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Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Consequences of the war: Coal becomes more important as an energy source for electricity production

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Because of the Ukraine war, less electricity was generated from natural gas in 2022. However, another energy source increased by almost a quarter in use – and ended up in second place behind coal.

As the most important energy source for electricity production in Germany, coal has gained in importance over the past year. The proportion of electricity generated from coal-fired power plants, which are considered harmful to the climate, rose by 8.4 percent to a third (33.3 percent) compared to 2021, as reported by the Federal Statistical Office.

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According to the information, the increase also helped to offset the sharp decline in electricity production from natural gas as a result of the Ukraine war and in nuclear energy due to the nuclear phase-out. The second most important source of energy was wind power, whose share rose by 9.4 percent to just under a quarter (24.1 percent) after a comparatively low level of wind in the previous year.

Overall, more than half (53.7 percent) of the electricity fed into the grid last year came from conventional energy sources such as coal, natural gas and nuclear power. Due to the simultaneously lower generation in gas and nuclear power plants, the share fell by 8.7 percentage points compared to the previous year. In contrast, feed-in from renewable energies such as wind power, photovoltaics and biogas increased by 7.3 percentage points to 46.3 percent. A significant increase in solar power also contributed to this.

Only 6.4 percent nuclear energy

Due to the tense situation on the gas market as a result of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine, significantly less electricity was fed in from natural gas (minus 11.3 percent). Almost all of the natural gas used to generate electricity has to be imported, and Germany is less dependent on imports of coal. Due to the nuclear phase-out, nuclear energy only supplied 6.4 percent of the electricity fed into the grid (2021: 12.6 percent).

A total of 509 billion kilowatt hours of electricity were generated and fed into the grid in Germany last year. That was 1.9 percent less than in 2021.

Source: Stern

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