German energy group E.ON will mothball its 430MW combined-cycle gas turbine (CCGT) in Malzenice, western Slovakia, as of October 2013, saying the plant can no longer operate profitably in the current environment, characterized by low electricity and carbon prices.
E.ON stated that the unmanaged, heavily subsidized growth of renewables and the resulting collapse of the EU emissions trading scheme have made the operations of European gas-fired power plants unprofitable. Power plants have been additionally hit by the sluggish economy, which has resulted in lower power demand and decreasing wholesale power prices.
In January, E.ON announced it was considering closing down conventional power stations with a total capacity of 11,000MW. In May 2013, the German company said it was considering the closure of the Malzenice plant. It is still considering closing other plants in Europe.
The Malzenice CCGT, which has a gross generating capacity of 430MW, entered service in January 2011. The unit, whose fuel efficiency exceeds 58%, was planned to operate at least 4,000 to 5,000 hours per year, but has operated for about only 5,600 hours during the past two and a half years. E.ON invested EUR 400mn in the Malzenice plant.
Earlier this year, E.ON sold its 24.5% stake in Slovakia's dominant gas utility Slovensky Plynarensky Priemysel (SPP) to Czech energy group Energeticky a Prumyslovy Holding (EPH) for EUR 1.3bn. According to unconfirmed media reports, E.ON has been also considering selling its 49% stake in Zapadoslovenska Energetika (ZSE), the main electricity distributor in western Slovakia.
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