08 Oct 2021, 12:00
Julian Wettengel

Germany needs 20-30 GW of new gas plants to ensure supply security – RWE CEO


Germany will have to build about 20-30 gigawatt (GW) of new gas-fired power plant capacity to ensure supply security as the country exits nuclear and coal power, RWE CEO Markus Krebber told WirtschaftsWoche. “We still underestimate how many new gas-fired power plants we need in Germany,” he said. “At the moment, our security of supply is based entirely on nuclear energy, lignite and hard coal. We have few gas plants. But nuclear energy and coal must be completely replaced in order to establish security of supply.” He said fossil gas can only be a bridge to a decarbonised electricity supply and Germany needed a strategy for the transition to green hydrogen. “As an energy supplier, we have no desire to have the discussion we are having about coal today about gas again in ten years' time,” said Krebber.

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. Other researchers are adamant that existing reserves and future European interconnections are sufficient without great gas capacity additions needed, and grid operators are confident that the system will remain stable also after the last nuclear plant is shut down in December 2022. To make investments in  new gas  plants 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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