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Boiler damage delays Germany's 1.1 GW Datteln 4 coal plant to 2020


1.1 GW coal plant delayed two years

Boiler damage caused by testing

Q1 sales up, earnings down

London — Commissioning of Uniper's Datteln 4 coal fired power plant in Germany has been pushed back to summer 2020, the generator said Tuesday in its first-quarter results statement.

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Commercial operation of the 1.1-GW plant, the only coal-fired power station in construction in Western Europe, was due to commence in Q4 2019, but initial testing of the plant in 2017 resulted in damage to the boiler in conjunction with the use of T24 steel.

The damage has since been under review, Uniper said, and initial findings "indicate that the boiler walls will have to be replaced to remedy the damage."

"This will delay the plant's planned commissioning, which will now presumably take place in the summer of 2020," it said.

A non-operating impairment charge of Eur270 million ($322 million) was recognized for the power station in Q1 2018.

A 30% year on year increase in Q1 European Generation sales to Eur2.9 billion was supported by improved hydroelectric conditions at the beginning of the year in Sweden and Germany, Uniper said.

Global Commodity sales were down 2% to Eur21.55 billion, with low temperatures in the second half of the quarter leading to increased demand for gas products, triggering "extreme price fluctuations at individual gas trading points," it said.

Adjusted earnings from European Generation fell 18% to Eur186 million, while that for Global Commodities fell 42% to Eur134 million.

Reduced earnings in generation were due to lower power prices from fossil-fired generation "and lower prices for nuclear and hydro generation volumes that had been hedged in the past," Uniper said.

Decommissioning of the Maasvlakte 1 and 2 coal units in the Netherlands, and the Oskarshamn 1 nuclear plant in Sweden, had additional negative impacts on earnings, it said.

--Henry Edwardes-Evans,
--Edited by Jonathan Dart,