The owners of the Irsching 5 combined cycle plant (Uniper, N-ERGIE, Mainova and ENTEGA) have declared their intention to the Federal Network Agency and the network operator TenneT to close the facility. They did the same thing two years ago, but were required to keep the unit available in a reserve role, under the Netzreserveverordnung (Reserve Power Plants Ordinance), meaning they are only used when needed to stabilise the network, for which they feel they are insufficiently remunerated.

The owners say they “can once again see no viable market prospects for the power plant…and are therefore once again announcing their intention to mothball it”, from 1 April 2018 onwards.

Alongside this – and for the same reasons – Uniper, as the sole owner of the H class Irsching 4 CCGT, has also announced its intention to mothball that facility as from 1 April 2018.

“Ultra-efficient and modern gas-fired power stations such as Irsching 4 and 5 are particularly well suited to cushioning the big fluctuations in power generated from wind and solar power sources in the short-term”, say the plant owners, “yet this safeguard, upon which every electricity consumer in Germany relies, is not given appropriate remuneration. In fact, statutory requirements force owners to provide these services at prices below cost – a situation that owners find untenable and which they also believe to be unconstitutional.”

They suggest that when the Electricity Market Act (Strommarktgesetz) was passed in the summer of 2016, the opportunity to establish a sustainable market design in order to offer economic prospects to flexible and highly efficient gas-fired power stations was squandered. “During the next legislative session, it is therefore all the more important that flexible gas-fired power stations are finally given their rightful place alongside renewable energies in the market. System services, the significance of which will continue to grow in the years to come in the light of the energy revolution, must be remunerated appropriately.”