RWE CEO: optimistic power supply will remain stable during winter

Emsland nuclear power plant near Lingen
An aerial view shows the cooling tower of Emsland nuclear power plant and in rear the cooling towers of Emsland natural gas power plants of German utility RWE, amid the energy crisis caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, on the outskirts of Lingen, Germany, October, 12, 2022. REUTERS/Stephane Nitschke/File Photo

FRANKFURT, Dec 10 (Reuters) - RWE (RWEG.DE), Germany's top power producer, is fairly optimistic the country's power supply will remain stable during the winter months, its chief executive told a newspaper.

"Germany will export more electricity to France this winter than ever before," Markus Krebber told Rheinische Post, referring to the fact that the neighbouring country has taken a record number of nuclear stations offline for checks.

"The problems of the French nuclear power plants are also the reason why so many gas-fired power plants are running here. Nevertheless, I am reasonably optimistic that we will get through the winter well in terms of electricity."

Turning to gas supply, where Germany is facing the first winter without fuel from Russia in five decades, Krebber said it all came down to temperatures.

"Germany has done everything that's possible, households and industry have saved gas. And temperatures in October were so mild that storage facilities were hardly needed. But this is not an all-clear. We have no reserves at all," Krebber said,

German gas storage levels currently stand at 95.53% and Krebber said if Germany emerged from the current heating season with storage levels of 30-40% the winter of 2023/24 would not be a "bigger problem, if everything continues to be done to save gas where possible".

Krebber said it was conceivable for Russia, which invaded Ukraine earlier this year, to become a supplier again in times of peace, but added Moscow would just be one of many suppliers if such a scenario became reality.

He also ruled out interest in any of the business activities of Uniper (UN01.DE), which is in the process of being nationalised, as well as smaller peer Steag, which is looking for a buyer, adding they would not fit with RWE's strategy.

Reporting by Christoph Steitz Editing by Mark Potter

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