Uniper has been awarded the contract from grid operator TenneT to build a gas power plant with a capacity of 300 megawatts (MW) in Irsching near Ingolstadt. Uniper will build and operate the plant. TenneT made the announcement today. Starting on October 1, 2022, the power plant will be on stand-by to serve as a “safety cushion” by supplying power in special emergency circumstances. As a “special grid facility”, it will not serve the market and will instead be available on short notice any time system reliability is at risk. For policy makers it serves the goal of ensuring supply system reliability going forward.
In late June 2018 TenneT, together with grid operators Amprion and TransnetBW, issued a call for bids throughout Europe for a total capacity of 1200 MW for special grid facilities pursuant to § 11(3) EnWG [Energy Industry Act] without reference to any particular type of technology. 300 MW will be assigned to each of four regions in southern Germany. Grid operator TenneT has now awarded the first contract for the southern Bavarian region.
Eckhardt Rümmler, Uniper board member and Chief Operating Officer (COO), commented: “I am pleased that Uniper won the competition for a 'special grid facility' to assure a reliable supply of electricity. For this, we will build and operate a new gas power plant. Their high flexibility makes gas power plants ideal for balancing out the increasing share of non-controllable electricity generated from wind and solar energy. They should therefore play an important role when it comes to Germany achieving its ambitious climate goals without incurring excessive risks in supplying industry and homes with electricity. Given the anticipated stable earnings it will generate, this project is a further step in implementing our strategy to significantly increase revenue that is not dependent on the wholesale market.”
Uniper already operates several units at the site. The Ulrich Hartmann plant (Irsching 4, 561 MW) went into operation in 2011 and, with an efficiency rate of 60.4 percent, is one of the most efficient combined cycle facilities worldwide. Block 5 (likewise combined cycle, 846 MW) became operational in 2010 and, with its efficiency rating of 59.7 percent, is also one of the most modern combined cycle plants in Europe. Alongside Uniper, with its 50.2 percent share, N-ERGIE (25.2 percent) Mainova (15.6 percent), and ENTEGA (9 percent) also have stakes in Irsching 5.
Irsching 4 and 5 are currently operated under the so-called grid reserve directive (Netzreserveverordnung). They therefore will be used only when their output is needed to maintain grid stability. The oil-fired block 3 (415 MW) was slated to be permanently shut down in 2012. Owing to the grid situation in southern Germany, the facility has been held in reserve since then for grid operator TenneT.