Germany grants licence to new coal plant

A new 725MW coal plant was granted an operating licence in Germany last Friday. Now undergoing trial operations, the tenth unit at the Walsum plant in west Germany is run […]

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By Vicky Ellis

A new 725MW coal plant was granted an operating licence in Germany last Friday.

Now undergoing trial operations, the tenth unit at the Walsum plant in west Germany is run by German generation firm Steag, one of Germany’s largest electricity producers with Austrian-based supplier EVN as a partner.

It’s a sign the country may look to coal to make up the shortfall left by backing away from nuclear power although the plant was planned long before the Government’s energy policy u-turn.

A spokesperson for Steag said the plant’s commission “is of great importance” to the company. With an efficiency of more than 45%, it claims Walsum 10 will be one of the most modern and efficient hard coal power plants in the world.

Speaking in April, the firm’s Technology Director Dr Ralf Gilgen said thermal power plants will “still be indispensable for security of supply until at least 2050 – and particularly so in the context of the move to renewables”.

At the same time the firm announced the “greater part” of its generating capacity has already been secured by long-term contracts.

Despite this the firm says conditions for coal fired plants in Germany have become significantly worse in the short term, mainly as a result of the priority given to feed-in from renewables.

Steag said the coal used across all of its plants comes from Columbia, South Africa, USA, Poland and Russia.