Germany is one of the world's leaders in the proportion of energy it derives from renewable sources. But the story is not that simple.

The good news -- and the Stat of the Day -- is that in 2011, so far, 20.8 percent of Germany's electricity production came from renewables, including solar, which accounted for 3.5 percent, and wind, which was 7.5 percent of the mix. This info comes from Spiegel Online.

Compare that to the U.S., which scored its renewable portion at 11.9 percent in the early part of this year, according to the EIA (although the EIA has been wrong before).

Those German figures are up a bit from the previous year, which is shown on the chart below, also from Spiegel Online.

Here's a translation -- as best as I can provide -- of the 2010 mix (mein Deutsche ist sehr schlecht):

  • Steinkohle: Anthracite, 19 percent
  • Braunkohle: Lignite, 24 percent
  • Erdgas: Natural gas, 21.8 percent
  • Kernenergie: Nuclear, 22 percent
  • Renewables: 17 percent

Note that Germany burns a lot of lignite, the lowest-quality coal. And if Germany is going to turn off their nuclear plants --  they might end up burning a lot more of that low-quality fuel, despite their green credentials.

Also note that Germany reached that 20 percent milestone without having access to a significant amount of energy storage, although Germany does have one of the two of the world's active compressed air energy storage (CAES) facilities -- the 290-megawatt Huntorf plant.