RWE Coal Power Plants in Hamm & Ibbenbüren Decommissioned
During the night from 7 to 8 July, the preparedness phase for RWE’s last two hard-coal-fired power stations in Germany came to an end. At the Westfalen in Hamm and Ibbenbüren locations, the last units will be decommissioned. For RWE, this signals the end of the era of hard-coal power generation in Germany.
In December 2020, in the first nationwide decommissioning auction for hard-coal power stations, RWE Generation had received the tenders both for the 800-megawatt Block E at the Westfalen power station as well as for the 800-megawatt Block B at Ibbenbüren power station. As a result, since the beginning of this year, RWE has no longer been allowed to sell electricity from these stations. As part of a mandatory six-month preparedness phase, the Westfalen station went online 13 times for reasons of security of supply on the request of the transmission system operator. Now this phase has also ended and from 8 July no more coal may be fired at either of these two locations. The decommissioning of the hard-coal units is a further important step towards climate-neutrality, which RWE will achieve by 2040.
The Westfalen site will continue to make an important contribution towards the energy transition, since the Federal Network Agency has categorised it as systemically relevant. The generator of Block E is to be repurposed as a rotating phase shifter and will provide reactive power for voltage stability – an important service for stabilising the electricity grid. This has no effect on RWE's carbon footprint, as no coal is burned to operate a phase shifter. Unit B of the Ibbenbüren power plant was not classified as systemically relevant by the Federal Network Agency, so the decommissioning of the power plant is now beginning.