Statkraft Puts Another Gas-fired Power Plant into Cold Reserve

14.03.2013 08:00 | pressrelease

Power plant in Germany

Photo: Jörg Hillebrand

Düsseldorf / Landesbergen, 14 March 2013 – The gas-fired power plant “Robert Frank” in Landesbergen/Germany will be put into cold reserve. This was announced today by Statkraft, the operator of the 510 MW plant. Along with the plant’s closure, onsite staff will be reduced. A biomass plant that is located at the same site will continue to operate on a standalone basis.

“In our view, gas-to-power still is the most efficient and environmentally-friendly technology for complementing the production of renewable energy in Germany,” says Asbjørn Grundt, Executive Vice President Market Operations and IT. “However, in the current market situation it is not economically viable to operate older gas-fired power plants, let alone invest in new generation capacities.”

Currently, 45 permanent employees work at the Landesbergen site, operating the gas and the biomass plant jointly. In addition, there are 6 apprentices. “We are currently assessing exactly how many employees will be affected. We will now start the negotiations with the works council to ensure that the inevitable reduction of staff is handled in a socially responsible way,” says Hilde Bakken, Executive Vice President Power Generation. “Statkraft will, of course, fulfill all obligations towards its apprentices. All of them will be given the chance to complete their training.”

“Unfortunately, the market perspectives for gas-to-power in Germany have continued to deteriorate over the past twelve months,” explains Dr. Jürgen Tzschoppe, Senior Vice President Continental Energy at Statkraft. “Based on the current market status, it is not possible to operate the plant economically. And we cannot justify keeping a reserve unit in the portfolio while the efficient power plants in Knapsack and Herdecke are hardly running. The plant is a cheap reserve in comparison to other technologies but we don’t get any compensation for keeping such a reserve alive.” TenneT, the transmission system operator, recently classified the Robert Frank power station as non-system relevant.

The ultra-modern combined cycle gas and steam turbine power plant Knapsack II will commence operations in the second quarter of 2013. Also, the gas-fired plants Knapsack I and Herdecke will continue operations.  As of summer 2013, Statkraft’s gas-fired portfolio will exclusively consist of modern, highly efficient power plants.

Nevertheless, Statkraft sees a need to seriously look into the market design. “The ‘Energiewende’ depends on a set-up that ensures the operation of flexible and low emission generation capacity. The closure of our gas-fired power plants and the growing market share of coal-fired generation clearly demonstrate that we are off track. A system is needed that supports the most efficient, environmental-friendly, and flexible solutions to balance the system. The most efficient mix of technology, be it gas-fired generation or storage, demand side management, cable connections to large reservoirs or a mix of all must be determined in a market yet to be created,” says Jürgen Tzschoppe.

About Statkraft
Statkraft is Europe's leader in renewable energy. The group develops and generates hydropower, wind power, gas power and district heating, and is a major player on the European energy exchanges. Statkraft has 3,500 employees in more than 20 countries.