Germany Faces Lack of Winter Power Generation, TransnetBW Says

Germany may face a shortage of power-generation capacity during the country’s peak-demand winter season, according to TransnetBW, the grid operator owned by utility EnBW Energie Baden-Wuerttemberg AG.

Since the shutdown of eight nuclear reactors last year, including two in TransnetBW’s network in southwest Germany, the nation’s grid operators are struggling to maintain stability in periods of high demand as intermittent renewable energy replaces the more stable-running atomic plants, TransnetBW Managing Director Rainer Joswig said today in an interview.

“After the phase-out of the two nuclear reactors in our grid and further reactors in the neighboring networks, there is a lack of power generation in the system,” Joswig said in Wendlingen, Germany. “The situation is turning unpleasant.”

The decommissioning of the Philippsburg 1 and Neckarwestheim 1 plants, with a total generation capacity of 1,766 megawatts, was part of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s nuclear exit strategy in the wake of last year’s disaster at the Fukushima plant in Japan. A cold spell in February brought Germany’s power grids close to collapse after some gas plants needed to shut down power generation due to a lack of fuel.

“During critical situations, the net will face the same difficulties as last winter,” Joswig said. “The system is the same and the problems will be the same.”