01 Feb 2023, 13:35
Benjamin Wehrmann

Earlier 2030 coal exit poses no threat to security of German electricity supply – ministry

Clean Energy Wire

An earlier coal exit in Germany before 2030 does not pose a threat to the stability of the country’s electricity system, if renewables expansion is implemented as intended, the economy and climate ministry (BMWK) has said. Even if electricity consumption increases as expected due to the mass roll-out of e-cars, heat pumps and electrolysers for hydrogen production, the power system can cope with the decommissioning of all the country’s remaining coal-fired plants, the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) found in its latest supply security monitoring report, which is used by the government as a basis of its energy policy planning. “Supply security, which is at a high level also compared to the rest of Europe, can be maintained,” the BNetzA report said. However, in order to keep supply security at its currently high level, the report assumes several conditions are met, the ministry said: for example, the construction of renewable power installations and hydrogen production infrastructure has to be enforced to reach targets, and new hydrogen-ready gas power plants have to be built. The ministry added it would lay out the required capacities in detail in its forthcoming “Power Plant Strategy 2026.”  Economy and climate minister Robert Habeck said the uninterrupted supply of electricity remained a key government aim. “We will be able to guarantee supply security during the transformation of our electricity system to 100 percent renewable power,” the Green Party politician argued.

The end of coal has already been pulled forward to 2030 in the western mining region of North Rhine-Westphalia, whereas coal regions in eastern Germany have so far been reluctant to deviate from the 2038 end date agreed in the country’s Coal Exit Law. Opponents of an earlier coal phase-out have warned that the end of nuclear power in Germany this year would make an earlier exit of the fossil fuel irresponsible, especially since the Russian war on Ukraine has further complicated energy security in Europe.

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