October 30, 2018 Read More →

Vattenfall plans for coal-free German power sector


Vattenfall is considering converting its German coal-fired power stations to use fuels including gas or biomass as utility companies in the country brace for a government deadline for phasing out coal altogether.

Vattenfall, owned by the Swedish state, operates 2.9 gigawatts (GW) of coal-fired power stations in Germany, including the 1.7 GW Moorburg site that only opened three years ago and supplies 80 percent of Hamburg’s electricity.

The way German power station operators deal with their coal assets is crucial for investors, jittery ahead of a December announcement from a government-appointed commission about how coal plants will be phased out of Europe’s largest economy. “How long Moorburg will run significantly depends on what the coal commission decides,” Vattenfall board member Tuomo Hatakka told Reuters.

An accelerated shutdown of Moorburg would be a major blow to Vattenfall, which spent 2.8 billion euros ($3.2 billion) on the plant. Converting coal-fired plants to fuels such as gas or biomass would also lead to marked drop in generating capacity.

Hatakka also said Vattenfall was planning to shut its Reuter West and Moabit coal-fired stations no later than 2030 and partially replace them with industrial waste heat, waste burning, biomass, power-to-heat and gas technology.

The use of coal to generate electricity in Germany is on the wane but it is still the most commonly used fuel. In 2017, coal and lignite, or brown coal, accounted for 37 percent of power production, down from 46 percent a decade ago

More: Vattenfall looks to gas and biomass as end of coal power looms

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