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New Short Study on the Relevance of Bioenergy and small Hydropower

New EWG study: Parts of the German federal government plan to abolish domestic renewable energies amounting up to 50% of Russian energy supplies

Bioenergy and small hydropower are currently under enormous political pressure and partially even threatened in their existence. Yet they already generate energy amounting up to 51% of Russia’s energy supplies and their potential is far from exhausted. This is shown by the latest EWG study published on 29 June 2022.
Biogas plants and small hydropower are thus not only irreplaceable for a renewable energy system, but also for energy independence from Russia. Talked down as “niche technologies” for a long time, the current government draft of the German federal governments “Easter package”, among others, contains further deteriorations of the framework conditions, which are partly tantamount to abolition.
“The study reveals the absurdity of the current debate on the reduction of bioenergy and hydropower. On the one hand, reliable and system-serving domestic renewable energies are to be throttled. On the other hand, the German government is trying very hard to replace Russian energy with fossil energy from other countries with a fossil diversification strategy, thereby accepting new geopolitical distortions and a further overheating of the earth,” says Hans-Josef Fell, President of the Energy Watch Group.
Relevance of bioenergy and hydropower for a renewable energy system
Already today, bioenergy and small hydropower make a significant contribution to the German energy supply. For a sustainable renewable energy system based predominantly on sun and wind, however, they are indispensable
“Due to their reliability even during dark winter periods, bioenergy and small hydropower avoid the costly provision and use of stored energy, e.g. in the form of green hydrogen, and reduce the need to expand the grid. In the transition to a sustainable energy system, these technologies therefore have a cost-reducing effect. Our study shows that the currently discussed abandonment of small hydropower of up to 1000 kW installed capacity alone would mean a loss of up to 2.8 billion euros annually,” says Dr. Thure Traber, author of the model calculations of the study.
No energy independence from Russia without “small renewables”
The study shows that the reduction of the use of bioenergy and small hydropower planned by the German traffic light coalition would make the necessary independence from Russian energy supplies much more difficult, if not impossible. A further massive increase in energy prices would be the consequence. Instead of the current discussions about banning these technologies – fuelled particularly by nature conservation associations – we finally need suitable political framework conditions for their nature-friendly expansion.
Download the study (in German) here.