September 8, 2020 Read More →

Vattenfall wants to close 1.6GW Moorburg coal plant in Germany

Clean Energy Wire:

Swedish utility Vattenfall wants to shut down its youngest and most efficient coal-fired power plant in Germany because it is unprofitable. After participating in the first hard coal phase-out tender, CEO Magnus Hall said that if his company’s bid is successful, the 1.6 gigawatt Moorburg plant in the city of Hamburg would either partially or entirely cease operations by the middle of next year.

Energy company Vattenfall may close down its newest and largest coal-fired power station in Germany, CEO Magnus Hall has told Süddeutsche Zeitung. The coal plant Moorburg in Hamburg, with a capacity of 1.6 gigawatt, only started operations in 2015 after years of struggle with local environmental groups. Hall said that the Moorburg plant had – with parts or its entire capacity – participated in the first tender for a shut-down premium for hard coal-fired power stations, which is part of Germany’s coal exit plan, and would close down operations in the middle of 2021 if its bid is successful.

“This was a difficult decision because it is a young and highly efficient power plant,” Hall told Süddeutsche Zeitung. “But if you are losing money with it, you have to do something.”

According to Vattenfall, the plant emitted 4.7 million tonnes of CO2 last year and could continue to operate until 2038. But the company’s own target is to stop the use of fossil fuels, including coal, by 2030.

This first round of Germany’s hard-coal phase-out tenders is designed to take some 4 gigawatts of capacity off the grid. The results will be announced in December. Under the shut-down scheme, utilities offer a bid for how much money they are willing to stop operations of their plants, taking into account their projected future earnings.

The Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) organises the auctions. A spokesperson told Clean Energy Wire that successful bidders in this first round of auction will be prohibited from selling power on the market from January 2021. They will then be prohibited from burning coal from July – the date mentioned by Vattenfall’s Hall.

[Kerstine Appunn]

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