Cheap coal and German wind electricity hit gas-fired power plants

The cleanest gas-fired power station in the Netherlands is ‘gathering dust’ because coal and wind energy dominate the Dutch power generation sector, the Financieele Dagblad reports on Monday.

The Enecogen plant in Rotterdam’s Europoort was opened a year ago by Danish firm Dong and Dutch company Eneco. Both have a generator in the complex, which aimed to supply 1.4 million households with electricity.

But Dong says its plant has operated for just 690 hours since then, out of 8,760 potential hours. Eneco declined to say how often its plant had been in use but a spokesman did say the company had to deal with the ‘same challenges’ as Dong.

The FD says the Enecogen plant has been hit by imports of subsidised German wind energy and by low coal prices, which means relatively polluting coal-fired power stations are used to generate extra capacity.

The paper says energy firms can buy electricity at around €45 per megawatt hour, while the gas needed to produce this much energy costs over €50. Nuon has recently written off €1bn on its gas power plants, the paper said.

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