‘We must not demonise coal’ – German environment minister

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Germany’s environment minister, Barbara Hendricks, says coal-fired power is important to the country’s economic security and should not be subject to extreme negativity.

In a separate development, Ms Hendricks told Power Engineering International that a court decision, which found the forced shutdown of the Biblis nuclear power plant to be illegal, would not have any impact on Germany’s plans to wind down its nuclear power industry.

Barbara Hendricks
Speaking to Frankfurter Rundschau, Ms Hendricks said that while the energy transition’s dependence on coal power was ‘undesirable’, it was necessary for the country’s stability, particularly as “we can no longer expect gas to flexibly complement eco-energy.”

“Gas is unprofitable while coal is booming. We must not demonize coal. We still need to transition to a guarantee security of supply.”

She added that ‘rectivating’ the energiewende meant tacking the undesirable development of coal’s eminence. However this, she said, is to be a long term goal governed by market mechanisms/ETS. ETS, which would have to be reactivated.

In her view backloading of 900 million ETS-certificates is to be a first step even if it is not enough.

“The two billion CO2 allowances, which are too much on the European market, must be permanently removed. The 900 million ETS certificates, for which the EU has recently decided on an interim basis, are not enough. We will aggressively fight in the EU for a functioning CO2 trading system.”

Meanwhile the minister told Power Engineering International, that the recent decision by a German Federal Administrative Court to find against the state of Hesse for ordering the shutdown of one of RWE’s (FWB: RWE) nuclear power plants was one her department respected even if it will not have an effect on the country’s decision to abolish nuclear power.

“We respect the decision of Germany's Federal Administrative Court. We will wait for the complete decision and justification and analyse it. The court’s decision will not affect the decision to terminate the use of nuclear energy for commercial electricity production in Germany.

“The energy transition, entailing the termination of the use of nuclear energy and to use renewables instead is politically decided and it is supported by the vast majority of citizens in our country. The process of shutting down nuclear power plants will go on, as scheduled in the German Atomic Energy Act.”

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