Despite the mostly bleak news on energy globally, the German 2014 energy data gives grounds for optimism. Renewables have delivered 27.3% of electricity in Germany, topping even lignite (brown coal) as a source. The continued rise compensates mostly for the phase out of nuclear energy, but it also starts to replace hard coal simply by price. The reduction in hard coal has also led to an overall reduction in CO2 emissions.
More importantly, whilst the economy grew in 2014 and electricity prices dropped, the amount of electricity consumed went down by 3.8%. This shows that the correlation of electricity consumption, CO2 emissions and economic growth can be decoupled by clean sources and efficient use.
Lastly, the report shows that the grid can be capable of handling the fluctuations of renewable energy production. In 2014, while more wind and solar energy was produced overall, less conventional power plants had to be activated to balance peak times. With more storage capacity becoming available, this can further improve.
There is a lot more to do for the "Energiewende", but some fundamental trends are beginning to emerge on price, emission and reliability of renewable electricity. This should serve as a blue print for other regions to transition their electricity system to become sustainable. After all, it is not a question of "if" you transition, but "how".