Germany needs to halve coal-fired capacity by 2030 - deputy Economy Minister

MUNICH (Reuters) - Germany would have to shut 25 gigawatts (GW) of coal-fired power capacity, equivalent to about half its current total, by 2030 to meet carbon-cutting targets agreed under the Paris climate deal, Deputy Economy Minister Rainer Baake said on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO - Steam rises from the cooling towers of the coal power plant of RWE, one of Europe's biggest electricity and gas companies in Niederaussem, north-west of Cologne, Germany. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

Baake told an energy conference in Munich that the measures would have to be worked out by the incoming government after this month’s general election.

“This can be done in line with the law and without compensation; this we know from getting out of nuclear energy,” said Baake, who helped to drive the phasing out of nuclear energy that Germany began in 2001.

A fair and detailed plan could be initiated without any surprises farther down the line, Baake said, adding that the heat and transport sectors also faced tough tasks in hitting their respective targets.

Germany has so far achieved a 27.6 percent reduction in carbon emissions from 1990 levels but needs to hit 40 percent by 2020. It is aiming for 50 percent by 2030, with a gradual increase to 80-95 percent by 2050.

The sector has made great strides in raising the share of renewable fossil-free power in its output mix to 35 percent, but heat provision and transport lag far behind because of their heavy dependence on natural gas and refined crude oil products.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said she will make climate targets more specific in her next term if re-elected, which could prove uncomfortable for the car and construction industries.

Baake said that both a change in climate-related taxation that has hit electricity consumers hard and allowed the other sectors to be lax on emissions needs rethinking.

“Energy taxes and fees will have to be rearranged,” he said.

The current government also has plans to expand renewable power usage in heat and transport applications.

This is part of a huge national “sector coupling” project to provide green power for heating and transport through sources such as hydrogen, geothermal energy or renewable-power electric heat pumps.

“We have a head start in renewable power and we should make economic use of it,” Baake said.

Reporting by Vera Eckert; Editing by Maria Sheahan and David Goodman