Second coal power plant to return to full service in Germany
Following the reactivation of the coal-fired power plant in Hohenhameln, a second power plant is set to return to full service in Germany. Following new regulations aimed at preserving Germany’s limited gas supply, several other coal power plants are set to return to service in the coming weeks.
German coal power plants set to return to service
At the beginning of August, the Mehrum coal-fired power plant in Hohenhameln, Lower Saxony - owned by Czech energy company EPH - returned to service as Germany moves to conserve its gas supplies for winter. Now, a second coal power plant is due to return to service next week, following an announcement from plant operator Uniper.
The Heyden plant in Petershagen, North Rhine-Westphalia, is now scheduled to return to service from August 29 until the end of April next year, Uniper announced on Monday. The plant is one of Germany’s most powerful coal-fired power plants, being able to produce 875 megawatts of power. The plant first began operating in 1987.
More coal power plants set to start operating again
Germany has previously announced that it plans to phase out coal-powered energy by 2038 at the latest. However, due to the war in Ukraine, and the very real threat of reduced gas imports from Russia, a regulation has been in place since July 14 that allows coal-fired power plants from Germany’s “grid reserve” to return to full service. Previously, power plants on grid reserve only produced electricity to ensure stability on the country’s power grid.
More power plants on reserve are set to return to service in the coming weeks, something the government says will help fill Germany’s gas storage facilities. Essen-based energy company Steag has announced that it also intended to bring reserve plants back into action, according to the Handelsblatt newspaper.
The Federal Network Agency, Germany’s energy regulator, revealed that gas power accounted for 9,8 percent of all electricity generated in July. However, when it comes to heating homes, gas is the most common fuel.
Economic minister calls on people to reduce energy consumption
The flow of Russian gas has reduced significantly since Russia invaded Ukraine, with Russia blaming essential repairs on the Nord Stream 1 pipeline as the reason. Vice-Chancellor Robert Habeck has called on the public to not panic in the face of gas shortages during the winter. He stated that if households and businesses reduce their consumption by 15 to 20 percent, "then we have a really good chance of getting through the winter".
Habeck also noted that even if Russia was to completely stop supplying gas, Germany would still have access to the fuel. He explained that Norway and the Netherlands are now providing Germany with gas, and new LNG terminals are due to start operating by the start of next year.