07/16/2013, Berlin

Hildegard Müller on the difficult market situation for many operators of conventional power stations

Several media have today reported on the difficult market situation for many operators of conventional power stations. Reports are also circulating of deliberations about power station shut-downs. Hildegard Mueller, Chairwoman of the General Executive Management Board of the BDEW explained:

„Many existing power stations can no longer be operated profitably in today's energy market and are threatened with shut-down. The BDEW has been talking about this for a long time. It applies in particular to gas-fired power stations but also coal plants. A new ice age also threatens in the new construction of power stations. The reasons for this are the developments in the market, the additional construction of renewable energy plants and the uncertain investment conditions. We have constantly referred to this growing problem, for example at the Hannover Messe this year. According to the BDEW power station list, 79 larger plants in total, with an installed capacity of around 38,000 Megawatts are in planning, in the approval process, approved, in construction or in test operation. However, for almost a third of all projects today, exactly when the plants will come online is unclear. In particular, the planning for plants which were due to be realised after 2015, are being critically scrutinised by the companies involved.

Therefore, we need a transitional instrument which guarantees security of supply even if more power plants are shut-down than expected in the current analysis of the German Federal Network Agency. The mandatory prohibition on power plant shut-downs decided by the government is not an adequate reaction to the economic problems we are facing. According to the Reserve Power Plant Ordinance passed by the German government, solutions will be negotiated behind closed doors, away from the market place. In contrast to this, the strategic reserve proposed by the BDEW would be a transparent, market oriented and cost-effective solution. We therefore hope that the ordinance will be revised and amended accordingly, immediately after the German general elections.

In the long term, a new market design must be developed in which the systems of renewable energies are integrated with those of conventional plants. In order to help this exchange of roles occur and a market dictated by renewable energies be created, a market oriented solution must be found which primarily serves to ensure security of supply. After the elections in September, the further development of the energy market must be addressed by politicians without delay. There will be no grace period for the new German government as the most important questions have all been identified and are well-known,"

You can find the BDEW power station list (status: 15 May 2013) here.

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