October 2, 2022

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Germany is reactivating another coal plant to save gas

Germany is restarting another backup coal-fired plant next week, trying to save gas reserves for the winter, dpa reports.

The Heyden plant in Petershagen, near Hanover (western Germany), is scheduled to return to the market from August 29 until the end of April next year, the operator Uniper announced on Monday.

Germany plans to phase out coal-based power generation by 2038 at the latest. But the war in Ukraine and the ensuing disruptions in the energy market have led to the reactivation of some plants. Since July 14, a regulation has allowed coal plants in the so-called reserve grid to be fully reactivated to help save gas.

Backup plants produce electricity only when necessary to ensure grid stability.

With a capacity of 875 megawatts, the Heyden plant, which began operating in 1987, is one of the most powerful coal-fired power plants in Germany, according to Uniper.

At the beginning of August, the Mehrum plant in Hohenhameln, owned by the Czech energy group EPH, was the first coal-fired plant back into operation.

Several coal plants that have been put on standby are due to be restarted in the coming weeks amid reduced flows of imported gas from Russia.

Gases represent the largest part of the heating systems of homes in Germany.

Consumers in Germany were notified that the price of gas will double from October 1: “We pass the price increases on to customers”

In Germany, energy suppliers announce that the price of natural gas will increase by more than 100% from October 1. The increase is inevitable due to the additional expenses of hundreds of euros for gas purchases, the companies argue. The representatives of the suppliers warn that the situation is tense and other price increases could follow.

Customers of RheinEnergie, a large energy supplier based in Cologne, will pay 116% more for natural gas from October 1. “Due to the additional costs of over 700 million euros for gas purchases, we have no choice. We pass the price increases on to the customers,” said a company representative.

The price increases, although significant, do not include the tax that will be applied by the state to all natural gas consumers from October 1. The so-called “gas price umlage” is intended to share the additional costs for the replacement of gas from Russia among all users and to prevent insolvency among suppliers, affected by the increase in the price of gas imports.

Germany is storing gas, but it is not known if it will be enough

And other basic providers are working on new rates. Natural gas prices for end customers will continue to rise. For the moment, we do not expect an improvement in the situation on the energy markets, say, for example, the suppliers from the Bavarian capital Munich. One problem is that the price of natural gas has been constantly increasing for months, they explain.

A municipal utility company supplies gas to its customers one to three years in advance. The sooner the raw material is purchased, the more drastic the price increases. Meanwhile, according to the president of the Federal Network Agency, Klaus Muller, Germany’s gas storage facilities are more than 73% full.

Present at a gas summit, hosted in Wiesbaden, Muller showed that the situation is significantly better than in the last weeks and months. He expressed his confidence in reaching the goal of filling the natural gas storage facilities by 75% by September 1. However, from the point of view of the Federal Network Agency, the situation remains tense, because Russia only delivers about 20% of the gas volume guaranteed by the contract, Muller said.

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