German Power Reserve Needs to Double in 2015 as Reactor Closes

Germany will need almost twice as much power reserve capacity to protect supplies in the winter of 2015 to 2016 compared with a year earlier because of the planned shutdown of an EON SE nuclear reactor.

The nation needs 4,800 megawatts of reserve capacity as the 1,275-megawatt Grafenrheinfeld reactor in southern Germany is due to close in late 2015 and wind farms are built in the country’s north, grid regulator Bundesnetzagentur said today in an e-mailed statement.

Germany, Europe’s biggest power market, is shuttering its remaining nine nuclear reactors by 2022 and wants to replace them with a greater share of renewables and modern fossil fuel-fired plants. The shift has led to signs of declining security, Jochen Homann, the head of Bundesnetzagentur, said earlier this month.

The nation’s four grid operators, especially Tennet TSO GmbH and 50Hertz Transmission GmbH, needed to intervene to stabilize the grids during 7,200 hours last year, compared with 1,800 hours in 2010, he said Sept. 10 at an energy conference in Munich. The interventions are a result of renewable generation capacity putting a strain on grids, he said.

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