German govt sticks to plans for more gas power capacity, less gas use
Clean Energy Wire
The German government will stick to its plan to add gas power capacity in the country, despite the difficult supply situation for the fossil fuel caused by the energy crisis. “I would assume that we will need additional capacities,” said Christian Maaß, head of the department of energy policy, heating and energy efficiency in the economy and climate ministry (BMWK), at the Handelsblatt Gas 2022 conference in Berlin. However, more capacity will not mean more use of gas overall. As renewables expansion progresses, the hours, days or weeks where gas power is needed will become fewer, he said. In their coalition agreement, the Social Democrats (SPD), the Green Party and the Free Democrats (FDP) pledged to build several smaller gas-fired power units in certain regions to generate electricity during peak demand times and when there is little wind or sun, supplementing renewables as coal power plants are being phased out over the coming years. Gas plants would function as a bridge to a climate-neutral energy supply and could be fuelled with renewables-based synthetic gases, Maaß said. He added the current power market design does not provide the necessary incentives for industry to build new plants, and the ministry is working on a reform.
The role of fossil gas as a bridge fuel has been called into question yet again due to the energy crisis’s price hikes and a possible supply shortage in Europe this winter. Some politicians and experts have said the bridge “has collapsed”, while others emphasise that natural gas will be needed for some time.