(Kapazitätsmarkt) A capacity mechanism is a system in which operators of fossil-fuelled power plants are paid for electricity produced, as well as for maintaining generation capacity during times of scarcity to ensure grid stability. In 2015, the federal government rejected proposals to introduce a full-fledged capacity market, saying it would be too costly. In summer 2016, Germany passed a law that will eventually transfer power plants with a total capacity of five percent of the average maximum power demand (5% is about 4.4 GW, according to current projections) into a “capacity reserve” for a period of five years. The power plants in this reserve would only be used “when all market-based options on the power market are exhausted” and must be decommissioned when exiting the reserve.
(Kapazitätsreserve) See → capacity market
See → emissions trading.
(CO2-Abscheidung und Recycling) See → CCU
(Kohlenstoffsequestrierung) Carbon capture and storage/sequestration (CCS) is a technology that captures carbon emissions and stores them underground so they are not released into the atmosphere, where they contribute to climate change. In Germany, there is widespread public opposition to CCS, which is considered costly and potentially harmful to the environment. This criticism, coupled with regulatory uncertainty, has led to test projects being discontinued. However, CCS might be given another chance under the ‘Climate Action Plan 2050’.
(CO2-Abscheidung und Verwendung) carbon capture and utilisation is a technology that captures carbon emissions from power plants or industrial sources. In a next step, carbon can be extracted and used as raw material for new products, such as plastics, pharmaceuticals, and building material.
(Kraft-Wärme-Kopplung (KWK)) Combined heat and power (CHP) – or cogeneration – plants use the heat created as a by-product of electricity generation to heat homes (see → district heating) or for industrial processes. Because more of the energy produced in power generation is actually used, CHP plants can boost efficiency in the energy sector. Most CHP plants still run on fossil fuels, although most biomass plants are now CHP facilities. Especially older CHP facilities at the moment are not profitable due to low wholesale power prices and high operating costs. Experts believe that the CHP process could be made more flexible to enable it to cope with the changes in the energy system, and say that the future of CHP remains unclear.
(Bürgerenergie) Citizen-owned power generation has played an important role in the development of renewables in Germany. This includes home rooftop photovoltaic arrays and larger installations owned by citizens banding together in energy cooperatives. A broader definition of citizens’ energy also includes shares held in public and private companies generating renewable power, including ‘Municipal utilities’.
(Klimaschutzplan 2050) The Climate Action Plan 2050, approved in autumn 2016, is the government’s strategy to make the German economy close to CO2-neutral by 2050, in line with its national targets and commitments under the → Paris Agreement. For the first time, it sets out sector-by-sector emission reduction targets. Drawn up by the environment ministry, the plan was subject to numerous revisions in consultation with other ministries and the chancellery. Environmental organisations say the final draft lacks the appropriate measures needed to meet its ambitious targets.
(Aktionsprogramm Klimaschutz 2020) In December 2014, the German government approved a programme aimed at getting the country back on track to meet its 2020 climate targets. Energy efficient operation is seen as the primary method for reducing emissions (detailed in the → National Action Plan for Energy Efficiency, NAPE), followed by the electricity sector. However, the government has since said that Germany is unlikely to meet its 2020 goals.
(Klimalücke) Germany is set to miss its 2020 greenhouse gas emissions reduction target by 40 percent compared to 1990 levels. In December 2014, the government approved a Climate Action Programme designed to make up the shortfall – or ’climate gap‘ – between projections and the target. Despite these measures, it is now widely assumed that the country will miss its 2020 goal.
(Kohleausstieg) In order to meet its ambitious long-term emissions reduction goal to become close to carbon-neutral by mid-century, Germany must eventually stop burning coal. Lignite, most of which is domestically mined, and hard coal, most of which is imported, still covered over 40 percent of the country’s power demand in 2015. But a fierce debate remains over a path for the country to switch off its coal-fired plants. Independent of the phase-out debate, hard coal will no longer be mined in Germany after 2018, because it cannot compete with imports. There is still no agreement on when the country will cease to mine → lignite.
See → coal exit
(CO₂ Zertifikat) See → emissions trading.