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.
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.
Irsching Ulrich Hartmann 561 MW combined cycle power plant – the renamed Irsching 4 plant – was officially inaugurated by E.ON and Siemens in 2011.
A world-record efficiency of 60.4 per cent and low nitrogen oxide emissions were to make the plant the world’s most ecofriendly 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.
On March 30, 2015, the owners of unit 5, organised as Gemeinschaftskraftwerk Irsching GmbH (GKI), declared they wanted to close down all of its operations effective from April 1, 2016. This was denied, as due to the shutdown of nuclear power, network operator TenneT considers all power plants in its Southern German area as system relevant and having to remain as stand-by reserve.
Another request for shutdown of unit 5 was denied in August 2017, as Tennet again demanded from GKI that, according to Netzreserveverordnung, unit 5 remains operational, despite double digit losses.