25.02.2013
Font size
1 Vote(s) Rating
Energy transition

IWR says coal will shrink in Germany in 2013

The International Economic Platform for Renewables (IWR) did the math behind new coal plant openings and the commissions in 2012 and finds that the uptick in coal power production last year is a "one-off effect."

Last week, we took a look at an internal briefing from the European Climate Foundation (ECF) on coal power throughout Europe. The main finding was that coal power is expected to go down throughout the EU by the end of this decade.

The ECF also took a look at Germany and found that the slight rise in coal power consumption in 2011 and 2012 would also be short-lived. Now, German renewables platform IWR has published its own analysis of the situation and concludes that the main reason for the rise in German coal power production was power exports, which reached a record level last year.

 - A current list of plans for new coal plants shows that many of them have been discontinued. But even when new ones go online, the old ones they replace may stay online for a few additional months of overlapping, which temporarily increases production capacity.
A current list of plans for new coal plants shows that many of them have been discontinued. But even when new ones go online, the old ones they replace may stay online for a few additional months of overlapping, which temporarily increases production capacity.
ECF

As IWR Director Norbert Allnoch puts it, the uptick in power production from lignite last year is a "one-off effect." Germany is currently in the process of replacing some old, relatively small coal plants with new, more efficient larger ones, and there was some overlapping last year. For instance, two old plants at Weisweiler were shut down last year, but not until the end of December.

Overall, the total amount of lignite power production capacity in Germany fell from 19,100 megawatts in 2012 to around 17,800 megawatts at present. The IWR therefore expects power production from lignite to drop from around 158 terawatt-hours last year to below 150 kilowatt-hours in 2013.

There is reason to be skeptical, however. As the IWR points out, a lot of this power was exported. And as a recent study by the Institute for Applied Ecology points out, power is generally traded in Europe based on the price. It therefore remains to be seen whether Germany's neighbors will continue to import inexpensive electricity from Germany, which could keep demand for German coal power high. (Craig Morris)

Is this article helpful for you?

1 Comment on "IWR says coal will shrink in Germany in 2013 "

  1. jmdesp - 28.02.2013, 00:04 Uhr (Report comment)

    Well only a few days later, they completely reversed their opinion, now reporting Germany will add more coal capacity in 2013 than ever in 20 years : http://www.iwr.de/news.php?id=23123 "So viele neue Kohlekraftwerke wie noch nie" 5.3 GW added with only 1 GW retired.
    Your position that producing dirty energy that you sell cheaply must be fully blamed on the consumer is indefensible.
    But in a way you're lucky, it's wrong (OK, the truth is worse). When I look at the Frauhofer "Electricity production from solar and wind in Germany in 2012" document, all over 2012 it's almost exclusively when either solar or wind was producing strongly that Germany was exporting. Even in the snap cold of week 5 and 6 of February when France needed much electricity, exports gets stronger when Wind&Solar are high, and the week 7/8 exports are higher when the weather wasn't as cold anymore, but wind blows strongly. All the rest of the year, the export peak is at mid-day, or sometimes when wind is very strong, or occasionally after demand has dropped quickly or stayed at a very low point during the week-end. Interestingly during the first half of the year, Germany is quite frequently importing but almost never in last part of year. Lignite reaches in week 45 a level of 21.5 GW higher than February, 3.4TWh produced in week 46 the most productive week in the year. The thing with the 2.7 GW of added lignite, maybe even more was removed as added, but also the new capacity is much more able to follow load quickly and ends up in front of the merit order, so producing more.
    I don't see in the detailed graph from this report any case where Germany rises it's fossil production to export. It's almost systematic that when fossil production is high, there's no export or even imports. Therefore one has to conclude Germany produced more energy from coal not in order to export, but because it needed it (and it was cheaper than gas).

Write a comment

Your personal data:

Security check: (» refresh)

Please fill in all required fields (marked with '*')! Your email will not be published.