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29 Apr 2024, 13:20
Carolina Kyllmann

Eastern German coal mine operator plans to build hydrogen-ready gas power plant

Clean Energy Wire

Eastern Germany’s largest lignite mine operator, LEAG, is ready to build one of Germany's first hydrogen-ready gas power plants. The company said the gas turbine power plant would have a capacity of 870 megawatts (MW) and construction could begin as early as 2025. However, LEAG said it has not yet made an investment decision, as this would depend on specific tender criteria to be spelled out in the government's power plant strategy and require an agreement on state support by the EU. Hydrogen-ready gas plants are considered crucial to guarantee electricity supply security as the share of intermittent renewable energy increases and coal is phased out by 2038 at the very latest.

The gas power plant is expected to take around six years to build in the Schwarze Pumpe industrial park and could be connected to the grid by 2030, LEAG said. The location offers "optimal starting conditions," including an existing access to the natural gas grid. The plant is also supposed to become part of Germany's future hydrogen core network.

LEAG is planning a far-reaching conversion to renewable energies in the coal-mining region of Lusatia. In February, the German government agreed on a much-awaited power plant strategy, which is meant to create the right investment framework for new hydrogen-ready gas-fired power plants. As they would only run intermittently and fuel prices are comparatively high, there is currently no business case for companies to build them. A recent report found that the implementation of Germany’s hydrogen plans lagging behind schedule. Currently, production facilities with a capacity of only 0.3 gigawatts (GW) are being built or in the final stages of investment decision, compared to a 2030 target capacity of 10 GW.

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