As reported by Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany's global broadcaster, the country has set ambitious energy targets for the upcoming decade, aiming to have renewable sources provide 65% of energy by 2030.
Wind turbines turn in a wind farm near Mihla, Germany. Experts said coal-fired power plants supplied about 38 percent of electricity in 2018.
Research from the Fraunhofer research organisation suggests output from solar, wind, biomass and hydroelectric generation units rose 4.3% a year ago to produce 219TWh, accounting for more than 40% of electricity production.
Even with the 2018 landmark, the change is "not happening quickly enough", Fraunhofer Institute professor Bruno Burger told Germany's Der Spiegel magazine.
Reuters notes that critics are claiming favorable weather patterns, rather than sustainable growth, helped the country produce more renewable energy this year than last year.
Solar power increased by 16 per cent to 45.7 TWh due to a prolonged hot summer, while installed capacity expanded by 3.2 gigawatts (GW) to 45.5 GW previous year, according to the Fraunhofer data.
In 2018, renewables became Germany's main source of energy, taking over from coal for the first time. Wind power was a close second, accounting for 20.1 percent. From now on, coal for the approximately 120 coal-fired power plants that still power the German grid will be imported from the US, Russia, or Colombia, according to Bloomberg.
Hydropower only accounted for 3.2 percent of power production at 17 TWh, as extreme summer heat dried out rivers and was accompanied by low rainfall.
Gas-to-power plants accounted for 7.4 per cent of the total; nuclear energy for 13.3 per cent; with the remainder coming from oil and waste burning.