(Steinkohle) In 2016, hard coal accounted for about 17 percent of Germany’s power production. A certain amount of hard coal is still being extracted in two mines in Germany’s western industrial heartland of North Rhine-Westphalia – but the era of hard coal mining will end next year. Germany’s domestic coal mining industry has long been propped up by subsidies, but the government has committed to ending this support in 2018. More than 90 percent of hard coal consumed in Germany is already imported from Russia, Colombia, or the United States.
(Wasserkraft) Hydropower accounts for 4 percent of Germany’s power production. Most of this comes from run-of-the-river hydroelectric plants, which harvest the energy from naturally flowing water. Tidal power, and pumped storage – which uses low-cost electricity to pump water from a lower elevation reservoir to a higher elevation, (e.g. in the mountains), and then releases the stored water through turbines to convert the energy back into electricity – play a smaller role in power production, because there are only a few sites in Germany suitable for such plants.