So flat coal consumption is misleading - this would imply coal is growing as a percentage of energy mix given the economic situation.
Actually, I think it is more complicated than that. For instance, a small decrease in electricity demand would not prompt Germany to start dismantling plants. Some plants can easily be used less, while other may not. Older coal plants designed only for base load face significant challenges when trying to operate to accommodate turbulent demand
. Accordingly, a downturn in demand could result in a higher mix of coal vs gas, but only because the gas generators are more flexible than the coal plants.
Another point worth mentioning is that improved efficiency is also the cause of decreasing demand
. Unfortunately I am not able to find an actual percentage breakout, but I would guess that it is not insignificant due to recent trends like LED lighting. Accordingly, I think it would be unfair to exclude the efficiency improvement portion from the mix and then say that Germany was getting less green because of an increased coal mix. We should be comparing the work accomplished by electricity, not just raw electricity production.