Berlin agrees diminished plan for hydrogen back-up power plants

(EurActiv, 5 Feb 2024) A German government agreement will create state support mechanisms for up to 10 GW of newly-built gas power plants, opening the way for carbon capture in the energy sector and may delay the country’s 2035 plan for a fossil-free power system.

In 2023, the German government shared plans to fund 15 GW of new gas power plants and 8 GW worth of novel facilities that would immediately run using hydrogen – 50 power plants.

But budgetary issues have seen these plans scaled back and instead, the German government looks to tender a total of 10 GW of gas-fuelled power plants in four successive auctions, according to a top-level agreement between Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD), the green Vice-Chancellor Robert Habeck and Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP).

Beyond that, the government wants to have more concrete proposals by Summer 2024 – by then, Berlin wants to progress on a future power market design and “in particular to develop concepts for a market-based, technology-neutral capacity mechanism.”

Much like in neighbouring Poland, where the government spends taxpayer money on ensuring sufficient power generation capacity is available, that would mean paying power plants for being at the ready.

This policy was supported by the liberal FDP. “I am delighted that our impetus for a capacity market has found its way into the federal government’s solution,” said Michael Kruse, the FDP’s spokesperson for energy policy.

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EurActiv, 5 Feb 2024: Berlin agrees diminished plan for hydrogen back-up power plants