The plan to replace coal-fired plants by 2030 is “unrealistic,” lobby chief Siegfried Russwurm has warned
Berlin’s plan to phase out coal-fired power plants ahead of schedule is likely to fail, the head of the German industry lobby BDI, Siegfried Russwurm, told reporters on Saturday. He said the federal government lacks a strategy to persuade private companies to construct new gas-fired stations within the next seven years.
“It is extremely annoying that we could find ourselves in the situation of having to continue operating coal-fired power plants for longer because there is no sufficient other reserve capacity,” Russwurm stated.
Germany intends to stop using coal for generating electricity by 2030, eight years earlier than the official target date. In restructuring the electrical grid, the government wants to rely on renewable sources such as wind and solar. However, power from gas-fired plants is planned as a backup when there is not enough from renewables to cover demand. German companies have been waiting for Berlin to outline a strategy for how the construction of these new plants, which will initially be operated with natural gas and later with climate-neutral hydrogen, will be funded.
According to Russwurm, the government needs to provide incentives for private enterprise to build the plants.
“It’s going to take private investment, and it has to be worth it – even if it’s just a few operating hours a year. I am a fan of expanding renewables. But honesty requires us to say that we need back-ups. We are a long way from having sufficient storage capacity,” Russwurm warned, noting that the country needs at least 50 new gas-fired power facilities.
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“If 50 are to be ordered, planned, approved and built at the same time, that is an objective that seems unrealistic to me. And if this expansion does not succeed, the Federal Network Agency will have little choice to maintain security of supply other than to keep coal-fired power plants connected to the network,” he stated.
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