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October 29, 2018updated 19 Nov 2018 2:21pm

Vattenfall to convert German coal power plants to gas or biomass fuels

Swedish energy company Vattenfall is reportedly planning to convert its German-based coal power plants to use gas or biomass fuels to meet the government’s deadline of phasing out coal-fired power plants.

Swedish energy company Vattenfall is reportedly planning to convert its German-based coal power plants to use gas or biomass fuels to meet the government’s deadline of phasing out coal-fired power plants.

German power companies are facing stiff challenges and have already exited the nuclear power sector and expanded their respective renewable energy portfolios, according to Reuters.

Currently, Vattenfall operates 2.9GW coal-fired power plants in Germany, including the Moorburg site that generates 1.7GW power to meet 80% electricity needs of the Hamburg district.

Vattenfall board member Tuomo Hatakka told Reuters: “How long Moorburg will run significantly depends on what the coal commission decides.

“We will also examine alternatives for how to shape Moorburg’s future, for example through the use of biomass. We are at a very early stage in this process.”

The closure of the Moorburg coal-fired power plant could create a major impact on Vattenfall, as the company is said to have invested €2.8bn ($3.2bn) in the plant.

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"We will also examine alternatives for how to shape Moorburg’s future, for example through the use of biomass. We are at a very early stage in this process."

It is also estimated that the conversion of the coal power plants to gas or biomass could also lead to a decline in power generation capacity.

The German Government has appointed a commission, which will be making an announcement later this December regarding phasing out of coal plants in the country.

Hatakka further explained that the company is also planning to close Reuter West and Moabit coal-fired stations by 2030, and is expected to partially replace them with the industrial waste heat, biomass, waste burning, power-to-heat, and gas technologies.

Certain power companies in Germany including EnBW, RWE, and Uniper are reported to have begun the upgrade works at their coal power plants to minimise the impact on earnings due to the closure.

Uniper is said to have been investing €100m to equip the 828MW coal-fired Scholven plant with gas turbines by 2022.

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