For later reference, this is a useful graph on electricity generation in Germany from 1990 to 2011 provided by a tweet from Matthias Willenbacher. Willenbacher didn’t note a source, but this is from the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Energiebilanzen, a leading German organization for statistic data on energy. Here is a link to their PDF-file.
I already knew that renewable accounted for about 20 percent in 2011, and solar for about 3% of production. But it was very interesting to look at some long term trends.
Both lignite and coal have gone down since 1990. Lignite from 170.9 TWh to 153, and coal from 140.8 to 114.5.
Renewable at 122.0 in 2011 beats coal now, the first year that has ever happened. I already knew that renewable beats nuclear (with 108.0 left in 2011), also the first time ever, but certainly not the last time.
It took wind 5 years to grow from 4.5 in 1998 to 18.7 in 2003. Solar has done about the same in only three years, growing from 4.4 in 2008 to 19.0 in 2011. It has just about tripled in only two years, from 6.6 in 2009.
Non-hydro renewable energy has added about 100 TWh in the decade from 2001 to 2011, while bringing prices down massively. With much lower prices now, that growth will only accelerate. Building new coal or lignite plants is a risky business under these conditions, since they won’t be able to get high capacity factors with rising renewable shares.
Update: Paul Gipe has posted some nice graphs of these figures.