Coal use in Germany the highest in 24 years

Coal-generated electricity spiked in Germany last year to its highest level since 1990, despite the country’s campaign to shift to green sources of energy by 2022.

Industry figures show that bituminous coal and lignite together contributed 45.5% to the country’s gross energy output in 2013, up from 44% the previous year.

Brown coal accounted for electricity to the tune of 162 billion kilowatt hours, equivalent to about 25% of Germany's total electricity production of 629 billion kilowatt hours in 2013, industry group Arbeitsgemeinschaft Energiebilanzen said.

Environmentalists, reports AP, criticized the mounting use of coal, saying it is a "dirty" source because of the large amount of carbon dioxide released when it is burned.

They are now asking for energy reforms to increase the costs of operating coal-fired power stations –especially those that use brown coal, a highly polluting fuel.