German utility EnBW weighs $1.7 billion for gas plant expansion


A logo of German electricity supplier EnBW Energie Baden-Wuertemberg AG is pictured at the company’s headquarters in Karlsruhe, March 17, 2015. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski

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FRANKFURT/DUESSELDORF, Feb 4 (Reuters) – German utility EnBW (EBKG.DE) is planning to spend 1.5 billion euros ($1.7 billion) on a planned expansion of gas-fired power plants in its country of origin, which the current government has declared to be necessary to facilitate the transition to renewable energy.

Current plans envisage the installation of 1.5 gigawatts (GW) of additional gas-fired power plant capacity, provided that the regulatory framework under EU taxonomy rules makes such a decision possible.

“We are convinced that these power plants are absolutely necessary for the supply of energy. Someone has to build them,” Georg Stamatelopoulos, EnBW board member in charge of operations, told Reuters.

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This, he said, would include the upgrading of old coal-fired power plants to convert them to gas-fired plants and would entail total investments of around 1.5 billion euros, adding that the company was already drawing up plans to its sites.

Stamatelopoulos said EnBW was open to partners in this push, which could include an additional 600 megawatts in the 2030s.

Including spare capacity, EnBW – which plans to double its onshore and offshore and triple its solar by 2025 – today has around 1.2 GW of gas-fired power plants.

Gas-fired power plants will be the main technology to help Europe’s largest economy manage a transition to renewable energy sources at a time when two main baseload sources – nuclear and coal – are being phased out .

Estimates of the number of gas-fired power plants needed in Germany by the end of the decade range from 10 GW to 40 GW. Read more

He said recent proposed changes to EU taxonomy rules, under which gas and nuclear energy would likely get a ‘green’ label to provide better access to finance, were a step in the right direction.

“This is an important step to mobilize private investment to meet EU climate protection targets,” Stamatelopoulos said.

($1 = 0.8715 euros)

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Reporting by Christoph Steitz and Tom Kaeckenhoff Editing by Miranda Murray

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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