February 1, 2023

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Coal-fired power plants are allowed to go faster, but they don't always |  climate

Coal-fired power plants are allowed to go faster, but they don’t always | climate


Lots of wind, little coal

The fact that coal-fired power plants are still steadily declining is partly due to the sustainable energy the Netherlands generates. It has been windy a lot since the beginning of the year. As a result, wind farms were able to generate much of the electricity, and coal and natural gas plants didn’t have to work as hard.

Some coal-fired power plants have also been temporarily closed for maintenance. Because of the high volatility of gas prices, it is sometimes cheaper to produce electricity with natural gas. On the other hand, coal-fired power plants are “behind the line” and provide less power than they can afford.

Environmental groups: Close coal plants by 2025

Several environmental organizations on Friday called for coal-fired power plants to shut down by 2025. That would save tens of megatons of carbon dioxide emissions in the years through 2030. According to the organizations, power plants can be shut down without blackouts, as long as they The Cabinet is fully committed to energy conservation.

“The cabinet has talked about emergency action, but it’s an emergency action that does a lot of climate damage and undoes many other climate actions,” said Rob van Tilburg of Nature & Environment. He says the increased proliferation of coal plants “can and should be temporary”.

However, polluting power plants will still matter in the years to come, energy expert Visser believes. In Belgium and Germany, many nuclear power plants will be shut down in the coming years, which means that Dutch coal-fired power plants will also play an increasingly important role internationally.

“In the base scenario, these power plants might not be necessary, but if there are special circumstances, they suddenly become,” says Visser. He points to the drought in Norway, which resulted in hydroelectric power generation being disappointing. Meanwhile, prices in France have skyrocketed as many nuclear power plants have been shut down for maintenance.

Cross-border nuclear power plants are shutting down

Network operator TenneT warned On Thursday, the dangers of electricity shortages will increase through 2030, also due to the shrinking number of nuclear and coal-fired power plants across the border. Meanwhile, the Dutch energy system is becoming increasingly dependent on the weather, due to an increasing reliance on solar panels and wind turbines.

For Cetin’s ministry, this is a reason to commit to 2030 as the shutdown date for coal-fired power plants. In addition, the government fears that it will have to pay billions to owners of power plants if it goes forward with that date. “We’d prefer to monetize this in other actions, which will continue to have an impact beyond 2030,” said a company spokesperson.

In any case, coal-fired power plants will produce less in the coming years because we will have more wind and solar parks, Visser predicts. But where these sustainable sources are not available, coal-fired power plants may still be necessary. “I’ll definitely keep them open for now.”

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