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German Coal Plants May Have To Remain On Standby Longer Than Planned

The German government is considering whether to extend the period in which old coal-fired power plants would be asked to remain on standby for emergency backup beyond the currently planned deadline in the spring of 2024, German business daily Handelsblatt reported this weekend, citing a spokeswoman for the economy ministry.

Without Russian gas, last year’s energy and gas crisis in Germany, and in Europe, has been keeping utilities and governments on edge and ready to have mothballed coal-fired power plants on stand-by in the coldest winter days to ensure the security of electricity supply.

Earlier this month, Germany’s government said it was bringing back online several coal-fired units for this winter in an attempt to save natural gas and avoid power supply shortfalls.

Several coal-fired blocks operated by RWE and LEAG at their Niederaußem, Neurath, and Jaenschwalde power plants will be temporarily reactivated until March 2024 as a precautionary measure to safeguard electricity supply in the coming winter, the Economy and Climate Action Ministry said, referring to a government decision to bring the coal-fired units online again.

Those coal units were already operational during the 2022/2023 winter when Germany was shocked into a severely reduced gas supply with the end of Russian pipeline deliveries. The backup coal capacity was put on stand-by this summer until the government now decided to reactivate them for the coming winter.

Now the German government is considering extending the stand-by period beyond the spring of 2024 to prevent energy shortages, according to Handelsblatt’s source.

The government needs to take a decision soon because utilities need to make preparations for potentially running coal-fired plants longer than planned, including preparations in procuring coal and planning for stable energy systems, a spokesperson for Uniper told Handelsblatt.

As of this month, 11 coal-fired power plants with a total capacity of 6.2 gigawatts (GW) have been supplying additional electricity to the German grid.

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By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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  • DeweyRagans on October 23 2023 said:
    Should always keep coal plants around, guaranteed protection.

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