German coal exit requires “heroic effort” – utility chief

This was because Germany still needed to put forward its subsidy plans to spur investment in reliable power capacity and the EU still needed to decide on these subsidies, while decisions for the post-coal era strategy were outstanding, Andreas Feicht told a group of energy industry leaders in Essen.

To keep the lights on without coal, Germany would need to build up its renewables capacity, as well as 20-25 GW of adjustable generating capacity to provide security of supply and maintain its single pricing zone, he said.

It would be clear by 2026 or 2027 if the goal was still attainable, he added.

Feicht, who was an economics ministry undersecretary until 2021 under the previous coalition government of centre-right and centre-left parties, said he could not see the market providing the necessary pricing signals to spur that kind of build-up.

“That’s why it’s really important that the proper signals are given,” he said, adding that meeting these goals would probably mean moving Germany to a capacity market, in which some power generators were paid whether they produced or not and were on standby when needed.

However, he said that would not be possible without constructing the 20-25 GW of capacity so the economy ministry must quickly unveil its plan of how to get there.

Germany aims to have 80% of its gross energy consumption from renewable sources by 2030 and to become carbon neutral by 2045.