By Paul Homewood
h/t Dennis Ambler
The German grid regulator and Green-led ministry of economy and climate action aim to construct up to 21 GW worth of additional gas power plants to guarantee a stable and reliable grid, according to internal documents.
By 2030, the German government wants the country to run on 80% renewable electricity and fully phase out coal. Gas power plants are expected to cover the remaining 20% and account for low wind and low sun periods.
“Investments in gas-fired power plants […] continue to make sense provided that corresponding LNG [liquified natural gas] capacities are created and prices normalise,” reads a ministry document.
In total, while German gas consumption is expected to go down due to the electrification of heating, gas power plants are expected to almost double in capacity. In November 2022, gas power capacity amounted to 27.5 Gigawatts (GW).
Going forward, the regulators note that 17 to 21 GW of extra capacity will be built, as part of their bi-annual grid stability report for the period of 2025 until 2031. This would be the most cost-effective approach, the regulator adds.
The government took ownership of this suggestion, the documents confirm, confirming that Germany’s path has hardly diverged, despite the fact that its largest gas supplier, Russia, turned off the tap.
In October 2021, Markus Krebber, CEO of energy company RWE, predicted similar figures. “We need about 20 to 30 gigawatts of new gas-fired power plants in Germany,” he told WirtschaftsWoche.
To ensure that enough gas is available, the government is strongly committing to LNG. “The import capacities of LNG are to be further increased in Germany,” the document adds.
Germany needs at least 60GW of power at peak periods. This plan will take gas power up close to 50GW, which is a startling admission that there will be times when wind and solar’s contribution will be minimal.
Coal power capacity, including lignite, is currently 36GW, so the closure of this will be mainly offset by new gas capacity.