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Update: Mehrum hard coal-fired power plant is back online


Mehrum power plant has been out of the grid reserve and back in operation since 1 August 2022. The plant's reactivation is reflected in the figures for generation by the individual power plants.

Update from 9 August 2022:

Mehrum hard coal-fired power station in Hohenhameln, Lower Saxony, is the first plant from the grid reserve to come back onto the grid. The changes introduced by the Maintenance of Substitute Power Stations Act (EKBG), and especially the changes to sections 50a-50j of the Energy Industry Act (EnWG), allow additional electricity generation capacity, including hard coal and lignite plant capacity, to be activated for a temporary period until 31 March 2024. The aim behind reactivating coal-fired power plants is to make it possible to temporarily reduce generation by gas-fired power stations.

Mehrum power station, which was built in 1979, has a net installed capacity of 690 MW and was mothballed into the grid reserve in December 2021.

The figures for generation* on the German electricity market page reflect the plant's reactivation:

*Figures for generation by the individual power plants are published five days after generation.

Power plant closures in 2021, (as at 14 January 2022)

The energy transition also means the end to nuclear power, which is regulated in Germany's Atomic Energy Act. The 13th amendment to this Act from 2011 required three more nuclear power plants to permanently close down by the end of December 2021: Gundremmingen (with a rated capacity of 1,288 MW), Brokdorf (1,410 MW) and Grohnde (1,360 MW). A total 4,058 MW of installed generating capacity was taken off the grid at the end of 2021.

Gundremmingen B nuclear power plant (1,284 MW) was shut down in 2017, and the C plant has now closed. The C plant (1,288 MW) began operating in 1984 and closed down after 37 years at the end of last year. The A plant only operated until 1977.
Brokdorf and Grohnde nuclear power plants were operational for 35 and 36 years respectively and have now permanently closed.

Germany has only three nuclear power plants left in operation with a total installed generating capacity of 4,056 MW.

Three lignite-fired power plants and three hard coal-fired power plants also shut down at the end of last year in accordance with the Act to Reduce and End Coal-Fired Power Generation (KVBG).

The lignite plants with a combined capacity of 910 MW are Niederaußem C (295 MW), Neurath B (294 MW) and Weisweiler E (321 MW). All of them had operated for more than 49 years.

Three hard coal power plants –Mehrum (690 MW), Wilhelmshaven (757 MW) and Deuben (67 MW) – have been banned from operating with coal since the beginning of December 2021 as a result of the second round of tendering under the KVBG. Mehrum power plant is now part of the grid reserve (section 26(2) KVBG).
Mehrum and Wilhelmshaven power plants had been producing electricity since 1979 and 1976 respectively. Deuben power plant had been the longest in operation – since 1936.

The coal plant closures are regulated by the KVBG. While the legislation sets the final closure dates for large lignite power plants, it provides for a tendering process to achieve a gradual reduction in capacity for hard coal and small lignite plants. Further information can be found in The phase-out of coal under the Act to Reduce and End Coal-Fired Power Generation.

Figures on generation by power plants with a rated capacity of more than 100 MW are available on the SMARD website at German electricity market – Power plant list; figures are published five days after generation. The figures can be viewed using various filters, including energy source and company.

The figures can also be exported in different formats at Data download – Download power plant data.

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