Germany needs new gas power plants to secure electricity supply – McKinsey
Clean Energy Wire
Germany will have to build new gas-fired power plants and introduce additional measures to avoid electricity supply shortages during peak demand periods as the country weans itself off nuclear power and fossil fuels, a report by consultancy McKinsey found. Without new gas plants, Germany faces an electricity capacity gap of 30 gigawatts by 2030, which the expansion of renewables alone cannot meet, according to McKinsey’s bi-annual Energiewende Index. “The combination of decreasing secured capacity and increasing peak load due to electrification can lead to supply gaps,” said Thomas Vahlenkamp, Senior Partner at McKinsey. “Even with a nationwide switch to renewables, further levers of action are needed to stabilise the system” he argued. The country should also consider extending the life of its coal plants, building more battery storage, importing more electricity, and intervening more strongly on demand, the consultancy said. The overall picture painted by the report, which tracks the progress of the German energy transition, is ‘disappointing’, the consultancy added. Three indicators worsened since the last analysis was carried out: household electricity prices, overall energy costs for households and the costs of stabilising the power grid.
In its coalition agreement, the government said new gas-fired power units would be necessary and should be built at existing power plant sites in a hydrogen-ready way, so that they could be used also in a climate-neutral energy future. Germany’s energy regulator, the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA), said in a report in January that departing from coal entirely before 2030 does not pose a threat to the stability of the country’s electricity system, if renewables expansion is implemented as intended, new gas power plants are built and the hydrogen production infrastructure is enforced.