The more Germany tries to wean itself off fossil fuels, the more it seems to rely on them – especially coal.
Germany’s online Blackout News here reports: “Coal again the most important energy source in power generation”.
As Germany continues to move ahead and shut down its nuclear power plants, leaders are realizing that coal as an energy source for electricity is unavoidable and without alternative.
Coal has risen to 33% share
“As a result, the share of coal-fired power plants in electricity generation has risen to a good 33 percent,” reports Blackout News, citing Der Spiegel. “Last year, coal thus became the most important energy source for electricity generation in Germany by a growing margin.”
In the wake of the Fukushima disaster, the then German government panicked and moved to shut down its remaining fleet of nuclear power plants. The last three plants are scheduled to go offline on April 15th, after having their operating time extended earlier this year in order to get the country through the winter. This has made Germany increasingly reliant on coal.
The sabotage of the Nordstream II gas pipeline, a major artery supplying energy to Europe, has also made coal even more crucial in keeping the lights on in Germany and the rest of Europe.
14 coal-fired power plants were put back into operation
What’s surprising is that Germany vowed not long ago to do away with coal power, in a bid to ward off “dangerous global warming”. Yet:
“Last summer, a total of 14 coal-fired power plants and one petroleum-fired power plant were put back into operation or, contrary to original plans, were not shut down in order to counteract the acute gas crisis,” reports Blackout News, citing the German tagesschau. “These measures were necessary to prevent the looming electricity shortage in Germany. In addition, five lignite-fired units from the so-called supply reserve remained on the grid, contrary to the planned shutdown.”
In a nutshell: there’s no way to eliminate coal
Citing the Federal Statistical Office, in 2022, one third (33.3 percent) of the electricity fed into the grid in Germany came from coal-fired power plants, a rise of 8.4 percent. Wind energy, despite having a high level of installed capacity, supplied just 24.1 percent, followed by solar with 10.6 percent. Nuclear power’s share halved in 2022, accounting for only 6.4 percent of the electricity fed into the grid.