On 5thMarch 2021, Tagesschau.de reported on the energy supply in Germany and stated wind as the most important source of electricity. They claim that in 2020 for the first time more electric power had been generated with wind energy than with coal and that renewable energy achieves a record high. The claim turns out to be mostly true.
The article of the German public news service Tagesschau.de refers to the results of the latest data collection of the Federal Statistical Office in Germany relating to the electricity generation in 2020 in Germany. All of the described information and facts in the article are extracted from the press release number 101, published on 5th March 2021 of the Federal Statistical Office which can be regarded as the primary source of the claim.
Tagesschau.de claims that wind energy became in 2020 the most important source of electricity in Germany. This is the conclusion of the results of the Federal Statistical Office. Referring to the vague term “most important”, the article claims that in 2020, wind generators produced the highest share of all electricity in Germany for the first time and thus more electricity than coal power plants. The Federal Network Agency, which refers to the SMARD electricity market data for Germany, confirms this claim. However, the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE confirms it in parts, but frames the same information with the word “again”. Therefore, wind energy did not overtake coal energy for the first time in 2020 but again. The platform EconStor, a service of the Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, released an article which conveys that in 2019 wind power had for the first time the highest proportion in the energy mix in Germany.
According to Tagesschau.de and the Federal Statistical Office the proportion of wind power in the energy mix reached 25.6% while coal reached only 24.8%. In comparison with data of other sources, the numbers vary a little because of the difference between the production and feed of electricity. The claimed numbers are based on the production and feed of electricity according to the data of the primary source. The Federal Network Agency only refers to the production and reports that wind energy reached a proportion of 27.4%. On the other hand, the Federal Ministry of Economics states a share of wind power in the German consumption of electricity of 23.7%. By comparison and recalculation all data confirm the statement in the article.
Furthermore, Tagesschau.de claims, that wind generators produced 5.4% more electricity in 2020 than in 2019, which is true according to the Federal Statistical Office.
Moreover, Tagesschau.de claims that renewable energies altogether (not only wind energy) have reached a record share. Assuming that the term “record share” refers to a new high level of renewable energies, this can be confirmed with the information from the Federal Statistical Office. In the further course of the report from Tagesschau.de, it is said that the share of renewable energies in the amount of electricity generated and fed into the grid in Germany reached a new high in 2020 – rising from 42.3% in 2019 to 47.0% in 2020. This change of 4.7 percentage points is also confirmed by the data of the German Federal Statistical Office. But it is more difficult to compare these with other sources, as the other sources only indicate the net electricity generated by renewable energies, so according to the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE, the share increased from 46% in 2019 to 50.5% in 2020.
Total quantity of produced electricity
Referring to the total amount of produced electricity, Tagesschau.de claims that 502.6 billion kilowatt-hours of the electricity produced in Germany had been fed into its grid in 2020, which is 5.9% less than in 2019. The primary source confirms this statement, though these published data are provisional results. Furthermore Tagesschau.de quotes the Federal Statistical Office by writing that the exported electricity amount dropped by eight percent. With 67 billion kilowatt-hours the export still outmatches the imported amount of electricity, which has increased by 19,7% to 40.1 billion kilowatt-hours. The primary source confirms this information, though it made a transmission error in the text of the press release. The published tables within the framework of the press release show that the number of 40.1 billion kilowatt-hours refers to the year 2019 and not 2020. Therefore, there has been a gain of 19.7% from 40.1 billion kilowatt-hours in 2019 to 48 billion kilowatt-hours in 2020.
In short, Tagesschau.de claims that wind energy is the most important source of energy in Germany. This statement refers to the year 2020. The claim is confirmed by the primary source, a press release referring to the latest statistical data gathering about the electricity production in Germany in 2020. In general, also other sources confirm the claims of the article of Tagesschau.de. However, the concrete numbers of the data of other sources deviate from the claimed ones in the article and the primary source due to differing counting methods. Furthermore, other sources report wind energy as the major source of electricity already in 2019 while the primary source claims wind energy overtook coal energy for the first time in 2020. Therefore, the main claim of Tagesschau.de is only true to that effect that wind energy is still the most important energy source referring to the highest proportion in the energy mix. In conclusion, the claim is mostly true.
RESEARCH | ARTICLE © Lara Amann, Nadine Ennen, Janine Freese, Kira-Eileen Hillus, Andreas Troche, Jade University of Applied Sciences, Wilhelmshaven, Germany
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