FRANKFURT — Germany’s Steag gave details on Friday about the return and operation of 2,500 megawatts (MW) of coal-fired power station capacity to the wholesale market to help boost energy supplies this winter, while Uniper also delayed closure of one plant.
The utilities’ extra capacity will help offset sky-high prices amid concerns about the availability of fuel imports from Russia.
Steag said the 726 megawatt (MW) Bexbach coal-to-power plant would return to operation from a grid reserve status on Oct. 28, and the 656 MW Weiher would return on Oct. 31, detailing plans already foreshadowed on Sept. 27.
Both sites are in Germany’s southwestern Saarland state and can together supply four million households with power.
In addition, Steag’s 717 MW Bergkamen plant in the Ruhr region and two more Saarland plants, MKV and HKV at Voelklingen-Fenne with a joint capacity of 390 MW, will remain in the market, having previously been earmarked for closure on Oct. 31.
Steag said it had informed the federal network regulatory agency, power transmission grid company Amprion and the EEX power exchange of its intentions.
“We can make a significant contribution to saving natural gas in the current crisis and thus contribute to avoiding a real gas emergency situation,” said board chairman Andreas Reichel.
The total power capacity is equivalent to just under 4% of German power generation in 2021 and to one third of electricity generated from natural gas last year, Steag said.
Steps to ensure coal feedstock have been taken and transport options, including rail and barge transports, have been arranged, it added.
Sector peers Uniper and RWE have also resurrected coal capacity or are planning to do so.
Uniper on Friday said its 345 MW Scholven coal plant will stay in the market after Oct. 31 to safeguard power and heat supply in the Ruhr region, at least this winter, rather than being retired.
The role of Scholven C will be to serve as a safety net behind the Scholven block B, also of 345 MW, and of the district heating plant FKW Buer with 70 MW capacity at Uniper’s Gelsenkirchen power station site, it said. (Reporting by Vera Eckert; Editing by Mark Potter and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)