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Fig. 1. STEAG GmbH has applied for the Herne 4 power plant to be shut down by March 2025.// Bild 1. Die STEAG GmbH hat die Stilllegung des Kraftwerks Herne 4 bis März 2025 beantragt. Photo/Foto: STEAG

STEAG applies for decommissioning of Herne 4 power plant

Hard coal-fired power generation has been a tradition in Herne/Germany since the 1960s. Back then, the first power plant unit, Herne 1, went into operation. STEAG GmbH, Essen/Germany, continued this tradition with the commissioning of unit Herne 4 in 1989 – and continues to do so today. The plant, with a net generation capacity of 460 MW, can supply more than 1.1 M four-person households with electricity around the clock for a whole year. The combined heat and power plant, which operates on the principle of cogeneration, is also an important source of heat for the Ruhr district heating network. “Herne 4 has always served us very well. My special thanks go to the power plant team on site, who have made a safe and reliable contribution to the security of supply in the region for 35 years,” says Andreas Reichel, Chairman of the Board of Management and Labour Director of the STEAG Board of Management.

As part of the company’s own transformation, the STEAG Group is aiming for climate neutrality by 2040. Due in particular to the sharp drop in electricity prices, which have fallen by around 40 % compared to October 2023, STEAG is now applying to decommission the Herne 4 power plant by March 2025 (Figure 1).

“Of course, this is not an easy step for us. But it is necessary in order to preserve the regained economic strength of the company as a whole,” adds Reichel. The decommissioning of Herne 4 was originally planned for spring 2022. Due to the changed situation on the electricity and gas market following the start of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, STEAG postponed the decommissioning at the time, thereby contributing to greater security of supply, particularly in the critical winter of 2022/23.

With the neighbouring Herne 6 combined cycle gas turbine power plant (CCGT), which STEAG subsidiary Iqony commissioned at the same site in autumn 2022, the supply of electricity and district heating will also be secured in the future. In future, the waste heat from industrial companies in the region will also be used as an additional heat source for a green district heating supply in the Ruhr region.

This means that little will change for the employees on site for the time being. “In addition, the new Herne 6 CCGT at the Herne site offers good employment opportunities for our highly qualified and motivated power plant team,” emphasises Reichel. Herne will remain an important energy location in the Ruhr region in the future. (STEAG/Si.)