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14 Oct 2022, 13:56
Julian Wettengel

Germany continues coal exit auctions amid energy crisis

Clean Energy Wire

The sixth tender for early shutdowns of hard coal plants in Germany was undersubscribed and only one plant was successful, the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) has said. As part of its plan to end coal-fired power generation by 2038 at the latest, Germany had introduced auctions for operators to receive remuneration for shutting their plants down early. Despite efforts to extend the operation of coal power plants in the short term to help Germany secure its power supply in the face of the energy crisis, the country continues to hold the auctions. “Despite the current difficult situation on the energy markets, the long-term goal remains to gradually reduce and end coal-fired power generation in Germany,” said BNetzA head Klaus Müller. The plants in this current round of tender only had to be shut down in two and a half years, so they “will still fully contribute to a stable electricity supply in the next two winter periods”, said Müller. Because the tender was undersubscribed, BNetzA had to force shutdown of another unit – carmaker VW’s Heizkraftwerk West. The decision was based on the age of the plant, which VW intends to shut down earlier, anyway.

Germany has passed legislation to end coal-fired power generation by 2038 at the latest and agreed on a shutdown schedule for individual lignite power plants as well as compensation payments for operators. For hard coal, meanwhile, the coal exit law foresees auctions for plant operators to take capacity off the grid according to the government's timetable. The new government coalition wants to pull forward the coal exit, "ideally" to 2030.

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