Pressured by climate activism, power genherator Vattenfall announced it will shut down its recently commissioned 1.65 GW modern Moorburg coal power plant in Hamburg, Germany. It will take the equivalent of over 1600 wind turbines to take up the slack.
Just days ago, I reported here how Big Wind and crony politicians are pushing to clear 2000 hectares of 1000-year old forests to make way for 60 giant 5-MW wind turbines. Now imagine this being done 25 times because one ultra-modern coal plant will be decommissioned after being in service just 5 years.
One folly leads to another. The race in Germany to build up wind parks everywhere possible (environment be damned) stems from the political folly of shutting down baseload-providing modern coal power plants. Swedish power giant Vattenfall just announced )hat it will be decommissioning its new 1.65 GW combined heat and power (CHP) coal Hamburg-Moorburg power plant.
Under pressure from environmental activists, Swedish Vattenfall announced the decommissioning of Hamburg, Germany’s modern Moorburg CHP coal power plant after being in operation only 5 years. It will take some 1600 monster-size wind turbines to take up the slack (assuming 20% efficiency). Image credit: Vattenfall Hamburg Moorburg
$3 billion plant operates only 5 years
The decommissioning of the Moorburg plant has been approved by the Bundesnetzwerkagentur (Federal Network Agency). As one of the most modern coal-fired power plants, Moorburg was commissioned in 2015 and is still considered as brand new on a power plant scale. It came with a 3-billion euro price tag and was scheduled to run until 2038. The power plant plays an important role in the power supply in northern Germany, in Hamburg and the surrounding area with its port, metal operations and Airbus.
Sensationally high 46% thermal efficiency
But Swedish operator Vattenfall has lost interest in the plant and has wanted to shut it down. The two units of this modern, most environmentally friendly coal-fired power plant have a sensationally high efficiency of up to 46.5 percent. This means that a high proportion of the energy contained in the coal can be converted into electricity, which reduces fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. The latest technical filter technology is also installed in the exhaust lines.
New standard in flexibility
The Moorburg plant technology is designed so that power can be ramped up within a quarter of an hour, making it flexible in times of power fluctuations. Until recently, coal-fired and nuclear power plants had been suitable for supplying base load energy at a high level. But power generation fluctuations cause significant thermal problems when boilers and pipes expand – or contract – under heat. Engineers solved that problem. Yet, environmental protests pressured the plant to shut down.
Taxpayer gets stuck with the bill
From the Vattenfalls’ point of view, it is more economical to let the taxpayer pay for the phase-out than to burn more and more money. Green environment and energy senator Jens Kerstan earlier welcomed a quick shutdown of Moorburg: “There is an oversupply of electricity on the market, and so Hamburg’s electrical supply is not at risk without Moorburg.” He did not explain further where the electricity would come from in times of shortage, when there is little wind and the sun is not shining.
Forests threatened: 1600 monster wind turbines to take up the slack
With Moorburg’s rated capacity of 1.65 GW, it will take over 1600 wind turbines with a rated capacity of 5-MW (operating at 20%) to replace the power plant. That could mean a profound impact on forests and landscapes in Germany if they have to be cleared for more wind parks. The calculation does not include the heat the plant would provide.
Will need the approval from power grid operators
In the next step of the decommissioning, the grid operators must check whether the two Hamburg-Moorburg power plant units are “system-relevant”. If they are, then they cannot be shut down. Otherwise they will be decommissioned next year.
Vattenfall Germany CEO Tuomo Hatakka: “Now we will push ahead with the planning for the early closure. This includes helping our employees find new jobs.”