Study: Germany needs 15 power plants by 2020

All 15 power plants should be powered by fossil fuels and financed by the private sector, a spokesperson for the German Energy Agency said.

Germany will need 15 new fossil fuel-powered plants by 2020 with total capacity of 11,700 megawatts to meet its peak demand and maintain energy independence, according to a study conducted by the German Energy Agency in Berlin.

The power plants would be financed by private investment with usual subsidies and regulations from the German government, which does not finance such projects itself, said a spokesperson for the Agency.

The most likely candidates for the financing and development of the power plants would be the country’s four big utilities, including E.ON, which in 2007 unsuccessfully bid for Spanish utility Endesa. But other sources of capital are also a possibility, the spokesperson said. 

Fossil fuels: in demand
in Germany

“The hope is that by building new power plants we can also pull in some new players into the German energy market – but it’s all private money [making the investment],” the spokesperson added.

The Agency acts as a liaison between private and public sector players in promoting energy development through public private partnerships. It compared the German government’s energy goals through 2020 and the country’s energy consumption trends to arrive at the conclusions cited in its study.

The agency determined that to avoid having to buy electricity from other countries and meet peak demand, Germany would have to build 15 new fossil fuel-power plants totalling 11,700 megawatts of capacity by 2020. This is in addition to renewable energy sources, which Germany aims to increase to 30 percent of its total power generation by the same year.

The Agency recommended that the 15 new power plants be powered by fossil fuels since those sources are more “secure” than wind during times of peak demand, the spokesperson explained. 

In 2007, 14.2 percent of Germany’s electricity was generated from renewable sources, according to the Germany’s Environment Agency.

Earlier this year, the European Union set a goal for its member nations to increase their overall share of renewable energy sources from 8.5 percent to 20 percent by 2020.

Founded in 2000, the German Energy Agency is half-owned by German government institutions and half-owned by state and private banks.