In 2017, 5,900 companies and around 37,000 employ- ees were active in the renewable energy sector in the Central German bioenergy region. The gross value added in 2018 was about EUR 4.5 billion. In the field of bioenergy, around 2,000 companies with around 7,600 employees were active in 2018, which corre- sponds to a slight increase from 5,100 employees in the industry in 2010. The largest increase took place in the area of operation and maintenance.
Solar energy can also be used to generate electricity. More than 1.5 million photovoltaic plants convert the sun’s radiation energy directly into electricity – these plants represented a total of around 45,300 MW of
BGR (2019): “Germany – Raw Materials Situation 2018”41
BGR (2017): “Domestic mineral resources – indispen- sable for Germany!”42
Classification of the renewable energies in Germany’s energy supply and presentation of the natural resources requirements for EE plants
In connection with the energy transition, the technology metals gallium, indium, selenium and silicon are of relevance due to their use in PV modules. The same applies to cobalt and lithium due to their use in lithiumion batteries and to neodymium and dysprosium due to their use in wind turbines and electric motors. The future annual demand for technology metals for the production of PV modules will remain more or less constant. The annual demand for cobalt and lithium is rising significantly due to increasing battery sales. The same applies to the demand for the rare earth metals neo- dymium and dysprosium. This is in particular due to the increase in electromobility and to a lesser share due to the construction of wind turbines. Table 1 pro- vides an overview of the future demand for technolo- gy metals for key technologies of the energy turnaround.
Tabelle I: Demand for technology metals for key technologies of the energy transition according to scenario B 2030
|Technology metals||Technologies considered||Cumulated demand, 2018 – 2030, in tonnes||Calculated average, in tonnes per year|
|Gallium (Ga)||Thin-film PV||12||0,92|
|Indium (In)||Thin-film PV, thick-film PV||165||13|
|Cobalt (Co)||Lithium-ion batteries (e-mobility and stationary storage||74.000||5.700|
|Lithium (Li)||Lithium-ion batteries (e-mobility and stationary storage)||50.000||3.800|
|Neodymium (Nd)||Permanent magnet generators for wind turbines, electric engines for HEV, PHEV, BEV, Pedelecs||3750||290|
|Dysprosium (Dy)||Permanent magnet generators for wind turbines, electric engines for HEV, PHEV, BEV, Pedelecs||660||50|
|Selenium (Se)||Thin-film PV||64||5|
|Silicon (Si)||Thick-film PV (Thin-film PV)||132.000||10.150|
Socio-economic significance of renewable energies
In 2017, 16,700 companies and almost 100,000 em- ployees were active in the field of renewable energies in the South-East German solar region. The gross value added in 2018 was about EUR 11 billion. In the field of solar energy, around 5,500 companies with around 20,100 employees were active in 2018, which corresponds to less than half of the 2010 active work- force in the sector. The reasons for the decline in em- ployment and value added include the relocation of plant production abroad and a decline in the installa- tion of new plants compared with the high installation figures during the years 2010 to 2012.