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27 Jul 2021, 13:36
Julian Wettengel

German energy industry needs better incentives to build necessary gas power units – BDEW president

Gas

Handelsblatt

Germany needs gas-fired power plants to secure power supply amid a rising share of intermittent renewables and the coal exit, but the energy industry needs better incentives to build the necessary new units, industry association BDEW’s president Marie-Luise Wolff told Handelsblatt. “If the readiness of power plant capacity is not rewarded, the necessary power plants will not be built,” she told the newspaper. She added that there is still a long way to go until all back-up power plants for a renewables-dominated system could be fed with biomass and green hydrogen, so fossil gas is needed beyond 2030. Wolff said any new federal government will have to push ahead with the expansion of renewables much more consistently than has been the case so far. She criticised that most parties’ election manifestos contained few details on how climate targets should be reached. “The moment of truth is still to come. All democratic parties are committed to climate action goals, but not all of them also say that climate action does not come free of charge.” She called for a climate ministry to be installed under the next government.

In past years, gas-fired power plants often remained unused because they were not competitive compared to renewables or coal. As Germany ramps up renewables and exits coal and nuclear power, it may need more gas power capacity, which would mostly be put to use at times of high electricity needs and little wind or sunshine – and not necessarily lead to more overall gas consumption. Think tank Agora Energiewende has proposed to build several small units in key areas of the country. To make investments in such new capacity profitable, owners of fossil fuel power plants have lobbied for the introduction of a capacity market, but were in the past disappointed by the government’s decision for the “Energy-Only-Market”.

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