Germany may turn into an importer of electricity within years
Germany could become a net importer of electricity within a few years, as it phases out nuclear and coal-fired plants, according to the German energy grid regulator (Bundesnetzagentur).
Europe’s industrial powerhouse has been an exporter of electricity for the past few years, but it will become more dependent on supplies from other countries to avoid blackouts as it shifts away from dirty energy sources to meet its climate goals.
“The need for imports will increase over the years,” the energy grid regulator said, in a report covering the period from 2025 to 2031 and published by the German government on Wednesday.
It also stated that investment in renewable energy sources across Europe is as necessary as conventional power plants.
Germany’s net electricity exports totaled about 26 TWh last year, compared to 17 and 19 TWh in 2020 and 2021, respectively.
Despite Germany’s efforts to replace Russian gas flows following the war in Ukraine, its electricity exports to France reached their highest levels in 30 years, amid a large number of nuclear reactors shut down there.
However, Germany could cut its carbon emissions by 65% by 2030 from 1990 levels thanks to the use of things like electric cars and heat pumps.
This is why the country’s government has raised its forecast for future consumption of electricity.
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At the same time, some power plants could shut down due to rising carbon costs.
The network regulator’s report showed that German coal plants could shut down by 2030, sooner than the previous 2038 target, and it plans to phase out its last three nuclear plants by mid-April at the latest.
To close the gap, Germany will need to triple its expansion of renewables over the current decade while also investing in new gas-fired plants.
Also, the EU aims to provide more interconnection capacity in the coming years to support cross-border electricity flows.