For the operation of our thermal power plants (nuclear power, coal, oil, gas), large quantities of water are taken from the Rhine and Neckar Rivers in particular for cooling and as process water, which is then fed back in after use.
Through the increased use of modern cooling towers, newer and more efficient power plants and the use of combined heat and power generation, we have been able to considerably reduce the burden on the watercourses compared to the earlier heat input of older thermal power plants with once-through cooling. This is the result of the economic analysis carried out as part of the management planning for the Neckar River in connection with the Water Framework Directive.
Even during summer heat waves and low water periods, sophisticated water, heat and oxygen management, coordinated with the authorities, helps to minimise the impact on water bodies as far as possible.
With the water withdrawal charge that has been payable in Baden-Württemberg for many years, there is not only an ecological aspect but also an economic incentive to use the resource water for cooling purposes only to the extent necessary.