If there is a sector of the economy that escapes the crisis is that of renewable energies. Its share in the energy consumption increased by 8.6% in Germany in 2009, according to latest statistics from the German Ministry of the Environment. For the first time it has provided over 10% (10.1%) of the energy consumed in Germany (9.3% in 2008).
The share of renewable energy has increased notably in the production of heat (13.5%) and electricity (+5.9%). It now reaches 16.1% of electricity consumption. This figure is remarkable because, first, wind and water facilities failed to use its full potential from the weather and weaker than usual winds. On the other hand, the share of fossil energy sources has declined. The amount of electricity produced using renewable energies is now equivalent to over two-thirds of the electricity of the nuclear origin.
With the support of the German legislation on renewable energies (EEG), the industry is investing heavily. In 2009 the construction of wind turbines (952 new facilities on 21,164 total) accelerated, including the first offshore wind farm in Germany, the test fleet Alpha Ventus commissioned twelve wind turbines in the North Sea, which can provide electricity to 50,000 households. Investments have also doubled in the field of biomass. The biogas, in particular, located on the second-largest source of renewable power, behind the wind. It provides 5.2% of electricity consumption. As for solar photovoltaic energy it continued to rise rapidly and has provided for the first time in 2009 more than 1% of electricity consumed.
The investments pay off, both way for the environment and the economy. The use of renewable energy is actively involved in reducing the German greenhouse gas emissions: it saved the rejection in 2009 of 109 million tonnes of CO2. Germany intends to reduce its emissions by 40% by 2020 compared to 1990.
From the economic perspective, the renewable energy sector generates jobs and profits. It generated a turnover of 33.4 billion euros in 2009, up almost 9% compared to 2008. Above all, it continues to hire massively. The industry employed 300,500 renewable energy in 2009 against 278,000 people in 2008. It created 140000 jobs in five years. More than a third of its employees working in the field of biomass (36%), one in three in the wind (29%) and just over one in four in solar energy (27%). Geothermal and hydropower respectively employ some 3% of the sector.