Rheinfelden December 2, 2003. At the invitation of Dr. Utz Claassen, CEO of EnBW Energie Baden-Württemberg AG, German Environment Minister Jürgen Trittin today visited Rheinfelden in the southern Baden region to find out about the planned new construction of the "NaturEnergie" power station by EnBW subsidiary Energiedienst. The rebuilding of the oldest run-of-river power station in Europe is the biggest construction project in the field of renew-ables anywhere in Germany. The project is only feasible, however, if the new construction and extension of large-scale hydropower stations is promoted - like other renewable sources of energy - by the German EEG legislation on renewables. The energy generating costs of 9 eurocents per kilowatt-hour are far higher than the corresponding costs for coal-fired or nuclear power stations. The prospects for EEG subsidies are improving: the government's draft legislation for the EEG amendment currently being discussed in the parliamentary committees also covers "New Large-Scale Hydropower" from outputs of 5 megawatts upwards. The Environment and Economics Ministers agreed on this point following lengthy negotiations.
Prof. Dr. Utz Claassen: "Renewable sources of energy must and will make an increasingly important contribution to the energy mix of the future. We believe that large-scale hydro-power is the most effective and reliable source. EnBW therefore intends to continue with its exemplary commitments in this field to the benefit of all and to extend these commitments wherever feasible and possible."
Gerhard Haury, Chairman of the NaturEnergie Supervisory Board and, as a member of the Management Board of Energiedienst AG, the "builder-owner" of the new hydropower station, sees the visit by Trittin and Claassen as being an important signal. He added that if the adopted EEG legislation includes the "New Large-Scale Hydropower" provisions, it would be possible to make a final decision on the construction of the machine building in 2005 and that the new power station could go on stream by 2012 at the latest: "Mentally, we're already in starting blocks". Work on the first construction phase, the new reservoir dam, has already begun on the High Rhine in the southern Baden town of Rheinfelden and will be completed by 2007. The construction costs for the reservoir dam are in the order of 76 million euros, and the power station is expected to cost over 400 million euros all told.
The new Rheinfelden hydropower station would additionally be able to produce emission-free electricity for 165,000 households. According to the plans, the average annual output is to be increased from the current level of 185 million kWh to 600 million. The new power station will also play a pioneering role in the field of nature conservation. The existing fish pass will be replaced by an 800-metre bypass channel that will act as a salmon spawning ground.
In the Baden-Württemberg region, a number of further promising expansion projects besides Rheinfelden are in the pipeline in the area of large-scale hydropower: an additional 5th turbine is to be fitted to the Iffezheim power station on the Upper Rhine; there are also plans to expand the Reckingen Rhine power station on the High Rhine, and a dam turbine is to be installed in Albbruck-Dogern. EnBW holds stakes in all these power stations. During the next ten years, the expansion of "New Large-Scale Hydropower" could create an additional power generation potential of more than one billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity a year. Promotion of "New Large-Scale Hydropower" under the new EEG legislation would mean that the extra cost to the consumer would be a mere 0.01 eurocents per kWh of electricity.