October 22, 2018 / 7:13 AM / 10 months ago

German steel sector warns against abrupt halt to coal-fired power

DUESSELDORF, Germany (Reuters) - An abrupt end to coal-fired power generation in Germany would damage the steel industry’s competitiveness by pushing up electricity prices, the head of the country’s steel association warned on Monday.

Hans Juergen Kerkhoff said he expects rising power prices from a hasty withdrawal from coal to lead to additional electricity costs of between 140 million euros and 220 million euros ($161 million to $253 million) a year for the steel industry.

Germany has tasked a commission with creating a roadmap for phasing out coal as an energy source, similar to a previous landmark decision to exit nuclear energy after the Fukushima disaster in Japan.

Energy-hungry steel companies in Germany are already grappling with overcapacity, cheap imports from Asia and increasingly strict climate requirements.

Kerkhoff said that any electricity price increases would need to be balanced in a suitable manner to avoid harming the international competitiveness of energy-intensive industries such as steel.

Reporting by Tom Kaeckenhoff; Writing by Caroline Copley; Editing by David Goodman

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