Power supply: Power plants must reduce due to heat output

The high temperatures are causing electricity companies problems: the cooling water is too hot for a normal operation of some nuclear power plants. Also the replenishment of coal falters.

Power supply: Power plants must reduce due to heat output

Because water temperature is rising in rivers, some power plants have to reduce ir performance. At Philippsburg nuclear power plant alone, electricity company EnBW was able to shut down power by up to ten percent. You react to elevated temperature in Rhine. This should not be heated even much more by cooling water.

However, re is no fear of bottlenecks in supply of electricity. "It's all in green area," said a spokesman for Federal Network Agency.

In norrn Germany, electricity group PreussenElektra reduced power of Grohnde and Brokdorf nuclear power plants. Due to increased water temperature, Grohnde currently produce up to 120 megawatts less power, in Brokdorf restriction is lower.

There are also restrictions on nuclear power plants in Switzerland. The nuclear power plant Mühleberg southwest of Basel had to throttle power by ten percent. This is to reduce amount of rerouted cooling water, which additionally heats river Aare. The world's oldest still-in-service nuclear power plant in Beznau is also expected to throttle its performance for first time this year.

Coal-fired power plants also have to reduce performance

In addition to nuclear power plants, conventional plants are also affected by high water temperatures. In Rhine port of Karlsruhe, EnBW has set up a block of its coal-fired steam power plant. However, RWE Stone coal in Hamm, which was shut down last weekend due to problems with coal supply, is back on grid. It was started again because in coming days little electricity from wind power is expected, said a spokesman of electricity company. Because of low water on Rhine, coal freighters cannot be fully loaded at moment. But coal continues to arrive in Hamm, said spokesman.

In event that water temperatures of Rhine and Neckar exceed limit of 28 degrees, EnBW has provided exemptions as a precaution in order to be able to continue to operate its power plants. This is a criticism of federal environmental organisation. The exceptions are "irresponsible" because of imminent fish death, said federal expert Gottfried May-Stürmer of Heilbronner voice.

According to supplier Uniper, electricity production from hydropower runs at usual level in summer. "In summer, production is a good third less than in water-rich spring months," said a spokesman. The summer of 2018 is not an outlier so far. Uniper operates more than 100 hydropower plants, predominantly in Bavaria, and generates around five billion kilowatt-kilowatts of electricity a year.

Updated Date: 01 August 2018, 12:00

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