Germany enters last year of nuclear, takes reactors and lignite plants offline
Clean Energy Wire
Germany’s nuclear and coal phase-out both took a step towards their completion on the last day of 2021, when the country decommissioned several gigawatts of nuclear and lignite capacity. The three nuclear reactors Grohnde, Gundremmingen C and Brokdorf, with a total capacity of just over four gigawatts (GW), were taken off the grid on 31 December – leaving only three reactors running until the end of 2022 (Isar 2, Emsland and Neckarwestheim 2 – also around 4 GW of combined capacity).
The end of 2021 also brought the shutdown of 300 megawatt (MW) lignite-fired units in the Rhenish lignite mining area -- Neurath B, Niederaussem C and Weisweiler E -- as part of Germany’s coal phase-out. In 2022, another 1,600 MW of lignite power will be decommissioned. “In the period from 2020 to 2022, RWE is shutting down [conventional] power plants with a total capacity of more than 7,000 megawatts,” the company wrote in a press release, adding that it plans to invest 50 billion euros by 2030 in the expansion of renewables, batteries, storage, hydrogen and flexible backup capacities.
At RWE’s Gundremmingen nuclear reactor, around 440 out of 600 employees will stay for the post-operation and dismantling of the site. In the Rhineland mining area, around 3,000 jobs will be cut along the entire process chain of mining, maintenance, administration and power generation, RWE said.