Germany does lead the world both in installed solar generation and in closing nuclear plants. The closure of nuclear plants means Germany needs base-load generation that operates during all hours. And so new coal plants are surging in Germany--10 plants totaling 11,000 megawatts.
Why is Germany investing so heavily in new coal plants and not natural gas units? There is no shale gas in Europe and so natural gas is expensive there. In fact, gas regularly costs about $10 for a thousand cubic feet across Europe, while last week gas cost about $3.30 in the United States.
The carbon pollution from the 11,000 megawatts of new coal plants will be about two-times greater than had the plants run on natural gas. And the German plunge into coal reminds that coal generation remains King around the world, despite the challenge to it by natural gas in the USA. Indeed, the challenge to coal by natural gas in the USA is almost unique in the world, and so coal continues to gain global energy market share.