German coal exit on its way with first plants off the grid
Clean Energy Wire / WDR
Germany has officially begun its coal exit as the first lignite and hard coal plants were taken off the grid on 31 December, reports public broadcaster WDR. Six hard coal plants with a combined capacity of 4.7 gigawatt are no longer allowed to sell electricity on the market and are set to be completely shut down over the coming months, unless the federal network agency (BNetzA) deems them crucial for supply security and therefore orders them to remain available as backup.
Energy company RWE took the first lignite unit as part of the coal exit offline, it said in a press release. The 300 megawatt unit D at power plant Niederaußem is part of the total of 2.8 gigawatt lignite capacity which the company is set to take off the grid by 2022.
Germany’s coal exit is based on a compromise reached by a national coal exit commission, and was finally decided by parliament in mid-2020. The first auction for the decommissioning of hard coal plants had been hailed as a success both by coal plant operators and climate activists in December.