It’s official. Germany’s Irsching power plant in Bavaria will be shutting down its recently built Block 4 and 5 gas-fired turbines. Both combined put out approximately 1.4 gigawatts of power. Online Spiegel here reports that its operators say it is no longer worth operating due to Germany’s Energiewende (transition to renewable energy).
The sporadic supply of solar and wind power into the grid means that the gas-turbines run only part-time, and often within a range that is inefficient. Two weeks ago I reported on this here. Now it’s official.
The Irsching Blocks 4 & 5 are the ultimate in gas-turbine engineering – reaching an efficiency of 60.75%. But its operators, among them energy giant E.on, announced that they are shutting down the turbines effective April 1, 2016. Spiegel writes the reason is “the lack of opportunity for economical operation“.
E.on and the other partner operators will need to obtain the shut-down approval from the Germany regulatory authorities.
Energiewende has thrown the energy market in turmoil
Gas-fired power plants are currently under massive pressure due to the Energiewende and the plunge of power prices on the trading markets. ‘The growing amounts of subsidized power from renewable energies and the low wholesale prices for electricity no longer allow operation on the market,’ the four [Irsching] operators declared.”
Spiegel writes that the legal and political situation is also set to potentially become really messy. Already as “ultima ratio”, legal action is being threatened should German regulatory officials turn down E.on’s and its partner operators’ request to shut down the plant, something that German Economics Minister Sigmar Gabriel said the authorities would not allow to happen as the German power grid has become too precarious.
Supply problems are set to become far more critical as Germany will be forced by law to shut down its remaining nuclear power plants by 2022. Currently the German state of Bavaria is also blocking the construction of two major power transmission lines which would deliver power from large-scale wind parks in the North and Baltic seas.
With power transmission lines blocked, nuclear power slated to be decommissioned and gas power plants being shut down, the south German states are rapidly being maneuvered into a position where they will soon be confronted by huge power supply bottlenecks. Large power consumers are becoming wary.
Spiegel writes that E.on’s Irsching shut-down announcement jacks up the pressure on politicians.
Unless all the green madness ends quickly, soon there may be no more lights left to switch off in Bavaria on “Earth Day'”.