The German utility E.ON, formed by the amalgamation of PreussenElektra and Bayernwerk, has announced that it plans to close several power plants with a combined capacity of around 4800 MW. The company, which cited commercial reasons, has a total installed capacity of 30 000 MW. RWE has also announced that it plans to close down plants.

The closures are due to current overcapacity in Germany; this has been exacerbated by a fall in the cost of electricity following liberalisation of the electricity sector.

The KKS nuclear plant at Stade is among the plants earmarked by E.ON for closure. This is the second oldest nuclear station in Germany. The other plants in the closure plan include lignite-fired plants in Arzberg, Bavaria, supplied with lignite from Chechnia under contracts that expire in 2005 and a coal-fired plant at Aschaffenburg.

The date for the closure of Stade is 2003, but this could come earlier. Some coal, oil and gas-fired units are expected to close in 2001. Decommissioning of Stade will take around 10 years and cost $600 million.

Meanwhile RWE has said it will close down plants with a combined capacity of around 4000 MW until 2004. If the cost of electricity remains at 4.5 pfennig/kWh, further plants may also have to be shut. This decision will affect coal and gas fired plants and the nuclear power station at Mülheim-Kärlich.