© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Coal is blended in a coal combine corridor on the Prosper II mine within the western city of Bottrop January 30, 2007. REUTERS/Kirsten Neumann
By Vera Eckert and Tom Sims
FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Coal has made a comeback in Germany this yr, as Europe’s largest financial system turns to the soiled gas to energy it by means of an power disaster.
Greater than a 3rd (36.3%) of the electrical energy fed into the German energy grids between July and September got here from coal-fired energy vegetation, in contrast with 31.9 p.c within the third quarter of 2021, based on German statistics workplace Destatis.
Lengthy demonised by Germany’s Inexperienced social gathering, which leads a number of the authorities’s prime ministries, coal was set to be phased out by 2030, however Russia’s warfare with Ukraine and gasoline export curbs, introduced coal again into favour.
Coal-to-power technology output rose by 13.3% year-on-year to 42.9 terawatt hours (TWh) within the three months of July-September, throughout which total German energy output – at 118.1 TWh – lagged the identical interval in 2021 by 0.5 p.c, Destatis stated.
Gasoline technology rose barely, regardless of excessive costs, as wind and hydro energy output had been low, and home nuclear output additionally fell in July-Sept.
The latter was as a result of solely three reactors stay on-line in comparison with six a yr earlier as Germany exits from the expertise following the Fukushima disaster.
(Graphic: Gemany’s shift again to coal, https://www.reuters.com/graphics/SLUG-HERE/dwvkddeekpm/chart.png)
Beneath the specter of gasoline shortages, some coal vegetation that had closed or been left in reserve have re-entered the market in Europe this yr, however in most international locations, the quantity was restricted.
“Solely in Germany, with 10 gigawatts (GW), is the reversal at a major scale. This has elevated coal energy technology within the European Union, which is predicted to stay at these greater ranges for a while,” the IEA’s annual coal market report stated.
World coal consumption reached a document excessive of over 8 billion tonnes this yr, with Germany one of many highest with a 19% rise, or 26 million tonnes, versus 2021, the IEA stated.
As a substitute of shutting down 1.6 GW of lignite-fired energy vegetation by the top of 2022 as deliberate, the German authorities has issued a waiver to permit manufacturing till March 2024.
Germany has created a “gasoline alternative reserve” with a complete capability of 11.6 GW. This contains 1.9 GW of lignite and 4.3 GW of arduous coal energy vegetation that are allowed to return to the market till 2024, the IEA report stated.
The decommissioning of two.6 GW of arduous coal energy capability and 1.2 GW of lignite capability has been postponed.
Since Destatis began compiling statistics in 1990, 2022 will possible be the primary that Germany will likely be a internet exporter of electrical energy to France, not the opposite method spherical, it stated.
(Graphic: German electrical energy imports, https://www.reuters.com/graphics/UKRAINE-CRISIS/byprllqbnpe/chart.png)
Nonetheless, the IEA added that resulting from an anticipated ramp-up of electrical energy manufacturing from renewables and a restoration in French nuclear energy availability, Germany ought to return to being a internet importer of electrical energy within the subsequent few years.
(Graphic: Renewable electrical energy sources in Germany, https://tmsnrt.rs/3PpB1V8)