Closing Some German Coal Plants Helps Climate Goals, DIW Says

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government could shutter old coal-fired power plants to help achieve its climate-protection targets, according to a German researcher.

German carbon-dioxide emissions would fall by 23 million metric tons if hard coal power plants with a capacity of 3 gigawatts and lignite generators with a capacity of 6 gigawatts are closed, according to a study released today by the Berlin-based DIW economic research institute. While wholesale electricity prices would increase “moderately,” private consumer bills probably wouldn’t rise, DIW said.

“The power sector should make a greater contribution toward achieving the short- and mid-term climate target by replacing CO2-heavy, inefficient coal plants with more efficient gas plants,” Claudia Kemfert, who heads the DIW’s energy unit, said in an e-mailed statement.

Germany is currently drafting measures to reach its goal of cutting carbon emissions 40 percent by 2020 based on 1990 levels and plans to release them next month. Germany’s current measures translate to a 33 percent reduction, Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks said earlier this year.

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