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Germany Will Need To Hold Onto Coal Power For Longer

Germany’s coal demand rose last year for the second year in a row, coal importers association VDKI warned this week—and the country will hang onto its coal usage for longer than the German government has planned on.

Germany’s hard coal demand from coal-fired power stations increased by 16% last year, new VDKI estimates show, cited by Argus Media. While that’s lower than what VDKI previously predicted, coal usage in Germany is still up, and the country will keep relying on coal for longer than Germany would like.

Germany imported 43mn t of hard coal last year, up 4.7%, VDKI estimates. Steam coal imports used for power plants rose 12% to 30mn t.

Germany’s increased coal consumption comes as its primary energy consumption fell by 4.7% on the year. Energy consumption for nuclear and natural gas saw the most significant losses, with hard coal gaining ground in the overall energy mix in Germany to 9.8% of the total—up nearly a percent from the year prior.

To service that increased demand, about 6GW of hard coal-fired plants restarted last year, with Germany trying to conserve gas and fill its storage in the runup to this winter. This transition period with increased coal use, was deemed a necessary step in reducing natural gas demand last summer and fall, as Germany made gas storage its number one priority—even if it meant firing up reserve power plants and delaying the scheduled retirement of the country’s coal plants.

But now that Germany is consuming more higher-priced imported LNG and Germany’s new gas-fired power plants are “nowhere to be seen,”  VDKI president Alexander Bethe is issuing a warning that Germany could continue its coal dependence for much longer than the government originally intended.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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