(Braunkohle) Lignite, or brown coal, has been formed under relatively little pressure, has a high water content, and is extracted by opencast mining in Germany – mainly in Lusatia in the east, and North Rhine-Westphalia in the west. Lignite accounted for 23 percent of Germany’s power production in 2016, and is the most CO2-intensive fuel in the energy mix. Because lignite is humid and heavy, it is too expensive to transport over long distances, and so normally it is burned in power stations near the mines. These power stations are high on the list of Europe’s largest CO2 emitters. The economies of the regions where it is mined – Lusatia in particular – are heavily dependent on lignite.
(Laststeuerung) See → demand-side management
(Ringflüsse) Electricity tends to follow the path of least resistance. When power is produced in one place and purchased by a consumer elsewhere, it tends to flow along the most direct power lines between the two points. But if the route is congested, it will take a detour through other parts of the grid, looping around the blockage. Grid congestion in Germany means that at times of high renewable generation, these loop flows result in destabilising surges of power through the grids of neighbouring countries.