EON's Uniper Sues Grid Over Irsching Gas-Fed Plants in Germany

  • EON seeks temporary closing or compensation to operate plants
  • TenneT calls for `regulation that provides legal certainty'

EON SE’s Uniper unit sued a transmission-grid operator to win the right to close two gas-fired power plants in Germany that are unprofitable after a plunge in wholesale electricity prices.

Uniper is only willing to continue operating its Irsching 4 and 5 plants from April if it’s fairly compensated, the Dusseldorf-based company said Friday in statements after suits against TenneT TSO GmbH in courts in Bayreuth and Dusseldorf.

TenneT will examine the suits, it said Friday in a statement, calling on lawmakers for a “regulation that provides legal certainty” and the grid regulator for “detailed standards for reimbursement.” The company vetoed plans to close the plants in September because they are needed to keep the grid stable.

Germany is paying some plants for guaranteed supply as the country increases its reliance on less reliable solar and wind power. EON agreed in 2013 to keep Irsching 4 and 5 available in a deal that ends next month. TenneT pays a share of the fixed costs, but Uniper argues the compensation isn’t enough to cover its costs.

The fossil-fuel unit of EON SE, Germany’s biggest utility, filed in March a request to both TenneT and the nation’s grid regulator to temporarily close the two plants used to ensure the country has enough supply to meet peaks in demand.

The 545-megawatt Irsching-4, wholly owned by Uniper, began operating in 2011. The 846-megawatt Irsching-5, which started up the previous year, is 25 percent owned by Nuremberg-based N-Ergie AG, 16 percent by Mainova AG in Frankfurt and 9 percent by Entega AG, a Darmstadt, Germany-based power supplier.

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