Though plans for several coal fired power plant projects in Germany have been suspended, RWE recently announced that it is pressing forward with its project to construct a 1600 MWe hard coal facility in Hamm, in the Westphalia region. RWE has several partners in the project including 23 municipal utilities. According to a February 19, 2008 Reuters story titled German RWE to push ahead with 2 bln euro power plant, here is the reason that the plant is necessary:
“Plans for several urgently needed new plants have had to be dropped in recent months and this makes our public commitment to more competition and more choice on the supplier side that much more important,” RWE Chief Executive Juergen Grossmann said.
There was a need for more capacity as many plants were nearing the end of their service life and the German government had decided to phase out nuclear power (emphasis added), RWE Power CEO Ulrich Jobs added in the statement.
This simply reinforces what many nuclear advocates continue to say when engaged in debates with anti-nuclear industry representatives – there are really only three choices for reliable power, falling water (hydroelectricity) fossil fuel combustion and nuclear (atomic) fission. In many regions, the geography and weather do not support hydro or the hydro capacity cannot be expanded.
When people fight against fission, they are – either knowingly or unknowingly – fighting FOR combustion.
Update: While browsing on Nuclear Australia I found an interesting side note to the above story. Wulf Bernotat, CEO of EOn’s (one of RWE’s competitors in the Germany utility market), said the nuclear phaseout policy “isn’t comprehensible” in an industrialized country facing significant capacity shortfalls.
(Germany’s nuclear phase-out ‘isn’t comprehensible’)