Germany’s old coal plants are being decommissioned faster than new ones are coming online.
This fact is a key part of the author’s explanation of why Germany’s nuclear shutdown is not having the effects some of its critics claimed it would. The problem however is that what the author claims has absolutely no basis in reality. Germany is building coal plants faster than it is decommissioning them. This can easily be checked by looking at the list of power stations the German government says are being built and decommissioned between now and 2015. (see the second spreadsheet).
In total, between now and 2015, Germany is decommissioning 1.8 GW of coal plants, but building 8 GW. This is not a healthy ratio. In contrast it is only building 1.5 GW of gas, which could provide the electricity with half of the emissions. So, quite astonishingly the carbon intensity of Germany’s new build fossil fuels is actually higher than its existing fossil fuel capacity. The percentage of Germany’s electricity from fossil fuels quite likely won’t decrease in the next decade, and their preference for coal over gas now looks like making their electricity more carbon intensive in the next decade.
(h/t Jani-Petri Martikainen for the link to the official statistics of German coal build)