02 Apr 2024, 13:21
Julian Wettengel

Final shutdown of several German coal plants no threat to supply security – econ minister


The final shutdown of seven lignite and eight smaller hard coal power plant units with a combined capacity of 4.4 gigawatts (GW) over the Easter holidays does not threaten Germany's energy supply security, economy minister Robert Habeck told news agency dpa. "Several coal-fired power plants that were still on the grid as a precautionary measure over the past two years are now superfluous and can be taken off the grid for good," Habeck said. The plants' decommissioning had been postponed to help secure the country's supply during the energy crisis, when natural gas pipeline deliveries from Russia were halted. Prices for electricity and gas have fallen significantly in recent months and the expansion of renewable energies means that "the majority of electricity now comes from clean, climate-friendly sources," he said.

In a bid to avert gas shortages due to the energy crisis fuelled by Russia’s war on Ukraine, Germany temporarily reopened some recently decommissioned and other soon-to-be decommissioned coal power plants in 2022 and 2023. This likely resulted in more CO2 being released compared to a scenario in which the plants would have been shut down as planned. However, Germany's total emissions declined in 2022 and fell markedly in 2023, together with coal power use that year. The economy ministry is now examining how much additional greenhouse gases have been emitted as a result of the continued operation of coal-fired power plants, and is set to propose measures to offset these additional emissions by June.

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