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RWE halts early retirements as Germany ramps up coal use to replace Russian gas

22 June 2022

RWE, Germany’s largest energy company, has halted early retirement of employees in reaction to the government’s decision to increase the use of coal-fired power while gas supplies are low, public broadcaster ARD reports. In order to keep the lignite-fired power plants running longer than previously expected, the company will also use trained and external workers to cover personnel requirements, involving hundreds of jobs, an RWE spokeswoman told Rheinische Post, according to CLEW.

RWE has three 300-megawatt power plants that are currently on security standby and can be restarted at the request of the federal government. German economics minister Robert Habeck is aiming to reduce the use of gas for power generation and industry in view of reduced Russian deliveries. To that end, more coal-fired power plants are to replace electricity generation from gas-fired plants as far as possible. That will make it possible to fill Germany’s gas storage tanks.

Russian state-owned company Gazprom last week said it would drastically reduce flows through the offshore Nord Stream pipeline due to technical problems caused by Western sanctions, but Habeck called the move a “political decision”. The reduced gas flows could put Germany’s target of filling its gas storages almost completely for the oncoming winter at risk.

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