Uniper SE warned of “irregular operations” at a key coal-fired power plant in Germany as the company struggles to get fuel supplies along the Rhine.
The water levels of the Rhine have dropped so low that the river could soon be effectively closed. Uniper’s 510-megawatt Staudinger-5 power plant has limited amounts of coal on site and simply cannot get more, the company said in a filing.
Europe is already facing its worst energy supply crisis in decades as Russia cuts gas supplies. Restrictions on movement on the river, exacerbated by climate change, could disrupt the flow of everything from fuels to chemicals as governments try to prevent the energy crisis from plunging the region into recession.
Uniper expects the restrictions to last until September, just weeks before the start of the colder months when coal will be needed to fill the gap left by dwindling gas supplies from Russia.
Low river levels also affect nuclear power plants in France. A heatwave is driving up water temperatures and limiting Electricite de France SA’s ability to cool some facilities.
The French energy company said power stations on the Rhone and Garonne rivers are likely to produce less electricity in the coming days, but there will be a minimum output to keep the grid stable.
Power plants typically require cooling water, usually brought in from a nearby river or the sea, before it is returned, often at a higher temperature than when it entered. There are limits to how warm the water can be to protect fish and other aquatic life.
https://www.independent.ie/business/world/uniper-warns-on-german-coal-output-as-rhine-river-evaporates-41889057.html Uniper warns of German coal mining due to evaporation of the Rhine