Wake-up call from East Germany: The Prime Ministers of the lignite states of Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia see legal problems for the operation of coal-fired power plants from the reserve.

In a letter to Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck (Greens), they therefore ask for “a uniform federal exception”. The letter was available from the German Press Agency, the editorial network Germany (RND) had previously reported on it.

The power plant blocks in the security reserve, which are to be transferred to the so-called “supply reserve” from October 1, 2022 to March 31, 2024, no longer meet the stricter immission control requirements last year, explained Michael Kretschmer (CDU), Reiner Haseloff (CDU) and Dietmar Woidke (SPD). Retrofitting is ruled out until next winter.

The energy company Leag had already referred to this, as had the local press in Lusatia, where the plants are operated. For example, the “Lausitzer Rundschau” reported on Friday that the two power plant blocks in the Brandenburg Jänschwalde plant (total output up to 1000 megawatts) could not be switched on under these conditions.

The two blocks are currently on a so-called security stand-by, so they could be ramped up and deliver within a few days – theoretically at least. In practice, however, the two power plant blocks no longer meet the currently applicable emission standards.

It would therefore need individual exemptions. However, according to dpa and RND, they are also not realistic because of the long duration of the procedure.

The opencast mines from which the lignite comes also need legal certainty, the heads of government continued in their letter. “For this reason, the federal legislature should also expressly state the energy policy and energy industry necessity of opencast lignite mines for a secure supply of electricity and heat by March 31, 2024.”