Nfter the nuclear phase-out, the energy industry is demanding more speed in the construction of new gas-fired power plants in Germany. The general manager of the Federal Association of Energy and Water Management, Kerstin Andreae, told the German Press Agency: “In order to be able to guarantee security of supply at all times in the long term, we need hydrogen-capable gas power plants that provide secure, controllable output as a partner of renewable energies. If they cannot start up in time, this would result in high greenhouse gas emissions, because coal-fired power plants would then have to run longer.” This Saturday, the last three remaining nuclear power plants in Germany will go offline.
The industry association Zukunft Gas criticized that there is currently a lack of investment incentives for the construction of new hydrogen-capable gas power plants. Board member Timm Kehler said: “The nuclear phase-out is now complete, and the coal phase-out should also be accelerated and completed by 2030. This means that we are getting out of important pillars for secure electricity generation, i.e. power plants that deliver when wind and sun are not available.” In addition to renewable energies, hydrogen-capable gas power plants must be built as quickly as possible and other, flexibly controllable capacities such as electricity storage must be made available in order to to close the gap.
Fear of a gap in the electricity market
“Even under optimistic assumptions, we assume that there will be a shortage of at least 15 gigawatts of secured capacity in the German electricity market in 2031,” said Kehler. “In order to avoid this gap in 2030, flexibly controllable capacities must be made available for the electricity market. This also includes the construction of new hydrogen-capable gas-fired power plants, which would have to be built and commissioned over the next eight years so that we can safely phase out coal and achieve our climate goals. Andreae said that the timely construction of sufficiently secured capacity is not guaranteed with the current framework conditions.
A spokeswoman for Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) said that with a view to phasing out coal, the ministry is developing a “short-term power plant strategy” for controllable power plants that generate electricity when the sun is not shining and the wind is not blowing. Among other things, by modernizing older gas-fired power plants and replacing coal plants, up to 25 gigawatts of controllable power plants should be built, some of which could be operated with hydrogen right from the start and some at a later date.