19 Nov 2014, 00:00
Kerstine Appunn

In the media: Study on shutting down coal, more flexible lignite and chemicals industry

German Institute for Economic Research

“Shutting down old coal-fired power stations could reduce CO2 emissions by up to 23 million tones and stabilise the power market”

A new study by the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW), commissioned by the Heinrich Böll Foundation und the European Climate Foundation (one of the Clean Energy Wire’s funders), says the shutdown of old and coal-intensive power stations could make a significant contribution to reaching the government’s climate targets, and at the same time help to make cleaner and more flexible gas power stations more profitable. DIW director Claudia Kemfert said that the wholesale price of power could be expected to rise as a result, this would reduce the EEG surcharge that most consumers pay to make up the difference between the market price and the guaranteed feed-in tariff that grid operators pay to renewable power producers, meaning that electricity prices for household consumers would not be expected to rise. Overall, price increases for private electricity customers were unlikely, said Kemfert.

The study found that 23 million tons of CO2 could be saved in the coming year by taking hard coal facilities with a capacity of 3 gigawatts (GW) and lignite facilities with a capacity of 6 GW off the grid. But it says that this alone would not be enough for Germany to reach its climate targets. Other measures, such as reform of the EU emissions trading scheme, further development of renewables and better energy efficiency are also needed.

“If we want to remain leaders of a global trend, we must not abandon our climate targets,” said Ralf Fücks of the Heinrich Böll Foundation, which is closely affiliated with Germany's Green Party.

See the study in German here.


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

“Germany needs coal”

In an opinion piece for the FAZ, Andreas Mihm writes that coal has made Germany rich and continues to be the country’s most important source of electricity, accounting for 45 percent of the energy mix. He adds that it is also the country’s biggest domestic contributor to climate change. But Mihm says shutting down coal power plants wouldn’t have the desired effect on the environment because it would free up emissions allowances that could be used elsewhere and it would make Germany dependent on imported power and drive up electricity prices. It could also have a long-term impact in driving investment in energy intensive industry out of Germany.



“Retirement of ten coal power plants could drive up electricity price”

Calculations by two large utilities, obtained by the dpa, show that wholesale power prices in Germany could rise, if ten gigawatts of coal capacity were retired in line with a suggestion leaked from the Ministry for Energy and Economic Affairs in October. The article speculates that this could lead to rising consumer prices too.

See the article in German here.


WiWo Green

 “Utilities want to save power from lignite with super fast plants”

The operators of German lignite power stations, namely RWE and Vattenfall want to make their electricity generation more flexible, introducing new technology that will make lignite plants almost as fast to ramp up and down as stations running on natural gas, reports Wolfgang Kempkens in the Blog WiWo Green. This investment would secure the place of lignite – the power source with the highest emissions –in the energy mix, and help the integration of renewable energy into the system, writes Kempkens, because fluctuating renewable power needs a flexible partner.

See the blog post in German here.


Dow Jones Newswires German

“Trade union boss: Energiewende is going in the wrong direction”

Michael Vassiliadis, head of the trade union for mining, the chemicals industry and energy (IG BCE) said the nuclear phase-out in Germany was difficult to combine with the target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the Dow Jones Newswires writes. The power price has caused insecurity in the chemicals industry, which is “poison for investment”, Vassiliadis said.

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