One of the most important environmental commitments of the German nation, to replace fossil fuel generated power for solar & wind-generated electricity, presents serious challenges as we all can expect. Such objectives stem from its new goal of raising the share of renewable power from the current 33% to 65% by the year 2030, and in doing so reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, therefore, complying with its climate agreement.
Now here´s the tricky part, in order to double its share of renewable power in twelve years, Germany will need to make up for its fossil-fuel sourced power downsizing, from 94 gigawatts (GW) in 2016 to 72 GW in 2023, as was agreed recently in a coalition deal between Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives and the center-left Social Democrats (SPD). The said deal includes the closing for environmental reasons of nuclear reactors and many heavily CO2-polluting coal plants.
Although Germany’s renewable power capacity has reached 100 GW it may produce little or nothing, depending on weather patterns, therefore, the weather influenced renewable power may translate into shortcomings in steady power flow, which can very well be balanced with increased gas-fired capacity.
Ludwig Moehring, head of sales at Gazprom-owned wholesaler Wingas was quoted as saying at a recent industry forum in Essen, “Renewable power alone won’t work in the coming decades, for reasons of supply security – Gas can fill the gap…”.
He continued, “If you go down to around 70 GW of thermal capacity and need to meet 80 GW of top demand, you will need 10 GW to compensate”.
According to Moehring, policymakers may still steer away from permissiveness to the heat and transport sectors, since these have not traditionally kept pace with heavy industry and energy utilities.
“The danger is that power remains the focus when heating systems and combustion engines also badly need decarbonizing,” he said.
Moehring’s company, which has a 20 percent share of the gas market in Germany and competes with Uniper and RWE, wants to see gas fuelling more heavy vehicles and heating homes in lieu of oil.
His views, though naturally favoring his product, drew support from some policymakers at the industry gathering.