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“We are there when we are needed”

“The Federal Government’s strategy on the subject of the energy transition overestimates the willingness to invest in new gas-fired power plants on the one hand and the technical possibilities of being able to convert hydrogen into electricity at 100 % on the other. Moreover, green hydrogen will not be available in the required quantities for the foreseeable future.” This is what Alexander Bethe, Chairman of the Association of Coal Importers (VdKi), Berlin/Germany, said at the VdKi annual meeting in Duisburg.

In the last crisis winter, hard coal was on hand as a back-up. After the EU embargo, sufficient proven alternative coal was available for the expanded power plant park. Because of the mild winter, the hard coal stocks are now well filled. But another possible crisis winter is on the horizon. The industry is prepared for that, too. Bethe: “We are there when we are needed”.

And not only that: “Germany needs at least 50 new gas-fired power plants to meet its energy needs by 2030. Taking into account lengthy planning and building permits, a lack of willingness to invest when gas prices are high and lengthy construction phases, this is not feasible,” says Bethe. “Green electricity from wind and solar also urgently needs controllable power plants because of the dark lulls. And since all nuclear power plants in Germany are shut down and gas-fired power plants are lacking, we need more realism in energy policy.” The VDKi chairman calls on the Federal Government to immediately lift anticipatory fuel bans. “First expand green technology, then switch it off. And not the other way round.”

The discussion that hard coal is only needed for two winters is unrealistic, according to Bethe. “And let’s look at our modern coal-fired power plants and take into account that high CO2 savings are possible with CCS/CCU technology or co-firing with ammonia, for example. Countries like Norway, the Netherlands or Denmark are already pushing these technologies. Why not Germany as well? ”

The production of hard coal worldwide has reached a new record level of around 8 Mt. Germany imports less than 1% of this record amount. And now that the supply of Russian natural gas is no longer available, the VdKi is certain: In view of the manageable and expensive world LNG production, demand for hard coal will not collapse. Bethe: “Hard coal plays a significant role in securing the power supply in Germany. Until well into the 2030s”. (VDKi/Si.)