On April 30, 2016, something amazing happened in Germany. For the first time ever, the country got all of its electricity from renewable sources for an entire day.

It’s a big deal because, well, renewable energy is intermittent. The sun doesn’t always shine and the wind doesn’t always blow. That’s why most countries rely on coal, natural gas, or nuclear power to keep the lights on.

But on that day in April, Germany generated 85 percent of its electricity from renewable sources like solar, wind, water, and biomass. The other 15 percent came from nuclear power. (Germany is in the process of phasing out nuclear power, but it still provides a significant amount of electricity in the meantime.)

How did Germany do it? A combination of things, actually.

First, the country has been investing in renewable energy for decades. It now has the world’s third-largest installed capacity of solar photovoltaics and the largest installed capacity of wind power.

Second, Germany has a lot of hydroelectric power. When the sun wasn’t shining and the wind wasn’t blowing, hydroelectric plants were there to pick up the slack.

Finally, Germany has a flexible power grid that can quickly ramp up and down to accommodate changes in renewable energy output.

So what does this mean for the future of renewable energy?

For one, it shows that a high penetration of renewable energy is possible. Germany got nearly half of its electricity from renewable sources in 2016, and it’s on track to get 65 percent by 2030.

But it also shows that a lot of things have to go right for this to happen. The sun has to shine, the wind has to blow, and the power grid has to be flexible.

It’s a tall order, but it’s possible. And if Germany can do it, so can other countries.

Other related questions:

Q: When did Germany start using renewable energy?

A: Germany started using renewable energy in the early 1990s.

Q: Does Germany use only renewable energy?

A: Germany does not use only renewable energy, but it does have a large share of renewable energy in its energy mix.

Q: How much renewable energy does Germany use?

A: Germany uses a lot of renewable energy, with over 30% of its electricity coming from renewable sources in 2018.

Q: How has renewable energy helped Germany?

A: Renewable energy has helped Germany in a number of ways. It has helped the country to become more energy independent, to create jobs, and to reduce emissions.


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