Germany to rely on coal-fired power for backup should it need additional electricity after closing 41% of its nuclear generation; after March 2013, reserve power won't be needed due to new renewable energy capacity, says regulator

LOS ANGELES , August 31, 2011 () – Coal-fired power plants will provide back up electricity should Germany need it during the winter months, said the country’s energy regulator on Wednesday, reported Reuters on Aug. 31.

Nuclear power generating capacity will not have to be reactivated, said Matthias Kurth, president of the federal network agency. He was under a Sept. 1 deadline to come up with a plan to avert possible blackouts.

Germany closed 8,800 megawatts (MW), or 41%, of its nuclear power capacity suddenly after the Japan nuclear disaster earlier this year. So far, the loss has been absorbed.

Under the contingency plan, certain coal-fired plants will be on standby to provide power if needed. This standby power amounts to 1,009 MW in Germany and 1,075 MW in Austria, said Kurth, Reuters reported.

The German plants involved are, the 220-MW GKM coal-fired unit at a Mannheim power plant; the 350-MW gas-fired block 2 at Mainz-Wiesbaden power plant; and hard-coal fired block C at the Ensdorf power plant, according to a written statement.

Utilities E.ON AG, RWE AG and MVV Energy Group jointly own GKM, while Mainz-Wiesbaden is publically held and Ensdorf belongs to RWE, reported Reuters.

Kurth previously said nuclear power might have to be restarted in Baden Wuerttemberg, Bavaria or Hesse state, unless other alternatives were readied.

Last Friday, Baden Wuerttenberg offered to allow GKM 3.

North-Rhine Westphalia state still needs to permit blocks 1 and 3 of E.ON’s Datteln plan until it starts running the new coal-to-power block 4. In addition a new high-voltage line has to be finished between Hamburg and Schwerin, in northern Germany, said Kurth, Reuters reported.

He also said that Hesse state should consider if E.ON’s Staudinger 3 coal-fired unit will operate between Dec. 31, 2012 and March 31, 2013, until a new unit is completed.
After March 2013, standby power won’t be needed as enough new renewable power capacity would have started up by then, said Kurth.

But, before Germany can start relying on renewable energy, individual states must approve requirements for a line that will come onstream to transmit the old capacity, reported Reuters.

The primary source of this article is Reuters, London, England, on Aug. 31, 2011.

* All content is copyrighted by Industry Intelligence, or the original respective author or source. You may not recirculate, redistrubte or publish the analysis and presentation included in the service without Industry Intelligence's prior written consent. Please review our terms of use.