Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Germany: coal beats wind power in 2021

 The energetic balance for 2021 reveals that fossile fuels were able to increase their output compared to renewables, writes WELT:

The climate politicians of the traffic-light-coalition have bad timing. They had only just decided to bring the coal phase out to 2030, when the frowned upon electricity producers are once again demonstrating their importance for the energy supply with all their might.

Lignite power plants produced 18 percent more electricity in 2021 than in the previous year, while hard coal power plants even increased their output by almost 27 percent. This is what it says in the annual balance sheet that the Federal Association of Energy and Water Management (BDEW) has now published.

The good news: Despite the increased burning of coal, the electricity industry stayed within its permitted CO2 budget of 257 million tons this year, which is stipulated by the Climate Protection Act (KSG). This saves the new energy minister Robert Habeck (Greens) from imposing immediate measures to reduce CO2, which the KSG would otherwise have forced him to do.

The increase in coal electricity was necessary because the yield from the wind turbines was so poor this year: On land, wind power production fell by twelve percent, at sea by 7 percent. In order to fill the gap, even the nuclear power plants had to work hard again shortly before they were shut down. Nuclear power production rose for the last time in 2021, by seven percent, before three of the remaining six nuclear power plants were unplugged on New Year's Eve.

"Despite the decline in generation, wind energy remains by far the most important energy source in the German electricity mix, with electricity generation totaling 117.3 billion kilowatt hours," says the BDEW annual report. But this information is only correct if you add onshore and offshore wind power, but consider lignite and hard coal separately.

If you draw the statistical limits differently, this statement is correct: At 162 billion kilowatt hours, coal electricity was a long way ahead of the 117 billion KWh of wind energy in 2021. Overall, the fossil-atomic complex covered 58 percent of Germany's energy needs. The share of green electricity fell from 46 percent to just 42 percent.

Nonetheless, the coalition agreement aims to double the electricity to 80 percent green electricity by the year 2030 "Feasible, but also very ambitious," said BDEW boss Kerstin Andreae of this project. It is no longer enough to sit in the Regional Express, "we have to switch to the ICE." This year, 5.8 gigawatts of solar power have been installed, but from now on 15 gigawatts per year are required.

If eight wind turbines have been erected per week up to now, there should now be 30 new wind turbines per week. Even with this, however, success in climate protection would not be guaranteed. After all, traffic, heat generation and industrial processes should also be decarbonised.

According to the BDEW report, 84 percent of the total primary energy requirement is still covered by fossil-nuclear energy sources, above all mineral oil (31 percent), followed by natural gas (26 percent). Renewable energies only have a share of 16.1 percent, half of which is bioenergy, which has little potential for expansion.

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