To strengthen the security of electricity supply, energy concerns RWE and Leag have since 1 October, the legal possibility of restarting additional lignite-fired power plants. Five blocks have been prepared for this in recent months, which were previously disconnected from the network, but they were in a state “preparedness for the sake of security”. Now operators can use them again. It is not known yet, when they will take advantage of it.
In the Lusatian coal basin, these are blocks of the Jänschwalde E power plant & F belonging to the Leag concern, and in the Rhine region belonging to RWE Niederaußem E & F oraz Neurath C. Their reintroduction into the energy market has been limited in time – do 30 June 2023 r. In times of energy crisis, lignite-fired units are to help reduce the amount of natural gas used to produce electricity. Their total power is 1,9 gigadata. For comparison: each of the three German nuclear power plants has a capacity of 1,4 do 1,5 gigadata. The restarting of lignite-fired power plants will increase the amount of energy generated from this source in Germany. According to the Fraunhofer Institute of 2022 year comes from lignite almost 19 percentage of all energy consumed in this country.
The companies decide for themselves, when they reconnect their power plants to the grid. The necessary regulation was not passed by the government until the end of September, a published in the official journal 30 September evening. It is not known yet exactly, when the units in Jänschwalde are connected to the network, while the concern RWE informed, that the RWE blocks “should start in the coming days”. Previously, it was planned to finally shut down the Jänschwalde blocks do 30 September 2022 and blocks in the Rhineland to 30 September 2023 According to RWE, the restart of the power plant was preceded by extensive work to prepare the facilities for longer operation with high efficiency. The period of transition of employees to the pre-retirement period has been extended. A spokesman for the Laeg concern said, that maintenance work is costly, and many items had to be replaced. In addition, additional people have been hired. Two coal-fired power plants have recently returned to the energy market. More are to be added in the coming weeks.
Robert Habeck, Minister of Economy and Climate Protection (Greens) described the return of air-polluting coal-fired power plants as bitter news.
In his opinion, however, this return is inevitable due to the consequences of the Russian attack on Ukraine for gas supplies. “the, which is the transition from coal to a year 2030, remains unchanged”, as the German government has assured many times.