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Germany: Coal Power Expanding, Green Energy Stagnating

Der Westen

German coal-fired power plants have been operating in full swing in the first half of 2013. Lignite and hard coal power plants and gas plants produced 12.4 percent more power than last year. In contrast, wind turbines and solar panels delivered less electricity. German greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise.

 Standorte Kraftwerke in Deutschland im Jahr 2011, Quelle: Bundesumweltamt 2011, standortgenaue Darstellung der Energieerzeugung in Deutschland im Jahr 2011 entsprechend der Legendendarstellung

Location of Germany’s Booming Coal Power Plants,  © Federal Environment Ministry 2011 

Lignite and hard coal power plants and gas plants delivered 12.4 percent more power in the first half years, according to figures by the Federal Association of German Electricity Association (BDEW). As a result, German greenhouse gas emissions will rise again in 2013, just as they did in 2012. Already in 2012 lignite and hard coal power plants had emitted approximately four percent more CO2. The data for the first half year now show that this trend will significantly worsen.

The reason is the decline in carbon prices at the exchanges, which make the operation of coal plants more economical. EU attempts to reform carbon trading and to stabilize prices were thwarted by the opposition of Germany, among other states.

Solar power generation stagnant

The electricity generated by the renewable energy sector, however, decreased from January to June: The main reason was that the wind was blowing less strongly compared to last year, especially since the beginning of the year. Thus almost ten percent less electricity was generated. The long winter hit the solar power generation: Although the installed capacity was expanded by about 25 percent in 2012, the electricity generated remained on the same level.

Translation Philipp Mueller

Full story (in German)