Germany’s Uniper to restart coal-fired power plant for electricity generation

German energy giant Uniper SE will restart a hard-coal-fired power plant to produce electricity for the market as Berlin races to secure energy supplies for the winter.

said late Monday that the Heyden 4 hard-coal-fired power plant in Petershagen, near Minden, would start generating electricity from Aug. 29 through April 2023, although an extension is possible depending on German legislation.

Europe has been boosting coal purchases to ensure it can keep power flowing to homes and factories after Russia previously cut gas supplies to the continent.

Germany, which had promised to eliminate coal as a power source by 2030, is among the nations now importing more. Economy Minister Robert Habeck called the increased reliance on coal bitter but necessary.

Uniper had ended commercial operation of the power plant at the end of 2020 as part of its decarbonization plans. Since mid-2021, Heyden 4 served as a reserve power plant, but hasn’t generated any electricity for the market.

The company was due to shut down the power plant permanently in July, but opted otherwise after German authorities said the facility was “systemically relevant” and necessary for the secure supply in the region.

Last week, Russian state-owned energy exporter Gazprom PJSC said it would shut down the Nord Stream natural-gas pipeline to Germany for three days of maintenance later this month, ratcheting up pressure on energy-starved Europe.

Uniper, Germany’s largest importer of Russian gas, has been forced to buy gas on the market where prices are near records after Moscow slashed deliveries to Germany starting in June. The German government last month agreed on a multi-billion-euro rescue package for Uniper and decided to take a 30% stake in the company.

Write to Mauro Orru at; @MauroOrru94

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