It’s Official: Most Efficient Gas-Fired Power Plant To Be Shut Down Due To Losses Stemming From “Energiewende”

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

Spiegel adds:

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'”.


29 responses to “It’s Official: Most Efficient Gas-Fired Power Plant To Be Shut Down Due To Losses Stemming From “Energiewende””

  1. Hans Erren

    April 1 ?

    1. DirkH

      No, MAR 31. Also, this has been in the news for days already.

  2. Stephen Richards

    Not dramatic, deliberate. It’s a shot across the bows of the greenie beenies. Keep going with your shit and we will shut down german production and blame it on you.

    The Government will give them an offer they can’t refuse and the german consumer will pay. Eventually the idiot public will realise what has been going on. But not for a long time yet. I think it may take 5 yrs.

  3. John F. Hultquist

    Many in Germany might not know of Leavenworth, Washington – but should.,_Washington

    The town merchants now import both stuff and tourists, selling the former to the latter. Store fronts are made to look like a Bavarian village.
    How cool is that?

  4. sod

    Well, the big power companies want to have it all. They do not want to close the old brown coal plants and they do not want to pay for new gas plants.

    While i fear they will manage to steal a couple of more millions from the public with this sort of hostage taking, in the long run this will not work out.

    1. Pethefin

      Confirmation bias is a bitch, isn’t it Sod? Now, open your eyes or stop posting more of your propaganda. It is the state of Germany that is about to take privately owned companies as hostage by denying them their right to end an unprofitable business. In other words, the state is forcing the traditional energy companies to swallow the externalities of the big green companies that are allowed to collect the profits from their feed-in-tariff-guaranteed “green” energy but to avoid the liabilities for the unavoidable but “evil” CO2-powered backup systems. Simply amazing, is there no freedom of enterprise in Germany anymore in the energy sector for other than supposedly green businesses?

      1. sod

        “… is there no freedom of enterprise in Germany anymore in the energy sector for other than supposedly green businesses?”

        Were the big companies banned from investing in “green” power?

        No, they were not. They made a many serious false business choices and now suffer (parts of) the consequences.

        The Investment in alternative power is not a “green scam” as you acn easily see in other countries (for example China) which also invest.

        Even the BP reports shows, than wind and solar will be cheaper than coal and gas in the near future.
        (page 70)

        The big power companies (as BP still does) simply underestimated the development.

        Wind and solar are cheaper than other forms of power in some form today. Nothing but prohibition (of grid use) will stop them from enetering the market.

        And storage or smaller networks are coming up. Then even probition will not work!

        The power comapnies have had decades of profits froms owning the grids. Now they will have to pay a little. Bad business decisions!

        1. Pethefin

          Thanks Sod for so clearly confirming that only green business is now considered fall under the freedom of enterprise in Germany.

  5. Bernd Felsche

    I wonder if Sigmar Gabriel has considered the possibility of e.g. E.On’s recently divested but loss-making, reliable generation company declaring itself insolvent due to the government subsidising “competitors”. Liquidators must be able to sell the assets, but government policy has resulted in them being at zero market value so (under Articles 14(1) and 14(3) of Basic Law) the government may have to compensate E.On using taxpayers’ money.

  6. Leonard Lane

    Looks bad for Germans. Either the government does not let the gas plant close and suffers lawsuits, or it lets the gas plants close and suffers blackouts, or it takes taxpayer money and subsidizes the gas plants to make up for erratic wind generated power. In any of the three cases the loony leftists and radical greens win and German citizens loose.

    1. KenW

      Correct. It will either cost lots of (more!) money – or the lights will start going out.

      Unfortunately, the German public – and particularly the media – do not understand the problems involved. They simply don’t (want to) understand the requirements and economics of running a stable electricity grid.

      They blame the evil energy companies and politicians for not implementing the Energiewende correctly – or – they actually think that renewables are making fossil fuels obsolete.

      If the public doesn’t start coming to their senses soon, the (evil) energy suppliers will either extract lots of cash from the government to keep running, or they will pick up their marbles and go elsewhere.

      The Germans have nobody to blame but themselves, but I don’t see them coming to this realization any time soon.

  7. sod

    Germany has just reduced its CO2 output by nearly 5%.

    The data shows a decrease from a level of above 1100 (mio t of CO2 equivalent) to 900 last year.

    AND Geramny has abandoned nuclear power at the same time, closing about half the nuclear power plants.


    PS: as you will notice, all articles claim that the reduction is caused to a significant part by the mild winter. It is funny, but nobody talked about cold winters, when CO2 output did not drop as much as expected.


    PPS: German weekly “Die Zeit” has a nice graph of the distribution of CO2 output over different sectors:

    1. Moose

      “Germany has just reduced its CO2 output by nearly 5%.”
      You do know that CO2 is food for plants, crops and the like? Reducing this life bringing gas equals to less food for humans, a less green planet, less sustainable life and you know where that leads to: more hunger, people dying etc etc..
      Yes, green is the future.

  8. Andre

    I feel if gas-fired power plant got shut down then more problems will arise like frequent power cutting, frequent power goes down, losses of money, etc.

    Industrial Component Manufacturers

  9. John F. Hultquist

    It seems one of the commenters missed a couple of your posts about Germany outsourcing energy intensive production. Here’s a link to an initial announcement from 5 years ago, and the trend continues:

    I’m not sure when this issue was discussed here but remember DirkH making a comment. He appeared to know more about carbon fiber production than was in the article, and more than I do. The link I gave then was about an expansion of the Moses Lake plant, not the first announcement – as above.

    I’m not sure we should consider Volvo a EU company but it is planning on a new plant in the USA.

    Anyway, industrial production needs electrical energy and often German engineering, but it doesn’t actually need Germany.

    1. Stephen Richards

      BMW to USA, Mercedes to USA, VW to USA. Outsourcing on a grand scale

    2. sod

      It seems one of the commenters missed a couple of your posts about Germany outsourcing energy intensive production. ”

      If you link some old posts relevant to the subject, i promise to read them.

      But the “outsourcing” theory is in trouble, because global CO2 emissions are also flat.

      Unless we are outsourcing to the moon, that is…

      1. Ed Caryl

        Are you confusing flat emissions for no emissions?

        1. sod

          “Are you confusing flat emissions for no emissions?”


          “Outsourcing” can explain a reduction in the German CO2 output, for example when production of energy intensive products was moved to China.

          But then the reduction in Germany would be compensated by an increase in China.

          But the CO2 output of China fell as well last year.

          And as we discussed, CO2 output was reduced globally. So “outsourcing” is no explanation for the reduction in CO2 output in some countries any longer.


          PS: The USA has just pledged to reduce CO2 output by 28%.

          PPS: and higher CO2 cuts might even save money, create job and give health benefits:

          (be warned, “green” source”…)

      2. John F. Hultquist

        But the “outsourcing” theory is in trouble, because global CO2 emissions are also flat.

        I think the above is called a non sequitur.
        Outsourcing has many causes, for example, the USA lost many jobs (think making shoes) because labor in Asia was less costly. Places with unreliable and/or high cost energy will find old plants closing while new plants are built elsewhere. Washington State (USA) has low power costs and that electricity is very reliable because of large dams on the Columbia River. Internet server farms, and yes BMW in Moses Lake, are here because of the low cost power – and it is nearly CO2 free. To add just a bit more, the plentiful supply of natural gas (lower CO2 than coal) decreases the cost of electricity, and thus increases the profitability of plants while decreasing CO2 emissions. Businesses not run by governments have to be profitable.
        Germany is currently on a path for base load power to be government provided.

        1. sod

          The “outsourcing” argument for CO2 goes like this:

          Even if country A is reducing the CO2 output, it is not because of a real reduction of CO2 (for example alternative power or even gas power) but only because the CO2 intensive industry was moved to country B and there it is causing the same CO2 out put as it was in country A before.

          This theory actually had some value in the past, but it has no longer.

          Your example above is a good one, but it wiull also end in a scenario with LESS CO2 output than in the beginning (and that is good).

          In most production, energy cost is not a relevant factor, by the way. At least none, that will move factories. And the German spot market is actually providing cheap electricity to companies!

          1. John F. Hultquist

            The several hundred workers in the carbon fiber plant in Moses Lake, Washington will be astonished to learn that energy cost has nothing to do with their jobs in the middle of nowhere. Likewise for those at the server-facilities of Microsoft, Dell, …, Yahoo. Link now 3 years old:

  10. sod

    Spain got 47% of its power from renewable sources in March:

    At the same time the tiny Spanish island of El Hierro is preparing to get 100% wind/water power soon:

    Folks, you have to be careful, it might be that you keep shouting “impossible” about stuff that is already happening…


    John, i do not know, what you are trying to tell me. There are economic reasons to build certain energy intensive factories at places with cheap power. But this is not the average factory and it is even different, if the factory already exists.

    The point i made above was about CO2. With the global (and even the Chinese) CO2 level falling, the argument about CO2 output only getting moved (instead of CO2 output really sinking) is getting weak.

  11. sod

    I stumbled over this funny source today. The most accurate prediction of thew development of alternative power was provided by…


    Others have to constantly “adjust” their predictions. It is more than funny!

    1. DirkH

      “Others have to constantly “adjust” their predictions. It is more than funny!”

      Good that we agree about climate scientists and their failed predictions of Global warming. Indeed, Trenberth, Hansen et al are a sick joke. Big Government Science must purge itself of them or become a laughing stock.

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