Friday, November 11, 2022

Evonik has a coal plant in Germany to run its facility

Via the Financial Times, this interesting bit of news: 
A potent sign of Europe’s energy crisis can be found at the Marl Chemical Park in Germany’s industrial heartland of North Rhine-Westphalia. A coal-fired power plant that had been due to close by the end of this year will instead keep running through the winter, and beyond, to provide energy for the companies on the site — helping to maintain more than 10,000 jobs.

The power plant is owned by Evonik, one of Germany’s largest speciality chemical companies, which also runs the park. And its extended lifespan reflects the fears of power shortages in the country, as gas imports from Russia have been cut following its invasion of Ukraine. Governments and manufacturers across the continent have been introducing contingency measures to ensure power supplies continue during the colder months.

Many companies have turned to coal and other fossil fuels to keep their operations going. In Germany — which aims to phase out coal by 2030 because it is much more carbon-intensive than gas — the government has temporarily revived or extended the life of several coal-fired power plants. In addition, all three of the country’s remaining nuclear power plants, which had been due to shut down by December 31, will continue operating until mid-April 2023.

For energy-intensive industries, this power crisis is “very acute”, says Harald Schwager, deputy chair of Evonik. He likens the situation to a patient “at the doctor”, but while the “diagnosis is known, so is the therapy”. In this case, the therapy is improving supplies.

“We have a supply shock,” he says. “One [therefore] needs to find ways and means with investments into energy infrastructure so that the supply can be improved, and prices will then automatically come down.”
I suppose I shouldn't be surprised (i.e. how did chemical plants get power in 1930?) but it is something interesting to know in 2022. I imagine that Evonik is glad to have hung onto the plant and not switched over to natural gas yet...

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