Hamburg decides to reduce coal usage in heating plant for climate action
Hamburg’s Wedel coal-fired district heating plant is lowering its coal combustion, which will lead to lower CO2 emissions in the years until its planned shutdown in 2025, Jens Meyer-Wellmann writes in the Hamburger Abdendblatt. The plant, which provides heating for much of the city, will make a “voluntary commitment” to reduce its use of coal by 20 percent from now on and by at least 30 percent per year from 2023, the report quotes the city-owned operator Wärme Hamburg as saying. This would correspond to around 150,000 fewer tonnes of coal per year, the report notes. The reduction is possible because of a shift to gas-fired generators in Hamburg thermal power plants, it adds. According to the company, this is a response "to the requirements of the 2013 referendum, the current climate protection legislation and also meets customer demands for the most climate-friendly heat possible." Hamburg's environment minister (called "Senator" in the city-state) Jens Kerstan from the Greens told the paper: “With the coal reduction, we are setting an example. We are showing that we are serious about climate protection and the heating transition.” The reduction of coal in Wedel would be a “first important step” in phasing out coal in the heating sector by 2030, he added.
Heating is a major factor in Germany's energy consumption. Almost a third of the country's total final energy consumption in 2018 went into space and water heating in buildings, and more than 90 percent of Germany's heating systems are currently fuelled with oil and natural gas, according to the Federation of the German Heating Industry (BDH).