Uniper’s Heyden 4 coal plant ‘still needed’

1 June 2021

Uniper's Heyden 4 coal fired power plant in Petershagen, near Minden, which ceased commercial electricity generation at the end of 2020, is no longer slated for decommissioning. The Federal Network Agency announced today that the facility is still needed to serve as a reserve power plant in order to ensure the safe and secure operation of the power supply system. This means that Heyden 4, with its 875 MW capacity, is now officially considered essential and is anticipated to remain in operation as a reserve power plant from 8 July 2021 to 30 September 2022. However, it is expected that the plant will be put to use solely at the request of grid operator TenneT – in particular when needed to guarantee a secure supply of electricity to the grid. After the expiry of system relevance at the end of September 2022, the BNetzA plans to convert the power plant to a phase shifter to further ensure security of supply.

The plant has been in reserve status since the beginning of the year and has not been generating electricity for the market. It has nevertheless been put into operation seven times since then in order to stabilise the grid. Heyden 4 was awarded the contract by the Network Agency in the initial bid in accordance with the Act for Reducing and Terminating Coal-Fired Generation of 13 August 2020. Had Heyden 4 not been deemed essential, Uniper had planned to close the plant on 8 July 2021.

By 2015, Uniper had already closed coal-fired power plants at its Datteln, Gelsenkirchen Scholven, Knepper, Veltheim and Shamrock sites, equating to an output of around 2400 MW. According to the plan for additional coal-fired plant closures in Germany issued in January of 2020, CO2 reductions of up to around 18-million tonnes of CO2 per year are targeted. The Wilhelmshaven 1 power plant recently won the second round of bids on terminating coal-fired generation and will be decommissioned this coming December. Uniper's last coal-fired power plant in Germany will be the Datteln 4 power plant. It is one of the most modern coal-fired power plants worldwide and owing to its outstanding efficiency is a significant element of Uniper's strategy for reducing CO2 emissions.

Uniper is developing sustainable transformation concepts for the ‘energy supply of tomorrow’ that will be implemented at the power plant locations affected by the closures. This includes plans for the construction and operation of new gas-fired CHP plants to provide district heating, innovative solutions for supplying industrial customers with steam, heating, cooling and electricity, and the construction of plants for the industrial production of hydrogen. As a part of this, site development plans are currently being drawn up for the Heyden plant.

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