by William Wilkes and Brian Parkin, Bloomberg

Renewable energy muscled out coal to become Germany’s biggest source of electricity for the first time last year, helped by a surge in solar panel installations and coal-plant closures.

Wind, solar, hydro and biomass produced just over 40 percent of Germany’s electricity in 2018, overtaking coal’s 39 percent share, according to the Fraunhofer Institute. An almost 20 percent increase in solar capacity, the shuttering of older coal plants and favorable weather conditions conspired to help green sources edge ahead.

The balance of electricity generation is watched closely by the government, which has seen its greenhouse emissions reductions goal for the end of the decade slip out of reach despite billions of euros in investment in renewables in recent years.

Green power is poised for an even bigger share in the future as Europe’s biggest economy is phasing out nuclear, as well as coal. A German commission has been set up to produce a phase-out plan for the world’s biggest power plant fuel. It will report findings next month.


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