The head of RWE generation believes half of German capacity reserve will be drawn from his company’s lignite coal-fired power plant fleet.

The coal plants will backbone the country’s renewable power-based drive according to RWE Generation Chief Executive Officer Matthias Hartung, who said, “Further talks will show how many of our blocks will go into the reserve. We assume that the distribution of 2.7 GW will be roughly according to the current distribution of lignite power generation in Germany.”
Matthias Hartung
Lignite plants can apply to be included in the capacity reserve from 2017.

The plants will be paid to supply electricity during times of power shortages, a potentially more common situation given the intermittency of wind and solar power. While the plants won’t be allowed to sell on the market, they won’t have to buy extra European Union emission permits from that year, as originally planned for coal-power plants that are more than 20 years old.

Germany’s government parties reached a compromise earlier this month to cut carbon emissions by giving some of the dirtiest lignite plants until 2021 to shut permanently. RWE said being required to buy the additional carbon permits would have resulted in closing 17 of its 20 lignite plants and two of its three open-cast mines.

Lignite’s share in Germany’s electricity production rose to 25.6 percent in 2014 from 25.4 percent a year before, data from German utility lobby BDEW show. In the same period the share of renewable energy climbed to 25.8 percent from 24.1 percent.