Karlsruhe. EnBW Energie Baden-Württemberg AG will register Block 7 of the Rheinhafen steam power plant (RDK) for decommissioning by no later than mid 2022, thereby pressing ahead with its plans to phase out coal-fired power generation. The Supervisory Board approved the plans yesterday. “The planned decommissioning is another step towards achieving EnBW’s sustainability targets,” explained Georg Stamatelopoulos, board member responsible for the sustainable generation infrastructure at EnBW. “We want to reduce carbon emissions by at least 50 percent by 2030 and cut them to net zero by 2035. Since 2013, we have already parted with nine conventional power plant units and simultaneously built up wind and solar power generation with a total output of 4,900 MW now installed.”
Federal Network Agency makes final decision about system relevance and decommissioning
RDK 7 is a hard coal power plant unit, commissioned in 1985 with an electrical output of 517 megawatts and up to 220 megawatts of district heating output. The plans to take the unit out of service will be registered with the Federal Network Agency and the relevant transmission system operator by no later than summer 2022. Following a review by the transmission system operator, the Federal Network Agency then makes the final decision as to whether the power plant unit can be decommissioned or whether it is subject to reserve power plant requirements for a limited period of time due to its system relevance. Besides Block 7, the Rheinhafen steam power plant also houses Block 8, which was commissioned in 2014 to generate electricity and district heating. This is not affected by the decommissioning plans.
Employees protected from the decommissioning plans
The employees in Karlsruhe have been informed this morning about the plans to register the unit for decommissioning. When RDK 7 is finally decommissioned, the 90 employees at the site will be covered by an arrangement that has been agreed with Verdi and the works councils and ensures the socially responsible phase-out of coal-fired power generation. It consists of a collective bargaining agreement for all employees of the Baden-Württemberg Employers' Association of Electricity Companies covering the phase-out of coal as well as a framework company agreement for the EnBW Group. The agreements range from the exclusion of redundancies to retraining measures and semi-retirement models. They apply to all of EnBW’s conventional power plants as soon as a hard coal unit is finally shut down.
The German Grid Reserve Directive (Netzreserve-Verordnung)
The Energy Industry Act and the Grid Reserve Directive stipulate that provisional and final decommissioning must be registered with the relevant transmission system operator (TSO) and the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) at least 12 months in advance. In the next step, the TSO then reviews the system relevance of the power plants and determines the duration of the potential system relevance in consultation with the BNetzA. The power plants can only be taken out of service once they no longer have any system relevance. Power plants with system relevance serve as grid reserves under the terms of the Grid Reserve Directive until they are decommissioned.
With over 24,000 employees, EnBW is one of the largest energy companies in Germany and Europe. It supplies around 5.5 million customers with electricity, gas, water as well as services and products in the areas of infrastructure and energy. The expansion of renewable energies is a cornerstone of the growth strategy and a focus of investment. EnBW will invest around 4 billion euros in the further expansion of wind and solar energy by 2025. By the end of 2025, more than half of the generation portfolio is to consist of renewable energies. This is already having a noticeable effect on reducing CO2 emissions, which EnBW aims to halve by 2030. EnBW is aiming for climate neutrality by 2035.