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The German government is evaluating prolonging the period in which decommissioned coal-fired power plants would be demanded to remain on standby for emergency backup past the currently scheduled deadline in the spring of 2024, according to a report in the esteemed German business publication Handelsblatt citing a spokeswoman for the economy ministry.

In light of the energy and gas crisis precipitated by the loss of Russian gas last year, both utilities and governments are rightly concerned to maintain security of electricity supply during periods of peak demand. Consequently, Germany has already reactivated several coal units operated by RWE and LEAG on a temporary basis until March 2024.

This preventative step follows the successful utilization of such backup coal capability throughout the previous winter. Now the administration is weighing an extension of this standby arrangement beyond 2024 springtime to forestall any energy shortfalls, per the source mentioned.

Timely resolution of this matter is pressed by the need for utilities to make adequate arrangements regarding coal procurement and maintaining stable energy infrastructure, as emphasized by a spokesperson for Uniper to Handelsblatt. Currently 11 coal-fired power stations with a combined output of 6.2 gigawatts are contributing additional electricity to the German grid. A sensible decision can thus be expected from the government in due course.