German minister wants new fossil-fuel plants at old nuclear reactor sites

London (Platts)--17 Nov 2011 746 am EST/1246 GMT

Germany's minister for the economy, Philipp Roesler, said he envisages new fossil-fuel power plants at the sites of decommissioned old nuclear power facilities, as the country needs to fill the gap left following its decision to phase out nuclear power generation by 2022.

"All the necessary grid connections are already there," Roesler, who is also vice-chancellor, said Wednesday during a visit to the European Energy Exchange in Leipzig.

The market will decide whether the new plants should be coal and gas-fired plants, he added, according to a report by state broadcaster ARD.

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According to the ministry, new fossil-fueled power plants with a capacity of 10 GW are currently under construction and will come online by 2013.

However, Germany needs another 10 GW of new flexible power plant capacity by 2020 to satisfy demand, the ministry estimates.

Germany may get help from Russia in financing some of the new plant capacity. Russian energy minister Sergei Shmatko told German daily Sueddeutschen Zeitung earlier this week that his country is ready to build and operate power plants with German partners.

The Russian minister echoed the German ministry's estimates that around 10 GW of new plant capacity is needed in Germany over the coming 10 years due to the nuclear exit decision, according to the report.

"We are ready to finance projects on that scale," the Russian energy minister said in an interview with the paper. According to industry sources, plans on such a scale may cost up to Eur15 billion ($20 billion).

Russian gas major Gazprom is currently in exclusive talks with Germany's biggest power generator RWE about a possible joint-venture operating power plants in Germany, the Benelux countries and the UK.

--Andreas Franke,

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