New Information by BDEW and BNetzA on Expected German Power Generation Capacity Developments

The latest update of the Federal Association of the Energy and Water Industry’s (BDEW) list of power plant projects planned until 2020 (or without date for commissioning) comprising plants with a high availability (conventional and offshore plants) mentions increasing investor uncertainty and reluctance, with an exception in the offshore sector. On 2 April 2014 the Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) also presented an update of its list of existing power plants and gave new information on prospective construction and decommissioning.

I. BDEW Information

“The situation on the power plant market has aggravated. Investor uncertainty as well as economical pressure on existing power plants is steadily increasing. Meanwhile 43% of all power plant projects are put into question. This goes for 32 of the 74 projects planned until 2020, whereas only 22 projects were called into question last year”, Hildegard Müller, Chairman of the BDEW Executive Board, said.

Mrs Müller called developments in the offshore sector positive. This year and next year alone nine new offshore wind parks were scheduled to start operations, she said. One reason was that grid connection has improved, pointing out that legislative measures as well as those by transmission system operators and power plant operators were bearing fruit.

“The facts in the BDEW power plant list (BDEW-Kraftwerksliste) and the expected losses in the power plant fleet (due to the closure of plants) demonstrate that the government has to attend immediately and intensively to the problems of the power plant market, once the bill for the EEG Reform (reform of the renewables law ) will have been submitted (to parliament). The government has to make preparations for a capacity market as announced in the coalition government, so that we are prepared for possible bottlenecks in a few years time”, Mrs Müller demanded. Based on present knowledge secure capacity will decline by 13,600 MW by the time Germany will have phased out nuclear power in 2022, if the regulatory framework does not change, Mrs Müller emphasized (for more information, please see here).

The BDEW power plant list (Kraftwerksliste) contains projects of plants with high availability (including offshore plants) and a net capacity of at least 20 MW. According to the new list, 74 plants (2013: 76 plants) with a total capacity of approximately 38,000 MW (2013: also approximately 38,000 MW) are currently being planned, are undergoing permitting procedures, have already received the necessary permits, are under construction or have started trial operations (April 2012: 84 power plants projects with an installed capacity of roughly 42,000 MW). As last year 3 plants with a capacity of 3,302 MW have started trial operations. Another 17 plants with total of 6,868 MW are under construction (for more information, please see here).

II. BNetzA Information

On 2 April 2014 BNetzA also made an updated list available on the internet showing German power plant capacity. It comprises power plants with a net capacity of at least 10 MW and also contains power plants from Luxembourg, France, Switzerland and Austria, which feed into the German grid. Besides, the list includes power plants with a capacity smaller than 10 MW which receive feed-in tariffs pursuant to the Renewable Energy Source Act (EEG).

On 2 April 2014 the power plant list contained plants with a net capacity of 188.4 GW (without final shutdowns), including 83.2 GW renewable power plants, 78.6 GW of which are eligible for feed-in tariffs under the EEG (2013: 175.3 GW, including 75.5 GW renewables, 71.5 GW of which are eligible for feed-in tariffs under the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG)).

Final shutdowns of generation plants since 31 December 2011 are also included in the BNetzA’s list to allow a better analysis of the developments in the generation sector in future. They accounted for 3.3 GW on 2 April 2014.

As part of its monitoring duties, BNetzA also collects data on the prospective construction and decommissioning of power plants with a net nominal capacity of at least 10 MW. Due to their particular importance for the security of supply, the agency publishes key data for non-volatile power plants under construction, along with the expected decommissioning of non-volatile plants until 2018. Non-volatile describes all sources of energy with the exception of hydro electric and high-pressure storage power plants as well as photovoltaic and wind power plants (Lauf- und Speicherwasser, Photovoltaik und Wind).

According to BNetzA nationwide 8,605 MW non-volatile power plant capacity is under construction and will be completed presumably by 2016 (with 1.948 MW being constructed in Southern Germany that is particularly affected by the nuclear shutdowns). On the other hand operators planned to close down 12,253 MW (7,338 MW in Southern Germany) by 2018. However, as per 1 April 2014 operators have only formally notified BNetzA of the closure of 7,460 MW  (4.157 MW in Southern Germany) in accordance with Section 13a EnWG (German Energy Act). As BNetzA points out such notifications are a prerequisite for closures. Another one is a waiting period of generally 12 months.

Provided that formal notifications of closures are submitted, this could result in a negative balance of -3,648 MW for the whole country by the end of 2018 and a negative balance of -5,390 MW for Southern Germany, BNetzA points out. Yet five plants with a capacity of 668 MW have been declared system-relevant in the sense of Section 13a EnWG, with the effect that they will not be decommissioned for the time being, BNetzA informed.

Source: BDEW; Federal Network Agency

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