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Germany’s net exports slump to 5-year low on weak coal burn

(Montel) Germany’s net power exports fell 25% in 2019 year on year as higher carbon and cheaper gas prices put the country’s coal-intense power plant fleet at an economic disadvantage, analysts said on Thursday.

German power producers exported 36.6 TWh of electricity this year, down 12.1 TWh from 2018, data from German statistics group Ageb showed on Thursday.

“The main reason is the decrease in lignite and hard coal power generation,” said Bengt Longva, power analyst at StormGeo in Oslo.

“[Gas units] have outcompeted lignite during big parts of the year due to decreasing gas prices and increasing CO2 prices.”

Power output from hard coal and lignite-fired generation fell by 57 TWh, also down 25%, to 171 TWh this year, the Ageb data showed, while gas-fired power output jumped 11% to 91.3 TWh.

Benchmark carbon prices averaged EUR 24.89/t this year so far, compared with only EUR 15.95/t during 2018, data from Ice Futures in London showed.

The Dutch TTF front-month contract – Europe’s most liquid – averaged EUR 14.61/MWh this year so far, down from EUR 22.28/MWh last year.

Gas-fired power plants generated considerably less carbon and therefore did not react so sensitively to the rising price of emissions certificates.

Accordingly, carbon emissions from Germany’s energy industry fell 16%, or 51m tonnes, this year, Montel reported earlier on Thursday.

Germany wants to exit coal-fired power generation completely by 2038 and cut its emissions by at least 55% by 2030, based on 1990 levels.


Reporting by:
Julia Demirdag
15:04, Thursday, 19 December 2019