Datteln 4, the coal commission and the energy transition

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It is a consensus that an energy turn away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energies is necessary and sensible for ecological, economic and social reasons. What is peculiar here is how the German government and companies are nevertheless acting in favour of old energy sources. This is also the case here: Datteln 4 is not a "partner of renewables", but will continue to slow down the energy turnaround!

After a long process involving many affected groups, the Coal Commission issued its recommendation in 2019. A minimum consensus that is unlikely to meet the Paris 1.5 degree target.
The Coal Commission also advises against the construction of new coal-fired power plants and against the commissioning of coal-fired power plants that have already been built but are not yet in operation.1)https://www.bmwi.de/Redaktion/DE/Downloads/A/abschlussbericht-kommission-wachstum-strukturwandel-und-beschaeftigung.pdf?__blob=publicationFile
This refers in particular to Datteln 4.


Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer and the CDU leadership then called for the coal compromise to be implemented "without compromise".2)https://background.tagesspiegel.de/energie-klima/cdu-spitze-verlangt-kohlekompromiss-ohne-abstriche In contradiction to this, however, is the coal phase-out law, which was presented in January by Economics Minister Altmaier and has already been passed by the cabinet. Not only does it provide for a long term of Datteln 4, the Coal Exit Act also violates other contents of the coal compromise.


According to the application for approval, Datteln 4 may emit up to 8.4 million tons of CO2 per year at full-load operation.3)https://www.quarks.de/technik/energie/datteln-4-darum-ist-das-kraftwerk-so-umstritten/ As calculated, a significant part of this is additional emissions.. Laut einer Studie des DIW (Deutsches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung), erstellt im Auftrag des BUND, würden durch das Kohleausstiegsgesetz 134 Millionen Tonnen CO2 mehr emittiert im Zeitraum von 2020 bis 2040, als der Kohlekompromiss vorsieht. Allein 40 Millionen Tonnen CO2 dieser Mehremissionen kommen von Datteln 4.4)https://www.diw.de/documents/publikationen/73/diw_01.c.725608.de/diwkompakt_2020-148.pdf (S.5, S.16

This does not include the emissions caused by transporting the energy source. Ships and trains transport the coal over many thousands of kilometres from Asia and South America to Datteln. In addition, the opencast mines also have their own energy requirements. Existing calculations completely disregard these emissions and assume that the coal would end up in the Datteln coal bunker "by magic".
With renewable energy these considerations fall away completely!

Electricity market

Electricity generated in Europe is traded on the electricity market. There, the energy suppliers buy the electricity from the power plant operators. This takes place in direct contracts oder an der Börse. 80% des Stroms aus Datteln 4 wurden bereits an RWE und die Deutsche Bahn verkauft, die restlichen 20% werden an der Strombörse gehandelt. Das Hauptkriterium ist dabei der Preis.

Displacement of renewables

Obwohl die Einspeisevorrangregelung vorsieht, dass erneuerbare Energien vor allen anderen Energien ins Netz eingespeist werden, konkurrieren sie mit dem Strom aus Datteln 4. Es liegt hier ein Sonderfall vor. Diese gilt nämlich nur für das sogenannte Übertragungsnetz. Sämtlicher Strom für die DB geht hingegen direkt am Kraftwerksstandort Datteln 4 in das Verteilernetz der DB, für das es keine solche Vorrangregelung gibt. Mit anderen Worten: Selbst bei einer Versorgung von 100% Erneuerbaren Energien würde der schmutzige Kohlestrom von Datteln 4 nicht aus dem DB-Netz gedrängt.
The remaining electricity from Datteln 4 is directly connected to the consumption centres in the Ruhr area via an exclusive line, so that here too the priority principle of renewable energies has only a very limited effect.

Stand: 13.08.2020

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