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German companies to close coal units with 817 MW capacity


Steag to close 507 MW Luenen units by March 2019

Enervie to close 310 MW Werdohl-Elverlingsen unit

Coal generation margins at record-low as coal, CO2 rise

London — German coal-fired power plant operators Steag and Enervie plan to close three more units with a combined capacity of 817 MW, the companies said in separate statements Friday.

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Steag plans to close the two remaining coal units at Luenen (unit 6 and 7) with a combined capacity of 517 MW in March 2019, it said adding that it has filed the closure request to German grid regulator BNetzA.

Luenen is located in North-Rhine Westphalia, where three other Steag units (Voerde 1 and 2, Herne 3) were not judged as system-critical and therefore came offline last year.

Last month, Steag already announced plans to summer-mothball its 195 MW coal-fired power plant at Voelklingen in the Saar region on the border to France. That unit will be offline between April and September this year and next, it said.

Meanwhile, local utility Enervie said it plans to shut its 310 MW coal-fired power plant at Werdohl-Elverlingsen by end-March.

The plant, which started operations in 1982 but was only running for 780 hours last year, is also located in the state of North-Rhine Westphalia, but outside the Rhine-Ruhr region which only recently got connected to the regional grid, making it less likely to be judged as system-critical.


German coal-fired generation margins have fallen to record lows with the clean dark spread for a 35% efficient coal unit for 2019 now below minus Eur2/MWh amid gains for coal as well as EUA carbon allowances, S&P Global Platts data show.

Output from German hard-coal-fired power plants fell 16% in 2017 to 83 TWh, mainly due to coal plant closures on the back of worsening generation margins.

However, coal plants registered their best month in over a year in February as colder and less windy weather increased demand with hard coal plant output averaging around 14 GW, according to TSO data.

Coal-fired capacity from plants commissioned after 1975 amounts to over 22 GW with an additional 3 GW of pre-1975 plants still in operation, data from Platts Analytics show.

Power plant operators in Germany have to register power plant closures at least one year in advance with the grid regulator, which has to analyze with the grid operator whether the plant is needed for the stability of the power grid, which is more relevant in southern Germany.

--Andreas Franke,
--Edited by Maurice Geller,

(Corrects Enervie unit closure date to March 2018)