Germany is expected to import 45 million tonnes of hard coal this year, up roughly 1.4 percent from 2018 despite mounting competition from renewable energy, as the closure of domestic mines reduces domestic supply, importers said on Friday.
The total would comprise an estimated 30 million tonnes for power generation and 15 million tonnes of coking coal and coke, products used in steelmaking, data from lobby group VDKI showed.
Germany’s last two hard-coal mines, in the west of the country, closed at the end of December under a deal to stop unprofitable mining in favor of imports. The pair had contributed an annual 2.6 million tonnes of power station feedstock.
The coal importer lobby said hard coal usage would benefit from a court ban on logging in an ancient forest, a move that will impede the mining of domestic rival lignite, or brown coal, by utility RWE.
The court ruling curbs supply to RWE’s brown-coal power plants, and hard coal could cover part of the deficit.
The two types of coal accounted for a combined 38 percent of German power production last year.