RWE readying three brown coal plants for restart from early October

The logo of the German power supplier RWE is pictured at the RWE headquarters in Essen, Germany, November 15, 2021. REUTERS/Thilo Schmuelgen/File Photo

FRANKFURT, Sept 26 (Reuters) - German power generator RWE (RWEG.DE) on Monday said it is preparing three brown coal-to-power production units, Neurath C and Niederaussem E and F, for a restart under a relevant law to help ensure enough capacity in winter.

A spokesperson said the Berlin government still had to formally finalise conditions but RWE assumed the reactivation of the blocks could take place in early October.

The plants were identified back in May to spring into action along with idle or due-to-close brown, hard coal and oil-fired capacity operated by RWE and other utility companies in case gas supply was disrupted, which has since become reality due to the Ukraine crisis.

Neurath C has 292 megawatts (MW) capacity, Niederaussem E 295 MW and Niederaussem F 299 MW.

In comparison with this total of just under 900 MW (0.9 gigawatts), Germany may need a maximum of up to just under 80 gigawatts (GW) at a given point in mid-winter to meet its electricity demand.

Additional capacity appearing in the European wholesale power market will help counterbalance sky-high prices as prospects for fuel export flows out of Russia are dire in the midst of sanctions, countersanctions and military escalation in Ukraine.

Power prices have also shot up this year as French nuclear availability was curbed by technical issues, thermal plants have suffered from lack of cooling water in a drought and coal plants did not get enough on-site feedstock as barge transports were curtailed by low river water levels.

Reporting by Vera Eckert, editing by Miranda Murray and Ed Osmond

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