By Paul Homewood
RWE’s new lignite power station opened in Neurath in 2012
Germany’s dash for coal continues apace. Following on the opening of two new coal power stations in 2012, six more are due to open this year, with a combined capacity of 5800MW, enough to provide 7% of Germany’s electricity needs.
Including the plants coming on stream this year, there are 12 coal fired stations due to open by 2020. Along with the two opened last year in Neurath and Boxberg, they will be capable of supplying 19% of the country’s power.
In addition, 27 gas fired stations are due on line, which should contribute a further 17% of Germany’s total electricity generation. (Based on 2011 statistics, total generation was 575 TwH).
It is worth noting that none of these coal or gas plants will be built with Carbon Capture & Storage (CCS), which is a legal requirement for coal generators in the UK, despite the fact that the technology does not yet exist on a commercial scale.
The UK government is so desperate to get out of the corner it has boxed itself into, that it wants to hand out huge sums to subsidise the cost of developing CCS technology. According to their “Overarching National Policy Statement for Energy” (Page 31), they want to support the cost of four commercial scale CCS projects.
But since the report was written in 2011, nothing much has happened, other than the announcement of two preferred bidders for the £1bn programme. One of these, the White Rose project at Drax, won’t be submitting a planning application until next year, and a final government investment decision won’t be made until 2015.
In the meantime, UK energy policy is allowed to drift. No company would abandon a successful, proven and efficient method of operating, without an alternative, better way having already been thoroughly tried and tested. So why does the UK government think it knows better?
German Coal Fired Power Stations Due to Open By 2020
As supplied by BDEW, the German Energy Producers Association.