In February, EnBW was a joint signatory of the public law contract between the German government and the power plant operators for the phaseout of brown coal. The risk of possible compensation claims from Mibrag AG as the supplier of the brown coal was eliminated in advance. The contract means that our only brown coal power plant – Block S at the Lippendorf power plant – will be decommissioned without compensation by the end of 2035 at the latest.
As a company, we have set ourselves the target of becoming climate neutral by 2035 and stand fully behind the overarching aim of the phaseout of coal.
As part of the brown coal negotiations, we offered to decommission the block – but with compensation – earlier than 2035. However, the German government chose the plan for the power plant that is now agreed: a longer service life but without the compensation that is being received by other operators for their power plants. This timetable brings planning certainty to Lippendorf, the employees and ourselves,” explains Georg Stamatelopoulos, who signed the contract on behalf of EnBW. Block S at the Lippendorf power plant, in the district of Leipzig, has an electrical output of 875 megawatts (net) and is EnBW’s last remaining brown coal power plant. It is operated by LEAG AG, which also owns the second block at the power plant.
The phaseout of coal continues: The coal power plant block RDK 7 will be registered for decommissioning by the middle of 2022.
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 shut down nine conventional power plant blocks, while simultaneously expanding wind and solar power to a total installed output of 4,900 MW today.
RDK 7 is a hard coal power plant block, commissioned in 1985 with an electrical output of 517 megawatts and up to 220 megawatts of district heating output. The plans to take the block 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 block can be decommissioned or whether it is subject to the German regulation on network reserve (NetzResV) for a limited period of time due to its system relevance.
When RDK7 is finally decommissioned, the 90 employees at the site will be covered by an agreement that has been concluded with ver.di and the works councils that ensures the socially responsible phaseout of coal-fired power generation. The agreements range from the exclusion of redundancies to retraining measures and semi-retirement models.
The phaseout of coal was the dominant theme for us in 2021 and we presented plans for the climate-friendly conversion of several power plants. The central component of these conversions is fuel switch technology.
There is no other technology that can make such a huge contribution to reducing CO₂ emissions in such a short amount of time.
In our view, the biggest benefits of the planned conversion of the combined heat and power plant in Stuttgart-Münster are the around 60 percent lower CO₂ emissions than from comparable power plants and significantly lower local air pollutants. The existing coal-fired boiler could be replaced by gas-fired turbines starting in 2025, while a novel, large heat pump could also make a contribution to protecting the climate and the environment. In a pilot project funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, the pump will use residual heat from the cooling water from electricity generation and waste incineration processes to extract energy. Subject to approval and the final investment decision, construction of the new plants could begin in the first quarter of 2023.
We plan to phase out the use of coal at the combined heat and power plant in Heilbronn by 2026. The plans include the operation of a low-emission combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) plant using natural gas, which could replace the existing coal-fired block in five years. However, the aim is to use natural gas as a fuel source in Heilbronn for a transitional period only. By mixing it with hydrogen or other green gases, it will be possible to gradually improve the carbon balance. The ultimate objective is to convert the power plant to 100 percent climate-friendly green gas – such as hydrogen – by the middle of the 2030s. The final decision to invest in the project will be taken after the conclusion of the approval process.
In October, we presented our plans for the construction of a CCGT plant to replace the existing coal power plant to the municipal councils of Altbach and Deizisau. It should generate up to 750 megawatts of electrical power and around 170 megawatts of heat and could replace the existing coal blocks in five years. The electricity generated in the new plant will produce 63 percent less CO₂ emissions. With a planned output of around 4.5 million MWh of electricity, the project could save 2.9 million tonnes of CO₂ each year. Electricity will be initially generated in Altbach/Deizisau using climate-friendly natural gas, until enough hydrogen or other green gas is available.