Germany’s energy generation from renewable sources has increased significantly during the last decade and, according to the BMU (2012a), projected shares are expected to meet and perhaps exceed targets stipulated by the EU’s 2007 Renewable Energy Roadmap40(p.9). In this respect, the German government expects to increase the share of electricity produced through renewable sources to 39“BMU” is an acronym for the German Bundesministerium für Umwelt, Naturschutz und Reaktorsicherheit40The EU’s Renewable Energy Roadmap stipulatesa target of 20% of total energy consumption in the EU to be generated from renewable sources by 2020
51 30-35%41in order to meet the EU’s objective of 20% overall RE generation by 2020 (Diekmann et al. 2008, p.1; BMU, 2012a, p.9). Such ambition is due in part to Germany’s local features, its projected energy needs and national objectives defined by its energetic, economic and climate policies. Its plausibility, however, seems to be based on a well stipulated long-term strategic framework delineated by the recently established Energy Concept, and the Renewable Energy Sources Act(EEG).42On account of this effective policy framework, Germany is claimed to have successfully increased the share of electricity from renewable sources, contributed to the expansion of a green economic sector and, thereby, attracted investments, increased exports, and generated thousands of jobs. If this is the case, to what extent, then, has this policy framework been pivotal in precipitating the aforementioned effects? More importantly, how has it done so? 3.1 Germany’s energy landscape Germany’s energy system has become redefined throughout two decades of national programs and policies designed to incentivize and support the usage of RETs. As a result, Germany has now consolidated itself as an important global example in sustainability and the generation of RE. According to the BMU (2013), in 2012, the final energy consumption originated from renewable sources amounted to approximately 12.6%, while its share from the gross electricity consumption was estimated at 22.9% (p.4). As depicted by figure 10, most of the RE’s share is dominated by biomass43followed by wind-generated energy. In regards to electricity generation, however, technologies pertaining to onshore wind energy and solar PV have been steadily gaining ground and are rapidly becoming important sources of future energy supply (BMU, 2013, p.5). 41As of 2012, gross electricity consumption generated through RES was estimated at 22.9% (BMU, 2013, p.4) 42“EEG” is an acronym for the German Erneuerbare Energien Gesetz43“Biomass” refers here to solid and liquid biomass, biogas, sewage and landfill gas, biogenic share of waste and biofuels (BMU, 2013, p.2)
52 As discussed in the previous chapter, the potential presented by each of the different RETs depends on their current level of technical development and their cost effectiveness vis-à-vis traditional energy sources. In this sense, Germany’s energetic landscape has been thus far defined by technologies and practices that have already achieved a certain level of maturity.