It reopens only a few months after its closure. The Emile-Huchet coal-fired power station, located in Saint-Avold, in Moselle, was to close its doors definitively in March. Due to the energy crisis, however, the government announced at the end of June its temporary reopening during the winter. The site therefore started to produce electricity again on Monday, November 28, said the site director, Philippe Lenglart.
If the autumn temperatures were relatively mild until now, they are now ” of the season “. That is why “we have been called to produce since 9 am this morning”argued Mr. Lenglart to Agence France-Presse.
Supplying up to a third of homes in the Grand-Est region
High CO emitter2, the Emile-Huchet power plant is one of the last two in France to run on coal, along with that of Cordemais, in Loire-Atlantique. In the spring, the government already did not rule out restarting the Moselle site “as a precaution” to secure the country’s electricity supply, given the outbreak of the conflict in Ukraine and the setbacks encountered by the French nuclear fleet. This dynamic has been embraced by the other member countries of the European Union, in the midst of the energy crisis.
At the end of June, the Ministry of Ecological Transition had specified that it was a question of a restart which “fits into the closure plan” of the site, recalling that Emmanuel Macron’s commitment to close all coal-fired power plants in France remained “unchanged”.
The law on purchasing power passed in early August by Parliament included a measure allowing the company managing the site, GazelEnergie, to rehire employees this winter. Until then, more than half had to retire, and the youngest had to be reclassified within the company’s new projects. The energy supplier plans, among other things, to build a biomass boiler in place of the coal-fired power plant.
In total, more than 500,000 tons of coal will be needed to run the site until the end of March. When operating at full capacity, the latter produces up to 600 megawatt hours and can power a third of the homes in the Grand-Est region.
More than 6.7% of the electricity produced by the country is of nuclear origin, the share of fossil fuels having been in 2020 7.5%, of which 0.3% coal and 6.9% gas.
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