Germany shows what’s possible with record breaking renewable energy

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Germany proved the transition from fossil fuels to renewables is possible this week, with a record-breaking amount of its electricity demand – almost 75% – provided by clean energy sources on Sunday. According to reports from Renewables International wind and solar filled such a huge proportion of the country’s power demand that electricity prices actually dipped into the negative for much of the afternoon.This is part of a wider trend. In the first quarter of 2014, 27% of Germany’s electricity demand was powered by renewables, causing the net income of RWE, the country’s second biggest utility, to fall by more than a third. As the switch to clean energy continues to batter the company’s business model, RWE CEO Peter Terium admitted earlier this year that the company had made a mistake not investing in renewables sooner choosing instead to continue on a path of outdated dirty energy production. Despite Germany’s positive momentum, however, it still has some way to go to meet its target of 80% renewable energy by 2050. The country saw a 2% rise in greenhouse gas emissions in 2013, largely due to an increase in the burning of coal as the country moves away from nuclear.

Across the border, France is also looking to help boost its flagging economy with renewables. The government awarded a €4 billion contract for two offshore windfarms this week, which could generate 3.5% of total French power consumption by 2020, and has plans to create 100,000 jobs in sustainable energy over the next three years. Meanwhile, globally the renewable energy workforce continues to grow, hitting 6.5 million worldwide at the end of 2013, according to a new study by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

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MT ‏@jkaraian Last Sunday, renewables met two-thirds of Germany’s electricity demand http://bit.ly/QMyUvo pic.twitter.com/JRbHjvuxoX

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  • RT ‏@carbonbrief Germany’s switch to renewables makes market question RWE’s business model – Financial Times http://on.ft.com/1nR8V25
  • RT @1010 On Sunday, 74% of Germany’s power came from renewables. That’s not a typo. Seventy four percent. http://bit.ly/1jcSwFC
  • MT ‏@WWFScotland ‘Sld have invested in renewables sooner’ says RWE as profits fall & Germany switches to #cleanenergy http://bit.ly/1g7Xlj1