• German auctions for coal plant closures oversubscribed

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      Patrick Lavery

      Combustion Industry News Editor

Germany’s programme to close all coal-fired power plants has taken another step in its roll-out, with the government energy regulator issuing permits for the closure of 1,514 MW of black coal generating capacity to close on 8 December this year. The decision of which plants to close is informed by a series of auctions, during which plant owners are asked the monetary figure at which they would be prepared to close. A maximum price per MW of generation capacity for compensation to owners is set by the regulator, encouraging owners to bid under the maximum to ‘win’ the auction.

No compensation will be paid to owners after 2027, giving a strong incentive for closure prior to the final coal phase-out date of 2038 – in fact, the most recent auction was oversubscribed; the highest award lay significantly below the maximum price. While the maximum price had been set at €155,000/MW (US$183,000/MW), the highest awarded was €59,000/MW (US$70,000/MW). Going offline this December will be Uniper’s 757 MW Wilhelmshaven plant on the North Sea coast and EPH’s Mehrum and Deuben power plants, the capacities of which are 690 MW and 67 MW respectively. Another auction is to conclude this month.