In Germany, another coal-fired power plant has been taken from the reserve to reduce the consumption of natural gas in electricity production. The Heyden power plant in Petershagen in North Rhine-Westphalia on the border with Lower Saxony has been back on the grid regularly since Monday morning at 5.30 a.m., said a spokesman for the operator Uniper. The environmental association Greenpeace meanwhile described the recommissioning of coal-fired power plants for the power supply as necessary. “It is bitter, but unavoidable, that coal-fired power plants that have already been shut down go back on line,” said Karsten Smid, climate and energy expert at Greenpeace, on Monday. “In order to free themselves from the politically indebted dependence on Putin’s gas supplies, hard coal-fired power plants have to step into the breach for a short time.” To ensure that this does not become a step backwards for climate protection, the additional emissions that are now inevitably occurring must be offset in the following years, said Smid.
However, Greenpeace called for the start-up of lignite-fired power plants for the power supply to be avoided. “In order to ensure a secure power supply, not a single one of the particularly climate-damaging lignite-fired power plants has to be started up again – in order to achieve the climate targets that have been decided, they must under no circumstances be fired up again,” said Smid. “The high prices for gas and electricity force energy to be used sparingly and make wind and solar power unbeatably cheap,” said the Greenpeace expert. According to the company, the Uniper power plant in Heyden, which was put back into operation on Monday, is one of the most powerful coal-fired power plants in Germany with an output of 875 megawatts. It went into operation in 1987 and was last in the network reserve. This means that it only occasionally produced electricity for grid stability. According to earlier information, it should now be back on the market by the end of April 2023.
Since July 14, an ordinance has allowed hard coal-fired power plants from the so-called grid reserve to be put back into operation for a limited period of time in order to save gas. According to the Federal Network Agency, gas accounted for 9.8 percent of power generation in July. At the beginning of August, the Mehrum power plant in Hohenhameln, Lower Saxony, which belongs to the Czech energy group EPH, was the first hard coal-fired power plant to be pulled from the reserve.
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