Germany’s coal problem remains

Publish date: December 8, 2014

Bellona is pleased to see that the German government is finally realising that unabated coal is incompatible with any form of climate targets.

However, one-off measures that simply eliminate some old coal plants that should have been retired years ago will not get Germany to a low carbon society. Germany needs to formulate a clear strategy to deal with emissions from the remaining coal fleet and coal plants that are even now under construction. Germany needs to truly consider Emissions Performance Standards (EPS) to prevent coal plants from lurking on the grid for decades to come. The UK, Canada and even the US have already undertaken measures in that direction.

Bellona welcomes the US EPA’s newly proposed rules to reduce CO2 emissions in the power sector and sees them as a significant step forward in terms of catalysing the deployment of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technologies. Together with a coalition of European environmental NGOs, Bellona has submitted a joint letter to the European Commission, calling for the need to establish an EU-wide EPS for CO2 from power plants to prevent lock-in to the worst-polluting infrastructure and act to incentivise CCS. This importance of an EPS for Europe was acknowledged by a number of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), industry and NGO representatives at a recent discussion in the European Parliament (read more here).

“If coal is to remain as any fraction of the German energy system, then German utilities and the German government need to seriously re-approach there CCS strategy. Coal has no future without CCS” – argues Keith Whiriskey, Climate Technologies Policy Manager at Bellona Europa.

Read more on Bellona’s reaction to the recent decision of major German utility E.On to split out its fossil fuel plant holdings into another company here.