Germany could allow old coal plants to remain on standby longer than planned – media report
The German government is considering allowing old coal power plants to remain on standby beyond the currently planned spring 2024 to help save gas and ensure supply security when necessary, reported business daily Handelsblatt. The economy ministry (BMWK) is currently in talks about extending the relevant regulation, a spokesperson told the newspaper. Analyst Mirko Schlossarczyk from energy consultancy Enervis said that the situation in Germany is much better this year than in 2022, questioning whether extending the pool of old coal plants on standby was necessary. Coal industry representatives such as the head of energy supplier Steag, Andreas Reichel, call for a speedy decision to ensure that preparations could be made, such as procure coal and potentially conduct safety checks of the plants. Earlier this month, the German government said that it will allow several lignite plans to return to the market this winter to help secure energy supply and save gas.
The energy crisis, fuelled by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, severely limited Germany’s gas supply since early 2022. In response, the government introduced several measures to guarantee supply security, such as bringing old coal plants back online for a limited time or calling on citizens and businesses to save gas. Thanks to a mild winter, Germany managed to avoid large-scale gas shortages in early 2023. The country is now entering its second winter without the Russian gas it once took for granted. But the country is much better prepared than a year ago: gas storage units are nearly full, capacity for alternative imports have been increased, and emergency plans are in place.