Germany plans to mothball inactive coal-fired power plants in the event of a gas supply disruption

A general view of the WINGAS gas storage facility near the northern German town of Rehden January 7, 2009. REUTERS/Christian Charisius/File Photo

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BERLIN, May 24 (Reuters) – Germany plans to use coal-fired power plants that would have been shut down this year and next as backup facilities in the event of a Russian gas supply disruption, sources said on Tuesday. of the Ministry of Economy.

The proposals, drawn up by the ministry as part of precautionary measures in the event of a gas shortage, would run until March 31, 2024 as Germany tries to reduce its dependence on Russian fossil fuels after the invasion of Ukraine. , the sources said.

In particular, gas, which accounted for 15% of electricity production last year, must be given priority for industry and home heating in the event of a bottleneck, which means tapping into the capacity of unused coal to fill the gaps, they said.

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Under this provision, a total of 8.5 gigawatts (GW) of brown coal generation capacity and a small amount of oil generation capacity, all already or expected to be idle in 2022 and 2023, would be licensed by their operators. to supply electricity on demand.

Participation in the system would be voluntary and operators would be compensated with public funds to keep raw materials ready and to provide the necessary technical assistance.

The sources said keeping coal capacity in a state of readiness would not mean the plants would emit additional carbon emissions, stressing the plan would not derail Germany’s overall goal to stop use coal for electricity generation by 2030.

The program would not drive up electricity prices because coal generation is relatively cheaper than using gas, they added.

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Reporting by Reporting by Markus Wacket; Written by Vera Eckert and Madeline Chambers; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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