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Germany has most of its winter emergency power reserves: regulator

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Germany has secured 2,022 megawatts (MW) of the 2,540 MW emergency electricity capacity it needs to get through the winter, the energy regulator said on Monday, confirming a forecast that possible shortages were being managed.

Potential energy shortages will be a problem for years in German as nuclear plants in the south are being closed more quickly than grids are revamped, and the country also exports a lot of power at times of high supply, leaving certain inland regions with transmission bottlenecks potentially undersupplied.

Germany's power network last came under pressure in March.

The Bundesnetzagentur authority in Bonn oversees the Transmission System Operators that have to ensure steady supply, a task made more difficult since Germany shut 40 percent of its nuclear plants in 2011 while continuing to install increasing amounts of intermittent renewable capacity.

The regulator also provided for the case that gas-to-power plants cannot be activated quickly if they are switched off and do not have immediate access rights to pipeline gas for burning, it said in the report to government.

This scenario occurred in the winter of 2011/2012, undermining the system's reliability in southern Germany.

Among reserve capacity offered from inside Germany, utility E.ON is committed to supplying power from two gas-fired blocks and GKM 3, a plant shared between RWE, MVV and EnBW, will offer coal-fired power, in emergency situations.

As in the last two winters, there are also four Austrian power units on the regulator's reserve list.

(Reporting Vera Eckert; Editing by Louise Ireland)

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