Energy company EnBWs CEO Frank Mastiaux said Germany will build a significant number of new gas-fired power plants to guarantee electricity supply and grid stability as the country exits coal and nuclear energy, reports Bernd Freytag in an article for Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ). However, these will not be large-scale projects, but rather many small units which would help stabilise the grid, said Mastiaux. In addition, existing coal-fired plants could be converted into gas facilities.
Natural gas is often presented as the clean alternative to other fossil fuels such as oil and coal, and flexible gas-fired electricity generation as the perfect partner for fluctuating renewables. During a recent meeting of Germanys grand government coalition partners CDU, CSU and SPD, the party leadership discussed the need for more gas capacity especially in southern Germany, according to CSU head Markus Sder.
As Germany debates how to exit coal in the coming decades, the government says the countrys gas needs will increase in the 2020s. Most experts, however, say that the kilowatt hours lost due to the nuclear and coal exits will largely be compensated through the use of renewables, while additional gas capacity is needed for certain moments, for example when there is little sunshine and wind.
Against the backdrop of escalating tensions over the upcoming Russian-German gas pipeline Nord Stream 2, the German government has promised financial support for a domestic liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal with the goal of increasing LNG imports from the United States and diversifying the German energy supply. EnBW has positioned itself in the gas business with the takeover of eastern German VNG in 2015/2016, and sources its gas mainly from Russia and Norway. Mastiaux said that natural gas could in the future be rated according to how environmentally-friendly it is, which would give pipeline gas the upper hand, as a lot of energy is needed to liquefy LNG abroad to transport it to Europe.
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