Germany’s decision to back coal power to provide the country’s energy security as it heads towards a renewable future is seen as a ‘sensible’ decision by RWE, who last week opened the 2200 MW Niederaussem coal fired plant outside Cologne.
Coal power plant
Martin Pack, a spokesperson for RWE told Power Engineering International (PEI) that he doesn’t foresee the company building any more coal and gas plants for the time being, but didn’t entirely rule it out. He also said that given the uncertainties associated with renewables, coal and gas are appropriate alternatives.

“Fundamentally we consider lignite-fired electricity generation in the Rhine region to be a sensible and necessary long-term move. But we will not be making any decision to build until we have the appropriate, legally incontestable approvals and are convinced it will be profitable to do so.

“And yes, lignite power plants and gas fired power plants ensure Germany’s energy security because we only can produce 25 per cent of our electricity with renewables, leaving 75 per cent to be generated by fossil power plants.

“The wind doesn’t always blow and the sun won’t always shine so we need backup power plants to secure supply.”

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government says RWE AG (RWE)’s new power plant that can supply 3.4 million homes aids her plan to exit nuclear energy and switch to cleaner forms of generation, despite being fired by coal.

Germany’s largest utilities RWE and EON AG (EOAN) are shunning cleaner-burning natural gas because it’s more costly, while the collapsing cost of carbon permits means there’s little penalty for burning coal.

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