The uncertain future of the coal energy industry in Germany Cover Image

The uncertain future of the coal energy industry in Germany
The uncertain future of the coal energy industry in Germany

Author(s): Rafał Bajczuk
Subject(s): Energy and Environmental Studies, Economic policy
Published by: OSW Ośrodek Studiów Wschodnich im. Marka Karpia
Keywords: coal energy industry in Germany; energy
Summary/Abstract: Germany’s current energy strategy, known as the “energy transition”, or Energiewende, involves an accelerated withdrawal from the use of nuclear power plants and the development of renewable energy sources (RES). According to the government’s plans, the share of RES in electricity production will gradually increase from its present rate of 26% to 80% in 2050. Greenhouse gas emissions are expected to fall by 80–95% by 2050 when compared to 1990 levels. However, coal power plants still predominate in Germany’s energy mix – they produced 44% of electricity in 2014 (26% from lignite and 18% from hard coal). This makes it difficult to meet the emission reduction objectives, lignite combustion causes the highest levels of greenhouse gas emissions. In order to reach the emission reduction goals, the government launched the process of accelerating the reduction of coal consumption. On 2 July, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy published a plan to reform the German energy market which will be implemented during the present term of government. Emission reduction from coal power plants is the most important issue. This problem has been extensively discussed over the past year and has transformed into a conflict between the government and the coal lobby. The dispute reached its peak when lignite miners took to the streets in Berlin. As the government admits, in order to reach the long-term emission reduction objectives, it is necessary to completely liquidate the coal energy industry in Germany. This is expected to take place within 25 to 30 years. However, since the decision to decommission nuclear power plants was passed, the German ecological movement and the Green Party have shifted their attention to coal power plants, demanding that these be decommissioned by 2030 at the latest.

  • Page Count: 8
  • Publication Year: 2015
  • Language: English