Danish coal-fired power plants by and large phased out in 7 years

Date: 12 May 2014

Energinet.dk, the Danish transmission system operator, predicts that Danish power plants will have reduced capacity to produce only 700 MW from coal in 2021 against today’s 2,500 MW.

Coal-fired power plants in Denmark will practically be phased out in 2021, contributing with just 700 MW to the total Danish power plant capacity of 5,400 MW, which predominantly will utilise biomass as energy source.

This is evident in a recently published report from Energinet.dk, the Danish transmission system operator responsible for the overall security of supply of electricity and gas, according to updated calculation prerequisites for the electricity system towards 2035.

The report shows that total power plant capacity declines from about 7,000 MW in 2014 to between 4,700 MW and 5,400 MW in 2021. Precise capacity depends on whether a number of power plants are rebuilt to accommodate biomass or shut down, but is lower than previously predicted.

Increased focus on the economic span of power plants
The revised predictions are based on the fact that Energinet.dk has emphasised the plants economic life span in both the long and short term, instead of the previous focus on the technical life span of the plants.

“Where previous emphasis was placed on short term operating economics, we increasingly include long-term operating economics. For instance, we look at what types of energy sources the power plants use, how the electricity prices develop, and whether the power plants earn enough to, for instance, rebuild to accommodate biomass,” explains economist from Energinet.dk Christoffer Rasch.

With the new calculation method, the worst case scenario for power plant capacity is a reduction of 2,200 MW, and the 4,700 MW is far below the maximum power consumption in Denmark. In other words, Denmark is unable to be self-sufficient with electricity on windless days.

“We don’t consider this an issue in itself. We are already dependent on and closely interlinked with the electricity systems in the Nordic countries and Germany,” says Christoffer Rasch.

Centralised and decentalised power plants
The report statement covers both centralised and decentralised power plants. Energinet.dk predicts that many decentralised plants will shut down in 2019-2020 because a subsidy scheme ends in 2018. The total power output from decentralised plants is currently 2,460 MW, and it is expected to be reduced by about 700 MW. A number of the decentralised plants are expected to stop production of electricity and convert to heat production from biomass.

As regards the centralised CHP plants, Energinet.dk predicts both shut-downs and conversion to biomass. At the same time, the electricity capacity in the converted plants will be reduced, as focus will be on producing district heating instead of electricity production.

Source: Ingeniøren / State of Green