Latest Information by BDEW and BNetzA on Power Plant New Build Show Hesitation

On the occasion of the Hanover trade fair, the Federal Association of the Energy and Water Industry (BDEW) published an updated list of power plant projects in various project stages. Although the list contained 38 GW of new build, the commissioning dates for almost a third of the plants were uncertain, BDEW said, blaming market conditions. On 27 March 2013 the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) also presented an update of its list of existing power plants and gave new information on prospective construction and decommissioning.

I. BDEW Information

The BDEW power plant list (Kraftwerksliste) contains projects with a net capacity of at least 20 MW. According to the new list, 76 plants with a total capacity of approximately 38,000 MW are currently undergoing permitting procedures, have already received the necessary permits, are under construction or have started trial operations (April 2012: 84 power plants projects with an installed capacity of roughly 42,000 MW). 50 of the 76 projects are gas-fired power plants or offshore wind farms. However, only 24 projects are currently being implemented with 3 plants in trial operation and 21 plants under construction, BDEW stressed. For another 22 projects permits have been granted. 16 projects are undergoing the necessary approval process and 13 projects are still in the planning stages, BDEW said. 

For 22 projects the date of commissioning was still unclear as the final investment decisions had not yet been taken, Hildegard Müller, head of BDEW, pointed out. Although roughly 16,000 MW of new conventional and offshore capacity shall come online until 2015 according to the BDEW list, Mrs Müller warned that as of 2016 project activity declined considerably and pointed out that non-volatile capacity was needed to balance the fluctuating input or renewable energy. She also pointed out that due to Germany’s decision to withdraw from nuclear energy until 2022 and scheduled shutdowns of plants due to their age, power plant capacity amounting to at least 16,000 MW would go offline between 2013 and 2022. Germany would not be able to add enough non-volatile new power plant capacity to replace the shutdowns if the regulatory framework did not change, she emphasized.

The government had to decide on the market conditions for power plants so as to set the regulatory conditions for the construction of new and efficient power plants, in particular after 2020, Mrs Müller demanded. Until 2015 a new market framework that gradually integrated conventional and renewable energies was needed in order to provide the necessary incentives as of 2020, she said. The billion Euro investments in new power plants required time (and investment certainty), she added, announcing that BDEW would present a proposal in time.

In March, Economics Minister Philipp Rösler, responsible for grids and power plants, announced to present a proposal for a new market design for conventional power plants until the summer. In April, German EU Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger also announced a proposal for an EU framework regarding back-up capacity to balance renewable energy.

II. BNetzA Information

On 27 March 2013 BNetzA made an updated list showing German power plant capacity available on the internet. It comprises power plants with a net capacity of at least 10 MW and also contains power plants from Luxembourg, France, Switzerland and Austria, which feed into the German grids. Besides, the list includes power plants with a capacity smaller than 10 MW which receive feed-in tariffs pursuant to the Renewable Energy Source Act (EEG). As of 27 March 2013 the power plant list contains plants with a net capacity of 175.3 GW (without final shutdowns), including 75.5 GW renewable power plants, 71.5 GW of which are eligible for feed-in tariffs under the EEG.

Final shutdowns of generation plants since 31 December 2011 are also included in the Bundesnetzagentur’s list to allow a better analysis of the developments in the generation sector in future. This comprises a total of 2.3 GW as of 27 March 2013.

As part of its monitoring duties, the BNetzA also collects data on the prospective construction and decommissioning of power plants with a net nominal capacity of at least 10 MW. Due to their particular importance for the security of supply, the agency publishes key data for non-volatile power plants under construction, along with the expected decommissioning of non-volatile plants until 2015. Non-volatile describes all sources of energy with the exception of the renewables hydro power, photovoltaic and wind. Non-volatile generation capacity totalling 10,350 MW (2.020 MW thereof in southern Germany) was currently under construction across the country and would likely be completed by 2015, BNetzA established. In contrast, plant operators plan to permanently decommission 4.862 MW nationwide (3.699 MW thereof in southern Germany) by 2015, the agency informed, pointing out that this resulted in a positive net total of 5.488 MW nationwide and a negative net total of –1.679 MW in southern Germany.

Source: BDEW

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