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German solar and wind could supply three times today’s power demand by 2040 – study

Solar and wind power in Germany could supply three times the country’s current demand by 2040, but falling electricity prices could significantly hinder expansion, said consultancy Aurora Energy Research in a press release. In a study, Aurora showed that the actual build-out potential for renewables – given geo-technical, economic and socio-political constraints but assuming technological advancement – is enough to produce almost 1,800 terawatt hours (TWh) annually by 2040. However, as renewables facilities produce electricity comparatively cheaply, the power price is set to fall with rising solar and wind capacities. At a certain moment, “the electricity price will be too low for further expansion to be economically viable for operators and investors”, said project leader Casimir Lorenz. This could happen long before Germany reaches its 2030 target to expand renewables to 65 percent of power consumption unless the government implements the right framework measures, such as increasing the CO₂ price. The consultancy said reaching targets will likely require a shift to solar and offshore wind, as onshore faces increasing opposition and regulatory hurdles.

In order to help reach climate targets, the German government has set the goal of increasing the renewables share in power consumption to 65 percent by 2030 with the climate package decisions from September 2019. While the solar industry has seen a positive trend in recent months, wind power expansion slumped in 2019 due to regulatory hurdles and increased opposition.

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