Business field power plants

Energy sources such as coal, gas and other fuels will remain important components of a reliable supply for the foreseeable future. Whether electricity, district heating or process steam - our lignite-fired power plants supply flexibly and in line with demand along the legally prescribed phase-out path for this form of energy generation. At the same time, we are expanding our portfolio. In addition to investments in renewable energies, storage facilities and hydrogen, we are building and operating grid-serving gas-fired power plants as well as plants for the energy recovery of substitute fuels, which flank the energy transition.

LEAG's power plant portfolio

LEAG operates lignite-fired power plants near Leipzig and in the Lusatian region with an installed capacity of around 8,000 megawatts, 1,000 megawatts of which are on standby. The power plant sites are located in Jänschwalde, Schwarze Pumpe, Boxberg and Lippendorf. Further north near Berlin are the two gas turbine power plants Thyrow and Ahrensfelde, which are part of Germany's capacity reserve. Near Ulm, we are building the Leipheim gas-fired power plant on behalf of the transmission grid operator Amprion, which will also serve exclusively to ensure grid stability and thus uninterrupted power supply.

In addition to fossil fuels, we rely on the energetic utilisation of non-sortable or recyclable waste in our power plants. Together with the environmental service provider Veolia, we are planning a thermal treatment plant for refuse-derived fuels (RDF) at the Jänschwalde site, which can decouple electricity, heat and process steam. At the Boxberg power plant, we are investing in a technical expansion for the co-incineration of secondary fuels. Both projects contribute to safe disposal in the sense of the circular economy and to CO2-reduced energy supply.

The lignite-fired power plants

The supply of lignite fuel is ensured by the nearby opencast mines Jänschwalde, Welzow-Süd, Nochten and Reichwalde. In purely mathematical terms, the electricity generated by our power plants is sufficient to a reliable and continuous supply of approximately 12 million households. Efficient cogeneration provided, they also deliver around three billion kilowatt hours of district heating per year. The supply of heat takes place in close vicinity to our sites for example in Leipzig and the Lusatian towns of Cottbus, Spremberg, Weißwasser and Hoyerswerda. Our third product is process steam available for industrial customers.

The electricity production of the lignite-fired power plants is adapted to the demand of electricity consumers and the currently available electricity generation from renewable energies (redispatch). In this way, they contribute flexibly to stable electricity grid operation and provide system services such as control energy and reactive power for the grid operators as well.

By the end of 2038 at the latest, coal-fired power generation in Germany is to be phased out by law. Following the shutdowns during the period of political transition and the extensive technical modernisation of the last 30 years, this accelerated phase-out is the industry's final contribution to achieve Germany's climate targets. The phase-out path envisages that, starting in 2025, the 500 MW units of LEAG will be gradually taken off the grid. This is to take place partly in the context of a phased decommissioning and is to be completed by the end of 2029. The remaining power plants are scheduled for decommissioning in 2035 and 2038.

Power plant Installed capacity Electricity produced 2020
Jänschwalde 3,000 megawatts 11.9 billion kWh
Schwarze Pumpe 1,600 megawatts 9.5 billion kWh
Boxberg 2,575 megawatts 14.3 billion kWh
Lippendorf (Block R)    920 megawatts 5.3 billion kWh

Our gas-fired power plants

The German energy supply is undergoing a transformation from still mainly conventional generation to almost exclusive use of renewable sources. As a result of the nuclear and coal phase-out secure, weather-independent power plant capacities are gradually decreasing, while electricity demand is increasing due to digitalisation, electromobility and power-to-X technologies (sector coupling). Gas-fired power plants will therefore become temporarily important pillars of supply security and of electricity grids in the energy transition. As controllable and highly flexible plants, their production can be adjusted at any time to the electricity demand of consumers and the currently available electricity generation from renewables.

For electricity grid operators, our gas-fired power plants take over  various functions to ensure stable grid operation and an uninterrupted power supply. With our Thyrow and Ahrensfelde gas-fired power plants, we have already gained experience in operating grid-serving facilities. We are continuing along this path with the construction of the Leipheim gas-fired power plant as a special grid-related resource (bnBm) in southern Germany. In the future, we also see gas-fired power plants as a basis for integrated technology projects, for example in  the gradual fuel switch to green hydrogen and the combination with renewable energies, electrolysis and storage technologies.

The energetic recovery

Since the beginning of the 2000s, LEAG's lignite-fired power plants have been contributing to environmentally friendly and resource-conserving waste disposal through co-incineration approved under the Federal Immission Control Act. However, as a result of the coal phase-out in Germany, the co-incineration of waste in the lignite-fired power plants in Lusatia is also gradually being phased out. We are preparing two projects to make up for this capacity gap in time:

 

At the Boxberg power plant we are investing in new technical facilities for the thermal utilisation of secondary fuels (SBS). The modern power plant units Q and R are expected to utilise a maximum of 300,000 tonnes of SBS per year from 2023. SBS is a fuel source with a high calorific value that is processed at great expense and is completely burnt together with lignite in the combustion chamber of the steam generator. It is produced by waste management companies from non-hazardous, non-recyclable municipal and commercial municipal waste. With the use of thermal utilisation of SBS, considerable amounts of CO2 from fossil sources can be saved at both units. At the same time, the technical expansion of the existing power plant ensures disposal security in the regional environment.

Another project for the energetic recovery of refuse derived fuels (RDF) processed from non-hazardous waste is the Jänschwalde energy and utilisation plant (EVA). The Jänschwalde lignite-fired power plant, which currently thermally utilises around 400,0000 tonnes of secondary fuel per year, will be gradually taken off the grid and decommissioned between the end of 2025 and the end of 2028. EVA Jänschwalde contributes to securing necessary thermal utilisation capacities in the long term. At the same time, the new generation of plants is prepared for increasing demands on technology and environmental protection in waste utilisation. It strengthens the site through energy decoupling and the creation of 50 new jobs. We are planning the EVA Jänschwalde together with the environmental service provider Veolia. Further information at www.eva-lausitz.de.