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German Social Democrats Call For New Coal Power Plants

The German Social Democratic Party (SPD) wants to ensure medium-term supply security with gas-fired power plants and modern coal power plants. Party chairman Gabriel said on Monday that he is also in favor of promoting on-shore wind turbines not just off-shore.

The SPD chairman Gabriel has urged the federal government to provide predictability in the future energy policy after the decision on the nuclear phase out. The “hectic actions” of the Federal Chancellor would rattle the industry and the middle class. A national energy consensus must not only determine the pace of phasing out of nuclear energy, but also clarify what would come after, Gabriel said after a meeting with consumer advocates and representatives of energy intensive industries in the Willy-Brandt house in Berlin on Monday.

A future energy mix must be guarantee “commercially reasonable electricity prices and supply security”. The SPD would not only ensure that “we phase out nuclear energy but also get that we are able to phase it out”, said Gabriel.

SPD General Secretary Andrea Nahles said that it was not possible to phase out nuclear energy by 2020 and at the same time not use fossil fuels. The Social Democrats therefore advocate gas power plants and modern coal power plants in the medium term. “We need the eight to ten coal power plants, which are currently under construction”, said Gabriel. But more coal power stations would probably not be built because then the carbon dioxide emissions trading would become too expensive for the plant operators. Environmental politicians in the SPD fear in the meantime that the party leadership wants to return even more strongly to coal as an energy source because of the accelerated energy transformation. Gabriel also spoke out in favor of incentives for the construction of gas power plants. “We need to promote investment”, he said.

In the field of renewable energies Gabriel called for onshore wind power plants. It was wrong to promote only off-shore installations as the Federal Government does. If one wanted to have a larger proportion of wind power in the energy mix, then one must also do without discouraging investment regulations. As an example he cited the requirement to put on safety lights on the windmills for reasons of aviation security. This regulation leads to lengthy discussions with local residents. The SPD will soon resume its energy policy discussions. A meeting with representatives of public utilities and the four major utilities is planned.

Full story (in German)