Where does electricity come from?

Electricity generation - where does our electricity come from?


Hydroelectric plants use the movement of water to generate electricity. The water starts a generator that drives a turbine. Electricity from hydropower currently has a share of 3.7% in the German energy mix. The amount of electricity that is produced annually can fluctuate widely. This is mainly due to the drainage of the rivers. There is hardly any potential for expansion: Due to the long tradition of using hydropower in Germany, the existing possibilities have largely been tapped.


Biomass power plants generate electrical energy by burning biomass. There are also biomass cogeneration plants that produce heat in addition to electricity. They have a particularly high degree of efficiency. The fuel used includes plants or plant components, plant and animal waste, scrap and residual wood, wood chips and wood pellets as well as biogas. Biomass is therefore one of the renewable energy sources.

In the long term, biomass power plants are CO₂-neutral, because the combustion only releases as much carbon dioxide as plants and animals have absorbed in the course of their life. However, cultivation and transport must be included in the calculation. In addition, the required biomass takes up a lot of space and is often in competition with agriculture.

Conclusion: sustainable power generation on the advance

The goal of the federal government is to increase the share of renewable energies in the electricity supply to 65 percent by 2035. Electricity production should then be completely regenerative by 2050 at the latest. Both wind and solar energy offer great potential for expansion.

The challenge: Wind and sun do not supply energy equally - sunny days are followed by rainy weather, storms are followed by periods of calm. The power grid would then be subject to enormous fluctuations. In order to cope with this, the network must also be expanded. There are already promising concepts such as “Power-to-X”, “Demand Side Management” and “Smart Grid”.