November 15, 2017 / 10:59 AM / a year ago

RWE takes 1,500 MW of lignite plants off grid due to protests

FRANKFURT, Nov 15 (Reuters) - German utility RWE took 1,500 megawatts (MW) of lignite capacity off the grid on Wednesday after about a dozen environmental activists blocked coal supplies, a spokesman for the company said.

RWE’s Weisweiler site consists of two 600 MW blocks and two 300 MW blocks, three of which had to be taken offline in the morning, with just one 300 MW block remaining in operation, he said.

Coal supplies have started again after police removed activists from the site, the spokesman said, adding the three blocks should go back online within the next few hours.

“This is a severe intervention in power supply,” he said, adding stable generation from coal-fired power plants was necessary in light of intermittent renewable energy sources.

Shares in RWE fell on Tuesday on concerns its exposure to coal could become a problem in current talks over forming the next German government, with the anti-coal Greens pushing for an accelerated exit from the most polluting form of power generation.

At 1040 GMT, shares in RWE were down 3 percent, among the biggest declines in Frankfurt’s blue-chip index. (Reporting by Christoph Steitz; Editing by Mark Potter)

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