German ‘eco-friendly’ gas power plant set to be idled for third successive year

Posted: April 29, 2018 by oldbrew in Energy, News, Subsidies
Tags: , ,

Irsching 4 gas power plant, Bavaria [image credit: E.ON]

Billed as ‘the world’s most eco-friendly fossil fuelled power plant’ when it opened in 2011, the owners say Irsching is not commercially viable due to the built-in advantages handed to part-time subsidised renewables. Meanwhile Germany continues building cheaper-to-run coal-fired power stations to help replace its nuclear fleet. A strange situation to be in.

German utility Uniper announced on Thursday that it had applied to extend the closure of its loss-making Irsching 4 and 5 gas-fired power generation plants with a capacity of 1400 MW for a third year beyond April 2019, reports PEI.

Uniper and the other owners of unit 5, N-Ergie, Mainova MNVG.DE and HSE, see no way to ensure the Bavarian plant’s commercial viability, it said in a statement.

Likewise, Uniper as sole owner of Irsching 4 also wants to apply for temporary closure in the same period for the same reason, it said.

Due to competition from subsidised solar and wind energy, many German fossil fuels plants are running at a fraction of the time needed to be profitable.

The wish to idle plants against a fee needs signalling to the energy regulator with a notice period of 12 months in advance, in order to establish whether this poses a risk to the stability of power transport grids.

A world-record efficiency of 60.4 per cent and low nitrogen oxide emissions were to make the plant the world’s most eco-friendly fossil fuelled power plant, according to Siemens at the time.

The manufacturer describes the plant as characterized by high operating flexibility, and short startup and fast load-cycling capability – features increasingly important with the rise in wind-based generation.

Full report here.

  1. oldbrew says:

    Maybe they’re hanging on until Bavaria’s Isar II nuclear plant closure, due at the end of 2022? It has the same output.

    Isar-II, being one of the strongest (ca. 1,400 MW) and most modern reactors in Germany, is supposed to run until the end of the phase-out (2022)

  2. Dodgy Geezer says:

    From the reference: …unit 5 remains operational, despite double digit losses….

    The plants are ordered to be kept going by the state, though they lose money. Does anyone know how the company that keeps them going is able to survive?

  3. oldbrew says:

    The power firms are trying to force the government to cough up more support cash. Why should they be legally obliged to make losses so that renewables firms can make subsidy-based guaranteed profits? It’s a farce.

    High-efficiency, state-of-the-art gas-fired power plants such as Irsching 4 and 5 are well suited to dampen volatile fluctuations in electricity generated by wind and solar on short notice. That is what makes them ideal partners for renewable forms of energy and significant contributors in achieving climate goals. However, this backup function, which every electricity customer in Germany can rely on, is not being adequately compensated. Instead, the legal environment forces owners to provide this service at prices that do not cover costs. This makes it untenable for the owners and, in their view, unconstitutional.

    Particularly in light of the current debate over coal, it falls to the new administration to finally establish the sort of parameters in the energy market that will allow flexible and high-efficiency gas-fired power plants to continue playing a role alongside renewable forms of energy.

    They say they will sue the German state if their 2019 closure plans are blocked.

  4. stpaulchuck says:

    I thought we learned things from the crash of the central planning debacle of the USSR. Apparently not.

  5. Graeme No.3 says:

    “They say they will sue the German state if their 2019 closure plans are blocked.” That would be interesting in that all those brown coal plants in north Germany forced to run at a loss will certainly be interested and might join in.
    I believe that those firms have largely devolved their (profitable) renewables into a separate company. Are they waiting for the reliable component to go bankrupt and to walk away from the mess?

  6. […] löysin uutisen saksalaisesta Irschingin kaasuvoimalasta (Linkki), jota suunnitellaan pidettäväksi […]

  7. Bitter@twisted says:

    This really is surreal.

  8. ivan says:

    As I have said before, there is a simple solution to the problem, all it requires is a sensible energy policy.

    Such a policy sees the removing of ALL subsidies and green taxes from the production of electrical energy and also there should not be any preferential treatment for any supplier. Then those producing the energy have to guarantee the amount they produce per month under contract with penalty clauses if they don’t.

    The above would see the unreliables removed overnight and the cost of electricity to the consumer would fall to reasonable levels.

    Of cause this will never happen because all the politicians of whatever colour are in thrall to the green lobby and the brown envelopes they receive for being good little stooges.

  9. oldbrew says:

    From the EU’s climate fantasy world…

    Climate-Linked Spending Set to Rise to a Quarter of EU Budget
    30 April 2018

    The European Union’s executive is poised to propose spending 25 percent of funds available in next EU multiannual budget on activities related to climate protection

  10. p.g.sharrow says:

    There is no limit to their greed to spend other people’s money. Across Europe poor people are dying from the cold while Ecoloons are demanding more money be extracted from them to fight warming. This is a crime against humanity!…pg

  11. oldbrew says:

    In reality ‘activities related to climate protection’ is a flat-out myth.

  12. oldbrew says:

    German nuclear shutdown payouts…

    RWE and Vattenfall to receive over $1bn in compensation from German government
    By Diarmaid Williams

    A draft law has set out proposals for compensation for utilities RWE and Vattenfall.

    According to Reuters the compensation is currently figured to be around $1.21bn, as a result of the German government’s decision to phase out nuclear power completely, despite investments having made by the companies in good faith prior to the ruling.

  13. […] ‘green’. Their obsessive renewables bias has made new gas-fired power stations hard to justify for energy firms. H/T The […]