21 Nov 2023, 12:33
Edgar Meza

Earlier German coal phase-out requires new gas plant projects “within a few weeks” – energy industry

Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung

Germany’s plans for an accelerated phase-out of coal by 2030 will not be possible unless the government rapidly conducts auctions for new gas-fired power plants, according to the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW). “We are waiting very impatiently for the government’s tenders, which still need the green light from the European Commission,” BDEW chief Kerstin Andreae said in an interview with the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung, adding that “every day counts.” The association is urging economy and climate action minister Robert Habeck to speed up the construction of new hydrogen-ready gas power plants, which take around six years to build from application to completion. If the planning of new power plants does not begin “within a few weeks,” coal-fired power plants would have to resume operation and Germany would be unable to meet its target for an earlier phase-out, Andreae said. The federal government must lose no time when it comes to a power plant strategy and thus the construction of modern gas-fired power plants, she added.

Underscoring the recent constitutional court ruling that blocked the government from using 60 billion euros planned for climate and transformation measures, Andreae said the decision would “affect the entire climate protection policy.” She called on chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government to clarify as quickly as possible how the budget gap can be plugged. More speed is needed at all levels to reduce electricity prices and prevent industry from exiting Germany, she added. The official end year for coal-fired power production in the country is 2038, even though operators and state representatives in major western coal region North Rhine-Westphalia agreed with the federal government to pull the phase-out forward t0 the end of this decade. However, eastern coal regions so far have declined to speed up their exit plans by eight years.

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