News
07 Dec 2018, 10:05
Sören Amelang

Coal shortage at power plants due to low river levels may persist over the winter

Low water levels on the Rhine and other rivers following the extremely dry summer continue to have a strong impact on Germany’s coal power supply, according to an argus report. “The situation could curb coal-fired power generation over the winter, lifting gas-fired output at times when demand for German fossil-fuel generation is firm,” states the report.
Transporting a tonne of coal from Rotterdam to Mannheim on the Rhine currently costs around 40 euros, compared to usual rates of 5-6 euros, according to the report. Less than 20 percent of barges can pass the river’s narrowest point at present, and an increase in rail deliveries cannot make up for the shortfall. Swedish utility Vattenfall last week said its coal plants in Berlin were also affected by insufficient supply. These were “the first coal-fired plants in more northerly locations to be severely affected by the situation,” according to argus.

For background, read the article Germany’s power system weathers heat wave despite fossil plant curbs.

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