Time for another “Matthew Hulbert Wrong” post.
He kindly mailed me a link to an article without byline at the economist. Maybe he thought that this article would back up his wrong assertion that Germany is increasing electricity generation from coal.
I have looked at the article, which discusses the well known fact that gas is right now more expensive in Europe than in the United States, since Europe does not follow an aggressive strategy of going after unconventional shale gas (as well it should not). In contrast, the article does not give any numbers on the 2012 record of Germany, except for some anecdotal figures on the generation record of RWE, one of the big utilities.
Fortunately, these figures are now available at the Fraunhofer site, the most frequently updated and detailed resource on electricity generation in Germany I am aware of.
I added up the monthly reports from January to December on pages 73 to 84 and got a total of 105.9 TWh of coal generated electricity for the whole year of 2012.
Electricity from coal in Germany was at 142.0 TWh in 2007. 124.6 in 2008, 107.9 in 2009, 117.0 in 2010, and 111.8 in 2011.
These numbers are sourced from the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Energiebilanzen. That is an association of German research institutes and energy related lobby groups. I trust their numbers.
That of course means that electricity production from coal in Germany was less in 2012 than in any year since 2007, following a similar reduction in 2011
Lignite (brown coal) is down as well, to 145.6 TWh from 150.1 last year.
Update: Arbeitsgemeinschaft Energiebilanzen has coal in 2012 at 118.0 TWh, so the figures of Fraunhofer reported above may be not correct.