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German energy giants pull plug on conventional power

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Posted August 19, 2013
Traffic passes in front of the new Neurath lignit coal-fired RWE power station on September 11, 2012 at Grevenbroich

Traffic passes in front of the new Neurath lignit coal-fired RWE power station on September 11, 2012 at Grevenbroich
Traffic passes in front of the new Neurath lignit coal-fired RWE power station on September 11, 2012 at Grevenbroich near Aachen, southern Germany. RWE is shutting six domestic plants and rival E.ON is threatening to relocate to Turkey as the sector tots up the cost of the government’s energy policy turnaround.

German power company RWE is shutting six domestic plants and rival E.ON is threatening to relocate to Turkey as the sector tots up the cost of the government’s energy policy turnaround.

Ever since Chancellor Angela Merkel announced a phase-out of nuclear energy over the next decade and pledged to generate as much as 80 percent of the country’s electricity from renewables by 2050, big question marks have been hanging over the future of coal and gas-fired plants in Germany.

Merkel, seeking a third term in general elections on September 22, is a staunch supporter of this hugely popular policy move.

But the turnaround is depriving utilities, including market leaders RWE and E.ON, of massive profits from their atomic plants and turning their gas and coal-fired stations into loss-makers as they are sidelined by rival renewable sources of energy.

Last week, the two biggest players in the German sector unveiled steep drops in profits, and “many of our plants are operating at a loss,” complained RWE’s finance chief Bernhard Guenther.

Indeed, RWE announced that it would shut down a number of plants—representing combined capacity of 4,300 megawatts—in both Germany and the Netherlands. And more could follow, Guenther warned.

The networks agency that oversees such closures has received 15 such applications since the end of 2012, according to a spokeswoman.

Read more at: Phys.org

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