Together with the target path of the German emission reduction towards 2020, I also found a break down of the emission estimate for 2015 in the FÖS analysis:
The difference of 2015 compared to 2014 seems to be:
- Oil (+3 Mton CO2-eq)
- natural gas (+7 Mton CO2-eq)
- coal (-1 Mton CO2)
- lignite (+2 Mton CO2-eq)
Lignite? Plus 2 Mton?
That remembers me of the second myth from the Greenpeace brochure:
The German nuclear phase-out leads to a greater use of coal and lignite
They debunked this myth by the claim that more electricity was produced by renewables than by nuclear power plants since 2003. Suggesting that there is no gap to fill by coal and lignite, because renewables did already that over the period 2003-2014.
My first reaction was that they are trying to debunk a myth that doesn’t even exist. Those making the claim that the nuclear phase-out leads to a greater use of coal and lignite will not exactly think of production of electricity by renewables since 2003 compared to lignite and coal. They probably would think about lignite and coal taking over at the time nuclear plants were closed and more specifically in 2011.
That is exactly what happened. After the closure of nuclear plants in 2011, use of coal and lignite increased in 2012 and 2013. It was considered a one-off occurrence back then, certainly when in 2014 it looked like the use of lignite decreased. But now we see that there was again an increase in use of lignite in 2015 compared to 2014. So my question would be why the use of lignite decreased in 2014?
Was it because of the production by renewables? Probably not, the share of renewables increased in 2015 and because they get priority, more would be produced. So my guess would be that is was because of the warmer winter and a subsequent decreased use of electricity.
In the four years since the Energiewende and the closure of nuclear plants, there were three years in which lignite and coal use increased and only one in which it decreased (but probably nothing to do with the share of renewables). So if one understands the statement that the “nuclear phase-out leads to a greater use of coal and lignite” as “when nuclear plants close, the use of coal and lignite increases” (which is closer to reality than “renewables produced more electricity than coal and lignite since 2003”), this myth seems to be less of a myth and more like a fact.