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1.1 GW lignite plant project to be cancelled – RWE official

Power

11 Sept 2018 12:15

Bonn

11 Sept 2018 12:15

(Montel) RWE is likely to cancel one (1.1 GW) of Germany’s two last proposed coal-fired power plant projects, despite an ongoing approvals process, an executive at the country’s biggest power producer told Montel on Tuesday.

“Formally we have not cancelled the approval application, but if one is honest, the likelihood that this plant will be built is very slim,” said Roger Miesen, CEO of RWE Generation, the business segment that operates the company’s hard coal and gas units. 

The proposed 1,100 MW lignite-fired Niederaussem L project is part of a renewal programme that would replace ageing assets at the site in the western German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. 

RWE would curb the carbon emissions of its German coal plant fleet by 40-50% by 2030, Miesen told an energy conference in Munich organised by the publishers of the Süddeutsche Zeitung.  

This would be a natural consequence of the country’s expansion of renewable energy, which would make coal generation increasingly unprofitable. 

“No new plants”
“Certainly no new coal plants will be built,” Miesen added. “Everything that leaves now is gone.”

The admission comes amid growing pressure in Germany to wind back the country’s reliance on coal. 

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government has resigned itself to the likelihood it will fail to reach its 2020 climate target, which calls for a 40% reduction in emissions below 1990 levels.

Berlin has set up a commission to propose a way and deadline for exiting coal fairly. The government aims to pass a climate law based on the recommendations that are due by the end of this year. 

The law should close the gap with the climate target as much as possible and set policies for other sectors of the economy to ensure the country’s emissions fall 55% by 2030.    

An RWE manager first told Montel in 2016 Niederaussem L was unlikely to be built but was unwilling to speak on the record.

Germany’s BDEW energy industry association lists only one other proposed new coal plant to be built in the country: the 1,000 MW hard coal-fired Stade unit of Dow Chemicals in northern Germany. 

Uniper’s long-delayed Datteln 4 (1,050 MW) project may prove the final new German coal unit when it comes online. It is presently expected in 2020, around a decade behind schedule.

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