In the midst of the energy crisis, Germany returns to an old environmental enemy of Europe: coal

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It was the most direct option. What was presented last winter as an exceptional measure has now been announced as a new strategy to deal with the lack of Russian gas. Germany will bet on coal power plants to reduce its gas consumption, it has announced the German Ministry of Economy.


A “bitter, but indispensable” twist. This is how Robert Habeck, a member of the environmentalist party included in the coalition government, has defended the change in position. Faced with the reduction in gas deliveries from Gazprom, which has triggered the price of gas in recent days, Germany has taken a fairly direct decision that collides with the pretensions of meeting the objectives of the fight against climate change.

Among the measures, it is established that reserve coal plants can be used, which were currently only available as a last resort. A change of criteria that will expand coal production in Germany, increasing CO2 generation in the process.

Winter is coming. All eyes are on winter. At the moment the gas reserves are “guaranteed”, as described by the minister. These gas reserves are now 56% higher than the average of recent years, but they want to have a high level of gas in case it is a harsh winter and Russia cuts off the supply completely. According to official data, 15% of Germany’s energy in 2021 was produced with gas.

Germany is about to turn off its last nuclear power plants, and instead is burning gas and coal: these are the doubts that this strategy leaves us

Goodbye to the 2030 target. Before the start of the new government, 2038 was the date to completely eliminate coal from Germany. But the coalition with environmentalists advanced the date to eliminate this source of energy to 2030. Today’s announcement is, in practice, goodbye to this objective.

The objective of countries such as Germany, Switzerland, Austria or Belgium is to be neutral in emissions by 2045. In this battle to reduce emissions, nuclear energy plays a key role. However, Germany maintains its goal of shutting down nuclear power plants.

Ten times more coal than nuclear. At the end of 2021, Germany had six nuclear power plants active with a combined production capacity of 8.5GW. In comparison, the theoretical energy capacity of coal production reaches 45 GW. For this 2022, the goal of the German country was to limit coal production to 15GW.

If we go to ElectricityMap data, we see that Germany’s current nuclear capacity is 4.06GW, compared to 39.9GW from coal. Today, Germany is using more than 40% of the installed capacity, exceeding the limit that they themselves wanted to impose by law.

Image | Chris Le Boutillier

It was the most direct option. What was presented last winter as an exceptional measure has now been announced as…

It was the most direct option. What was presented last winter as an exceptional measure has now been announced as…

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