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German coal phase-out 'will not happen before 2030': VIK CEO

Highlights

Gas currently uncompetitive with coal on price

Security of supply issues also hindering switch

Phase-out also slowed by nuclear shutdowns

Berlin — The phase-out of coal from German industry will not happen before 2030 due to several factors stifling the move towards natural gas, Barbara Minderjahn, CEO of VIK-the German Association of Industrial Energy Consumers, said at the European Autumn Gas Conference in Berlin Friday.

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Minderjahn said the total phase-out of coal would not begin until 2022-25 and "won't happen before 2030."

"The trouble is pricing. Coal is a lot cheaper than gas for both industry and for power generation," Minderjahn said, and that any near-term change would not occur "if the problem of gas being more expensive than coal is not solved."

However, other factors are also in play.

"It is not just about pricing. It is about security of supply and this will hinder the coal phase-out in the short-term," Minderjahn said.

Germany is almost completely reliant on imports for its gas consumption, although the country produces vast amounts of both coal and lignite for industrial use and power generation.

In addition, Minderjahn added that "we [Germany] are only just getting out of nuclear, this is a challenge."

Further ahead, however, gas is seen as having no role in the German energy mix.

"For a 2050 perspective, gas as it is will not help. It has to be renewable somehow," Minderjahn said, adding that it would be "preferable for the gas industry to find a solution with large industrial users."

--Gary Hornby, gary.hornby@spglobal.com

--Edited by Maurice Geller, newsdesk@spglobal.com

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