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energy.  France restarts coal-fired power plant

energy. France restarts coal-fired power plant

France is restarting a coal-fired power plant in Lorraine next winter due to the impending power shortage. (archive photo)

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In light of the energy crisis and the failure of several nuclear power plants, France is restarting the coal-fired power plant in Saint-Avold near Saarbrücken this weekend.

The Paris Energy Ministry has decided that the Emile-Hochette power plant, which was removed from the grid only at the end of March, should initially be limited to the end of 2023.

About 70 laid-off employees were persuaded to return to their old jobs as wages increased, and the power plant, serviced very little in the past, was hastily retooled at a cost of millions. Apart from one standby power plant, the one in Lorraine is the last in France.

In the weeks before its closure, the plant was burning coal imported from Russia at full speed to cover its electricity needs. Coal was mainly brought from Colombia, USA and South Africa to fuel the power plant.

France is at risk of electrifying this winter because half of its 56 nuclear plants are off-grid for maintenance and inspection purposes. The government has put pressure on the electric company, EDF, to have as many nuclear power plants operating as possible by winter. Whether this will work is an open question.

Environmentalists have protested several times against the restart of the power plant in Lorraine, Le Républicain Lorrain reports. In neighboring Saarland, power plant operator Steag plans to restart its two coal-fired power plants in Quierschied and Bexbach at the beginning of November. The coal-fired power plant in Volklingen-Fein, Saarland, is due to continue operating after the shutdown already planned at the end of October.