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Lignite power stations demonstrate their reliability

“Without the solid contribution made by lignite during this year’s particularly long heat wave and drought, the electricity supply in Germany would have been under serious threat”, explains Helmar Rendez, Chairman of the Board of the German Lignite Industry Association (DEBRIV) in Bergheim, in his provisional appraisal of the energy supply during the summer weather conditions. On account of the weather, the generation of electricity from wind energy was severely restricted, photovoltaic systems were able to provide less power and power stations, which take their cooling water from surface water, had to significantly downscale their capacities.

When it comes to the supply of fuel and cooling water, German lignite power stations, on the other hand, are not affected by long-lasting heat waves. They are supplied according to requirements, usually via their own rail or transport systems, from the nearby mining operations in the Rhine, Central German and Lusatia mining districts. Following electricity generation, the process steam is usually condensed by cooling towers, which use the mine water extracted by the mining operations. “With this in mind, it’s no wonder that most lignite power stations are currently feeding their full power into the grid in order to safely and reliably supply the economy and the population with electricity”, says Rendez.

According to DEBRIV, it is essential that a broad mix of different energy sources and technologies are used to generate electricity during long periods of low wind and heat waves. Extreme weather can and will occur in future, including severe cold and low wind. “A hasty phase-out of coal as a means of generating electricity would put the electricity supply at serious risk”, explains the Chairman of the Board of DEBRIV. (DEBRIV/Si.)