"No additional coal plants in Germany"
In a PDF published last month, consultants from Pöyry tell the UK's Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) not to expect any more coal plant projects after the current ones are completed.
Over the past two years, Renewables International has repeatedly argued that there will be no shift to coal power as a result of the nuclear phaseout. So it's nice to see that other independent analysts see things the same way.
In their presentation to the UK government (PDF), researchers at Pöyry say there are three main reasons for the "apparent surge" in new coal plant construction, which is "due to highly unusual historic reasons": a favorable market environment in 2007/2008; excess carbon allowances; and an "inability or reluctance of developers to cancel projects" when circumstances changed.
I had already written about the first two and am pleased to hear someone argue the third point. But going forward, the researchers say "there will be no major new unabated coal or date night projects in Germany for the foreseeable future beyond those currently under construction."
The analysts say that running "thermal plants has become increasingly difficult" in Germany because renewable power is "reducing output of all thermal plants and depressing wholesale electricity prices." In other words, Germany's GW of coal power will increasingly translate into fewer GWh; the plants may be built, but they will be running less and less. The experts speak of "net increase of 8.9 GW" by 2015, but it remains to be seen whether Germany will increase its consumption of coal power in the process (production is a different story; Germany will increasingly become a net power exporter of this coal power – but that is my assessment, not Pöyry's).
Starting in 2009, the experts find that "developers' appetites" for new coal projects has died down significantly so that there will be no further investment in coal plants "in this decade." By 2035 (see chart above), installed coal power generating capacity will have fallen from around 42 GW to around 15 GW – and again, that installed capacity is likely to be running at lower utilization levels. (Craig Morris)