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German minister wants new fossil-fuel plants at old nuclear reactor sites

Germany's minister for the economy, Philipp Roesler, said he envisagesnew fossil-fuel power plants at the sites of decommissioned old nuclear powerfacilities, as the country needs to fill the gap left following its decisionto phase out nuclear power generation by 2022.

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"All the necessary grid connections are already there," Roesler, who isalso vice-chancellor, said Wednesday during a visit to the European EnergyExchange in Leipzig.

The market will decide whether the new plants should be coal andgas-fired plants, he added, according to a report by state broadcaster ARD.

According to the ministry, new fossil-fueled power plants with acapacity of 10 GW are currently under construction and will come online by2013.

However, Germany needs another 10 GW of new flexible power plantcapacity by 2020 to satisfy demand, the ministry estimates.

Germany may get help from Russia in financing some of the new plantcapacity. Russian energy minister Sergei Shmatko told German dailySueddeutschen Zeitung earlier this week that his country is ready to buildand operate power plants with German partners.

The Russian minister echoed the German ministry's estimates that around10 GW of new plant capacity is needed in Germany over the coming 10 years dueto the nuclear exit decision, according to the report.

"We are ready to finance projects on that scale," the Russian energyminister said in an interview with the paper. According to industry sources,plans on such a scale may cost up to Eur15 billion ($20 billion).

Russian gas major Gazprom is currently in exclusive talks with Germany'sbiggest power generator RWE about a possible joint-venture operating powerplants in Germany, the Benelux countries and the UK.

--Andreas Franke, andreas_franke@platts.com