Shutting Down Old Coal Power Plants Can Help Meeting Climate Targets

Shutting down old and CO2-intensive coal power plants in Germany can help the Federal Government to still meet its climate targets and improve the situation on the German electricity market at the same time. This is the main message of a study by the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin), which was commissioned by the ECF and the Heinrich Böll Foundation and presented to the media on 19 November.

By switching off the oldest and most inefficient coal power plants, the price of electricity would rise moderately. Power generation through gas power plants which are essential for a successful energy transition would thus pay off. The EEG-surcharge would drop due to an increased wholesale electricity price.

According to the calculations made by DIW Berlin 23 million tons of CO2 could be saved if hard coal-fired power plants with a capacity of three gigawatts and lignite-fired power plants with a capacity of six gigawatts were taken from the grid in the coming year. The German Federal Government has set a target to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 by 40 percent compared to 1990. In order not to miss this target, additional emission reduction measures going beyond those already planned are urgently needed.