Germany’s Renewable Energy Isn’t Reducing Greenhouse Emissions

The Federal Republic of Germany currently has an estimated population of 82.37 million people. In 2018, Germany’s power plants used fossil fuel (46.5%), renewable energy (40.2%) and nuclear energy (13.3%) to generate electricity. Coal was the dominant type of fossil fuel and wind was the dominant type of renewable energy to generate electricity in the country.

Germany’s current energy policies focus on the closure of all the country’s nuclear power plants and the continued growth of renewable energy. The government intends to shut down all of Germany’s nuclear power plants by 2022. The government’s goal is to generate 65% of Germany’s electricity from renewable energy (wind, solar, hydropower, biomass, etc.) by 2030.

Germany has made significant progress in the development of new renewable energy power projects like onshore wind farms, solar parks and offshore wind farms over the past decade. However, Germany’s greenhouse gas emissions have shown negligible decline. Why? Germany is still heavily dependent on coal for 38.2% for the country’s electricity.

Germany’s dependence on coal has decreased by only 4.3% since 2010. By comparison, America’s dependence on coal has decreased by 16.2% since 2010. Greenhouse gas emission in America decreased 6.8% from 2010 to 2018, even though the country experienced significant economic growth. America’s reduction in greenhouse gas emissions since 2010 are primarily due to replacing coal-fueled power plants with renewable energy projects and natural gas power plants. Natural gas power plants produce 30% to 40% less greenhouse gases than coal.

In my opinion, Germany’s decision to close nuclear power plants will make it very difficult for the country to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emission. Germany, like the People’s Republic of China (PRC) have focused the world’s attention on the opening of their new, hydropower projects, offshore wind farms and solar parks. In my opinion, the bottom line is the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, not building new structures.

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