Boosting renewable energies and using existing sources more efficiently are the two main pillar of the German energy transition, better known as Energiewende. Both pillars contribute to the goal of lowering the dependence on energy imports.
Germany is highly dependent on imported energy. Oil and natural gas are mostly imported and supply can be disrupted by conflicts or political instability. Many countries that seem more independent than Germany use nuclear power and are therefore, indirectly, more dependent on imports of raw materials like uranium.
Germany’s restructuring of its energy supply so that over 80% is provided by renewables by 2050 should guarantee a secure supply, while at the same time phasing out nuclear power and gradually “decarbonising the German electricity market.”
Renewables already account for about a third and by 2020 this could have risen to 47% of Germany’s demand, according to industry forecasts.
Despite an increase in renewable use, Germany’s energy supply has become more stable. The System Average Interruption Duration Index (SAIDI) shows that the average number of interruptions to customer supply within a calendar year has gone down.
How is this possible?
Most renewables are embedded in a decentralised energy system – small and medium-size power plants located close to the consumers. Such a network infrastructure is more flexible and less vulnerable to power cuts.
In a worst case scenario, Germany has set up a reserve of conventional power plants in order to guarantee stable electricity supply.
Supply security by cross-border coverage
Germany and the European Union plan an Energy Union that would interconnect and diversify EU member states’ energy sources and shall support a “cross-border grid reinforcement”.
Sources: Eurostat, German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), Federal Foreign Office of Germany (AA), German Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control (BAFA).