Legal opinion confirms: Legal basis disadvantages the operators of reserve power plants
Operators of the Irsching community power plant take legal action for equitable remuneration for
contribution to grid stability and supply security
In March 2015, the owners of the Irsching power plant in Bavaria, ENTEGA, Mainova, N-ERGIE,
and Uniper requested the preliminary decommissioning of the power plant block – just like Uniper
did for the Irsching 4 power plant – because it is not economical to operate under the prevailing
conditions in Germany. Because of the systemic importance of the plant, the transmission system
operator, TenneT mandated the availability so that the plant would continue to be operated as a
reserve for maintaining grid stability.
For this phase of the reserve operation, the owners of the power plant ask that their situation not
be made worse than that of the operators of non-system relevant power plants. They demand
appropriate remuneration for the use of their property in the public interest for reliable power
supply. This entails at least the reimbursement of all costs incurred by the constitutional
This view is confirmed by the legal opinion of Professor Udo di Fabio, Department of Public Law
at the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms University of Bonn, which was commissioned by the
companies: The current regulations of the reserve power plant ordinance as well as the planned
new regulations within the electricity market law do not satisfy the constitutional requirements.
According to the legal opinion, as long as the reimbursement of the costs is related only to the
number of hours in which the power plant actually supplies power to maintain network stability,
the operator of a systemically important power plant will be placed at a disadvantage. An actual
full refund of the plant costs caused by the enslavement of the power plant must also take into
account depreciation and capital costs.
According to Eckhardt Rümmler, Chief Operating Officer responsible for power generation at
Uniper: “The compensation for the provision of power plants for the power reserve must be
regulated fairly. The legal opinion confirms that the present situation is not sustainable”.
“After the decision of OLG Dusseldorf in the spring of 2015, there should have been a new
regulation that ensures the appropriate remuneration of our services for the network operator. We
are still waiting on this today. This situation is unacceptable”, says Josef Hasler, CEO of
“We have been forced against our will to keep the power plant in operation. We have not received
a compensation which fully covers our costs. This is a confiscatory intervention. We therefore call
for a cost-covering compensation for the continued operation of the power plant”, says
Dr Constantin H. Alsheimer, CEO of Mainova AG.
“The Irsching community power plant is a particularly flexible and climate-friendly gas fired power
plant of the latest design. However, based on the present circumstances in the German electricity
market, an old lignite plant is much more profitable than an ultra-modern gas power plant. The
legislature must be active in this case”, says Dr Marie-Luise Wolff-Hertwig, CEO of ENTEGA AG.
The owners of the Irsching community power plant are taking legal action against TenneT
Today, the owners of the Irsching community power plant appealed to the district court of
Dusseldorf. The companies are demanding adequate compensation for the provision of power to
the network operator TenneT in the last three years. According to the owners, TenneT would
have to agree to the adjustment of the contract signed in 2013. On 28 April 2015, the Higher
Regional Court of Dusseldorf ruled that the conditions laid down by the Federal Network Agency
have led to an unreasonably low remuneration.
The payments stipulated in the 2013 agreement do not cover the full cost of provision and
operation of the plant for grid stabilisation. The Higher Regional Court of Dusseldorf also deemed
the compensation inappropriate. In anticipation of a new regulation under the Electricity Market
Act – which still does not exist to this day – TenneT has considerably reduced the contractually
agreed instalment payments since May 2015.
The Irsching Community Power Plant has a capacity of 846 megawatts and went into operation in
2010. With an efficiency of almost 60 percent, it is one of the most modern gas power plants in
Europe. It is operated on behalf of the owner companies by Uniper Kraftwerke GmbH. Uniper
holds 50.2 percent of the shares, N-ERGIE holds 25.2 percent, Mainova holds 15.6 percent, and
ENTEGA holds 9 percent.
Your contact for questions:
+49 2 11-45 79-55 32
+61 51-7 01-11 60
Dr. Thomas Breuer
+69 213-2 54 91
+911 8 02-5 80 50
This press release may contain certain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts
made by the management of Uniper AG and other information currently available. Various known and unknown
risks, uncertainties, and other factors could lead to differences between the actual future results, financial
situation, and development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. Uniper AG does not
intend and undertakes no commitment to update these forward-looking statements or to adjust them to future
events or developments.