IRSCHING, Germany, April 26 Germany's top
utility E.ON said it reached a deal with regulators
and grid operators to keep open its modern but unprofitable
Irsching gas-fired power station in Bavaria, providing reserve
power to stabilise the grid.
The agreement with the German network regulator
Bundesnetzagentur and power grid TenneT ensures the
Irsching blocks 4 and 5 will remain operational over the next
three years, E.ON said, adding it would be paid based on
Irsching's contributions to the grid.
E.ON Chief Executive Johannes Teyssen said the owners of
Irsching would receive a double-digit million euro amount per
block per year.
Irsching 4 is fully owned by E.ON while Irsching 5 is also
part-owned by local utilities Mainova, N-Ergie and HSE.
Sources close to the talks had told Reuters on Thursday that
Irsching had looked set to remain open.
E.ON had said it could close the plant because of high gas
buying-in prices and low wholesale power prices, while the
energy network regulator believes the plant is crucial to the
stability of the power grid in the industry-heavy region.
The deal could be a precedent for how Germany ensures the
survival of conventional power, whose profitability has been hit
by a boom in subsidised renewable energy as the country phases
out nuclear power.
E.ON has put the cost of operating the three year-old
Irsching 5, which has 846 megawatts (MW) of capacity, at 100
million euros ($130 million) a year. Under energy laws, it is
not allowed to unilaterally shut the plant. Block 4, with 550 MW
capacity in 2011, has also seen its profitability fall.
($1 = 0.7689 euros)
(Reporting by Jens Hack, Tom Kaeckenhoff and Christoph Steitz;
editing by Keiron Henderson)