May 10, 2011 / 10:47 AM / 8 years ago

FACTBOX-Controversial German coal-fired power plant projects

(Updates Datteln, Duesseldorf, Krefeld/Luenen, Mainz entries)

May 10 (Reuters) - The following list shows the status of new coal-fired power plant projects in Germany, which are the focus of environmentalists’ campaigning against climate-harming carbon emissions from the coal-to-power generation process.

Plants at the locations listed in alphabetical order have attracted opposition.

Since Germany’s government is due shortly to legislate for a quicker-than-planned withdrawal from nuclear power in the wake of events in Japan, coal and gas-fired plants are expected to play a bigger role.

While gas is winning the environmental experiment, some closed nuclear capacity will need to be replaced by coal-fired units. [ID:nLDE73E0DA]

The Latest updates are marked ***


Vattenfall Europe [VATN.UL] will replace a heat plant with gas and biomass feedstock rather than hard coal.


GDF Suez GSZ.PA has abandoned plans to build an 800 MW plant for 2012 at Brunsbuettel on the North Sea. It cites planning delays, lack of planning security and the absence of a partner. Local environmental groups had opposed its plans. But the company is well into building a coal plant of the same size also on the German North Sea, at Wilhelmshaven.

There is also opposition to plans by Tuebingen utility Suedweststrom to build two coal blocks of 900 MW each in Brunsbuettel for a later date, together with partners. A partial permission has been obtained, which says the plan is environmentally sound. A decision is due in 2012.


E.ON (EONGn.DE) reiterated at a shareholders meeting on May 5 that the start will probably be in 2013, having delayed it to 2012 from 2011. [ID:nWEA9013]

Germany’s federal administrative court in 2010 decided in favour of a regional court ruling against construction. Local planners in favour of the plant are seeking to change procedures.

E.ON has already spent 800 million euros ($1.1 billion). It says the plant will create jobs and supply power to German railways, encouraging car petrol savings. If unsuccessful, it might not be able to replace older, more polluting plants.


EnBW (EBKG.DE) and Switzerland’s BKW BKWN.S abandoned a plan for a coal plant, saying local buyers preferred gas.


The city utility has now officially opted for a gas-fired plant of between 450 and 580 MW, which it wants to be up and running by 2015. It had long abandoned plans for a new 400 MW coal block.


Denmark’s Dong [DONG.UL] last October gave up a plan for a coal plant at Emden and since says it favours gas plants.


Vattenfall Europe last Dec. secured approval for a 200 million euro cooling tower to reduce water intake, too much of which could endanger wildlife. This removed remaining obstacles that had blocked progress on obtaining permission for the huge coal plant project for two years. But it will curb the profitability of the plant, and markets and transmission lines will have to be created to absorb and distribute the surplus heat.


RWE (RWEG.DE) has put off plans for its first commercial size (450 MW) plant project using carbon capture and storage.


Plans for a project to replace an existing nearly 40-year old coal block were shelved by the city and partner E.ON.


Utility network Trianel, which is already building a 750 MW coal plant at Luenen, got approval for another one at Krefeld a year ago. It has not made a final decision, but media reports say gas may be an alternative option.

The political environment in North-Rhine Westphalia state has changed to a Conservative-Green coalition, which is internally at loggerheads over a number of infrastructure plans. Green campaigners have criticised calculations presented by Trianel when it first bid for Luenen and are asking a local court to block the next tranche.


Dong pulled out of plans for a 1,600 MW plant in Lubmin on the Baltic Sea for 2012, citing lack of political support. [ID:nDKT004778] The project firm is looking for new investors to build gas fired blocks. Media reports say E.ON and EnBW may be keen.


The ruling local coalition has shelved for good a plan for a new 800 MW hard-coal fired plant on the banks of the Rhine and according to media is studying gas as a possible alternative.


Utility MVV (MVVGn.DE) and its power plant unit GKM have started building a 1.2 billion euros coal unit for start up in 2013. Executives have dismissed complaints by environmentalists. MMV’s annual report issued Dec. 30 said that after Mannheim, there will be no further coal-to-power expansion in the group.


Dow Deutschland and EnBW abandoned a plan to build a plant at the Dow site in North Germany. Separately, E.ON is still pursuing a project of its own at Stade, which used to be home to a now idled nuclear power plant, while GDF Suez abandoned another separate coal project it had nurtured.


The cities of Hanau, Alzenau and Hainburg have decided to complain in court about permission for E.ON to start with preparatory work for a new coal-fired block (Number 6) at its power station at Hanau, near Frankfurt.

The permit includes a cooling power and boiler housings for a planned 1.2 billion euro project, which is meant to start up 1,100 MW by 2013. This is planned to replace three old blocks at the site, one of whom was shut in 2001 and another one must shut in 2012. A third, block 1, is now allowed to operate longer than 2012 because of planning delays caused by a public controversy.

This has already caused E.ON’s co-investor, the Hanover city utility, to pull out of its obligation to share minority parts of the cost. The city governments say they believe noxious emissions from the new plant will be too high. E.ON said the emissions will be 20 percent below the combined levels from the old blocks. It says it will be mindful of the opposition before committing to the investment, especially now that the group is also looking for investment opportunities in overseas markets.

A separate listing of known German power station projects can be seen by clicking on [ID:nLDE7330GK].

Reporting by Vera Eckert, editing by Jane Baird

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