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CLIMATE SCIENCE
A mixed blessing for Germany's climate plans
by Daniel J. Graeber
Essen, Germany (UPI) Oct 26, 2015


disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

While it will help Germany meet its climate protection goals, moving some power plants to a reserve capacity will hurt businesses, energy company RWE said.

German energy company RWE said it would move five of its power plants in the country to a standby position as the country moves forward on a low-carbon trajectory. The standby decision includes 2,700 megawatts of power from lignite-fired power plants.

"This solution will enable our lignite-fired power plants to make a major contribution to the additional carbon dioxide-reduction of 12.5 million tons. This is positive," RWE Chief Executive Officer Peter Terium said in a statement. "However, it hits the company hard and means a huge burden for our employees."

The transfer to a standby role would come four years before scheduled closures. The phase out is part of a German plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent of their 1990 levels by the end of the decade.

Lignite-powered plants represent about 25 percent of the electricity generation in Germany. The closing of the plants, however, has been met with frustration at the local level.

"This transformation [away from lignite] has to happen without any structural disruptions," Terium said. "It must not demand too much of the companies, their employees and the affected regions involved."

The German government in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan started taking steps to phase out nuclear power. Wind power generated on land and offshore is now emerging as one of the main pillars of Germany's new energy mix.

Germany aims to have the bulk of its energy supplied through renewable resources by 2050.


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