EnBW Starts German Coal Plant With Solar Power Near Record

Jun 23, 2014 10:41 am ET

(Updates with start of plant in fifth paragraph)

June 23 (Bloomberg) -- EnBW Energie Baden-Wuerttemberg AG, Germany’s third-largest electricity supplier, started a new coal-fired plant today, boosting supplies at a time when renewable energy output has never been higher.

EnBW, RWE AG and GDF Suez SA plan three new hard-coal plants in Europe’s biggest power market by early July, adding as much as 2,337 megawatts of capacity, or 1.3 percent of the installed total, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Solar output reached a record 24,244 megawatts on June 6, according to the European Energy Exchange AG. One megawatt is enough to supply 2,000 European homes.

The new plants will add capacity to an already oversupplied market where the benchmark power contract is trading near its lowest level in nine years. Next-year power may extend declines by 2.9 percent by the end of the year, according to AVU AG fuer Versorgungs-Unternehmen, an energy trader in Gevelsberg, Germany.

“Capacity in Germany will increase through 2016, from new, large hard coal plants and renewable generation,” Danny Graefe, an energy trader at AVU, said today by e-mail. “That generally drives prices down.”

EnBW Energie Baden-Wuerttemberg AG started its 842-megawatt Karlsruhe-8 block at 3 p.m. Berlin time, according to statement on its website. RWE, Germany’s largest power producer, plans to commence power sales from its 764-megawatt Hamm-E plant on June 28, according to a filing on its website. GDF Suez in Paris plans commercial operations at the 731-megawatt plant in Wilhelmshaven in early July, Alexa Schroeder, a Berlin-based company spokeswoman, said on June 18.

Record Low

German 2015 power traded at 34.50 euros ($46.86) a megawatt-hour at 4 p.m. in Berlin, according to broker data compiled by Bloomberg. The contract fell to a record 33.65 euros on April 3.

It may drop another euro before it expires at the end of the year, Eylert Ellefsen, head of continental analysis at Markedskraft ASA, said today by e-mail from Arendal, Norway.

The next-year contract may fall to as low as 33.50 euros by the end of December, Graefe said.

Output from German solar plants rose to 21,924 megawatts at 1:30 p.m. today, according to EEX.

Germany targets a 45 percent share of renewables in its total electricity supply by 2025, compared with about 27 percent in the first quarter this year. The share of green energy in Germany’s electricity consumption rose to a record 27 percent in the first quarter, according to German utility lobby Bundesverband der Energie- und Wasserwirtschaft e.V.

The nation’s electricity use last year fell to its lowest since 2009, reaching 598 terawatt-hours, according to data from AG Energiebilanzen e.V., an association of energy lobbies and economic research institutes.