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RWE to close more coal-fired power plants

World Coal,

Up to 1 GW in coal-fired power is set to be shuttered across Germany, as utility company RWE announces plans to close power generation units at three different power plant sites.

In a statement, RWE Generation said that 110 MW of the Goldenbergwerk lignite power plant will close in Hürth by Q1 2015. At the beginning of 2016, the 285 MW Unit C of the Westfalen hard coal power plant in Hamm will follow.

While the German Federal Network Agency has already been informed of these measures, RWE said that – if market conditions do not change – part of the hard coal fuelled Unit K of the Gersteinwerk plant in Werne will also cease operations in Q1 2017. This would remove a further 110 MW of power from the grid.

In addition to these closures, further supply contracts are set to be terminated at the end of 2014 – amounting to around 470 MW.

As the units are closed, RWE said it expected to cut around 180 jobs from the three power plants. The company also said it maintained a watchful eye on its operations and market conditions and would close or mothball power generation units as it saw fit, if they were deemed unprofitable.

In a statement, RWE said: “The ongoing expansion of renewable energy is increasingly leading to reductions in the utilisation of conventional power plants. At the same time, wholesale prices for electricity have been in freefall for some time, and are now at only around €0.35/kWh. The price has thus almost halved in the past three years. In view of this, RWE Generation has decided since 2013 to reduce capacity now by around 9000 MW in Germany and the Netherlands. In the UK, RWE’s generating capacity will have been reduced by around 5000 MW by the end of March 2015 due to environmental regulatory requirements.”

“This trend on the continental European market shows how necessary it is to properly pay providers of supply security for that service. It is therefore a welcome development that the political discussion about a new market design is starting to gain traction. The market should be designed in such a way that security of supply can be guaranteed at affordable costs, in a market-oriented manner, with no restrictions on technology and no discrimination. Only in this way can electricity supply for Germany as an industrial location remain affordable and reliable. These requirements are met by the “decentralised capacity market” developed by the BDEW and VKU,” RWE concluded. 

Adapted from press release by Sam Dodson

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