, pushing some of them out of service.

      Wrong! The Bundesnetzagentur will not allow the shutdown of any real, despatchable capacity. They insist that operators keep making losses by operating inefficiently; without compensation. And because the operators lack the testicles, they’ve not taken the Bundesnetzagentur to court because the government is constitutionally required to compensate for loss of property.

      Instead, the big corporations are splitting off the subsidy-fuelled unreliables into one division and the unprofitable reliables into another. Perhaps to facilitate insolvencies that would result in reliable generating facilities simply being abandoned because there will be no buyers.

      A planned economy is always bad. A planned energy economy is simply disasterous.

  2. Germany’s Fossil Fuel Capacity & Coal Imports Hit Record High | The Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF)

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  3. sod

    Finally, towns are closing their last coal plants.

    Yes, in China. The biggest investor in renewable energy sources. And last year, China reduced its CO2 output by 2%.

    There are huge problems with coal, even beyond CO2. And even China has started to understand that and has closed coal plants close to its main cities. And this is only a starting point.

    1. Stephen Richards

      Clean coal stations have been working well in the UK for decades. Coal does not have to be “dirty”. It’s a convenient word for the green lunatics.

      Pierre you and many others have been saying for a long time that the more windmills you erect the more base power you must build. Here is the proof.

      1. mwhite

        Don’t forget we are closing all our coal down.

        Longannet power station, Britain’s second larges and capable of supplying two thirds of Scotlands electricity is due to be closed.

        But not to worry, by 2020 Scotlands government believes it will get all of its electricity from renewables.

    2. DirkH

      “And last year, China reduced its CO2 output by 2%.”

      Que es mas macho: Chinese government statistics or American system media like Newsweek?
      sod, what are you doing here? You know you can’t convince any of us to obliterate our fortunes by going full T. Boone Pickens.

      How do you make a million with wind turbines? You start with a billion.

    3. DirkH

      “There are huge problems with coal, even beyond CO2.”

      Name one of them, genius. BTW CO2 is not a problem. It is essential for life. Or do you see life as a problem?

      1. sod

        ““There are huge problems with coal, even beyond CO2.”

        Name one of them, genius”

        In the US, it is coal ash. Duke energy just got a massive fine for its handling of the substance: (Duke wants to appeal, but has accepted a even higher federal punishment)

        In Germany, coal plant “Moorburg” in Hamburg is being sued by the EU because it is damaging the river and killing fish.

        In China, smog is a problem, that is why Bejing is cloaing all (ALL!) coal plants.

        This development is not driven by green lunatics but by ordinary people and mostly it is just coal being forced to follow normal rules (before, coal plants were mostly allowed to emmit more, ignore waste, use water for free and the damage by mininbg coal was also ignored)

        That also was the reason, why coal might seem to be “inexpensive”. in the real wotrld, it is not.

        Like with nuclear power, it turns out that coal is leaving behing an endless legacy: We have to keep punpinhg water from old coal mines, or they will collaps, doing damage to the cities now build above them.

        1. DirkH

          Duke Energy is a state-sanctioned monopolist. They can take the fine and just increase the prices, and everybody at Duke and the Democrat party is happy. They are also arch-warmists at Duke.

          The EU sues somebody? Well why wouldn’t they; we gotta loot some money from Germany to send it to the PIIGS after all, no matter how.

          Beijing is closing down all coal power plants? Well so it was cheaper to replace them with gas than adding flue gas scrubbing (I pointed you to this marvelous invention years ago).

          I could just as well call cars killing machines because they have no airbags and start huffing and puffing about it. You’re such a shill, sod. Who pays you?

        2. Bernd Felsche

          In China, smog is a problem, that is why Bejing is cloaing [sic] all (ALL!) coal plants.

          To be replaced by gas-fired ones as well a grid supplies from elsewhere in the country. And by new coal-fired plants in e.g. Mongolia which are burning coal from expanding domestic coal mines and imports.

          Beijing itself is small potatoes as far as electrical energy is concerned.

          China’s coal-based generating capacity is already well over 850GW and growing. That’s already 10 times as much as Germany’s. The shutting down of old plants is normal in the industry that’s exploiting greater efficiencies and cleaner burning technologies. Around 80% of electricity generated in China is from coal.

          There’s also the “minor” factor of a downturn in the economy due to falling global demand.

          China’s target for nuclear power generation is 200GW capacity by 2030; and 1500GW by the end of the century through the development of breeder reactors. i.e. The capacity of new-build coal-fired power stations will be replaced by nuclear power by the coal-fired power stations’ respective end of life.

          As for the USA’s problem with mountains of coal ash; it’s an image problem. Coal ash is a useful and sustainable resource. The US-EPA confirms this; while in part standing in the way of free market exploitation of the resource, causing environmental and human safety problems.

  4. Pethefin

    This analysis would gain strength if it addressed the nameplate fallacy of large-scale green energy, which unavoidably relies on traditional energy resources as their backup. Feel-good-politics for the gullible, and a gold-mine for the gamers of the system.

    1. sod

      I agree. The graphs would look very different, when we would factor in capacity factors for wind and solar.

  5. DirkH

    I got a new slogan for sod:
    Climate Change! Accepted as terrible danger by 97% of the world’s leading terror organizations, like the UNFCCC and Al Qaeda!

    1. David Johnson


  6. AlecM

    The oceans have stopped warming except for the Southern Ocean, so little outgassing. Plant growth is accelerating so is removing CO2 from the atmosphere. It’ll stabilise at ~450 ppmV. There is net zero CO2-AGW.

    **The Enhanced GHE is the biggest Scientific Fraud in History.

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  8. Morten Jødal

    Hello Pierre

    I am one of your followers on Facebook, and enjoy this reading. Thank you very much for interesting texts. In your text on Debacle: As Germany ….., I have a question:
    What about the production of energy from this increasing fossil fuel capacity? Is it decreasing, as a result of the increasing “green energy production”? If it is, the Greens could argue that it works, and gives lower outlets of CO2. Is that the case?

  9. K.Periasamy

    This is the story which we in the power industry were very much aware when Germany decided to close the nuclear power hoping that they can manage with Wind & Solar !

    The beauty is that this is the case with a country like Germany which has Peak Load Demand at near mid-day, when sun shines at its best !

    Then we can imagine the fate of countries like India, which have their Peak Demand in the night when the sun is in “sleeping” mode !

    It is simple common sense and it takes years for these poeple to realize !

    Indians want to ape Germany. Atleast now, they wil lrealize their folly.

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