LEAG invests in the Leipheim gas turbine power plant project (OCGT)

11. 2. 2021

The project aims to support green energy transition through network stability

LEAG has joined partners in southern Germany to take a further important step towards becoming a diversified energy and service company. It has acquired, with immediate effect, 100% of the shares in Gaskraftwerk Leipheim GmbH & Co. KG (“GKL”), a project company of SWU Stadtwerke Ulm/Neu-Ulm GmbH, which has developed the project together with its partners, Siemens Energy and STEAG. The acquisition of GKL involves investment in the 300MW gas turbine power plant in Leipheim to the northeast of Ulm.

A tender for special network operation equipment launched by Amprion, the Dortmund-based transmission system operator, is the starting point for the construction of the new power plant, which has been designed to ensure grid stability in Germany in emergency situations. GKL was awarded the contract for this forward-looking project.

LEAG, an experienced power plant operator, has assumed responsibility for secure energy supplies in southern Germany as a result of this investment. Like the two gas turbine power plants of Thyrow und Ahrensfelde near Berlin, already operated by LEAG, the Leipheim power station will help stabilize the grid, as there is an urgent need for such facilities in order to achieve stable grid operation, and consequently, successful energy transition.

“LEAG seeks to expand its electricity generation portfolio, having already succeeded in the areas of renewable energy and energy storage systems,“ says Hubertus Altmann, a director of the LEAG power plants. “Facing the decline in secured power plant capacities, we consider gas-fired power plants to be an important pillar of energy transition that contributes to electricity grid stabilization, thereby mitigating the consequences of the phase-out of nuclear and coal-fired power plants. Due to the investment in Leipheim, we are able to enhance our future role as an operator of important facilities contributing to successful energy transition in Germany. At the same time, the investment will be of benefit to Lusatia, as it will help us ensure stable capital flows for rehabilitation of post-mining areas.“ In 2019, two special-purpose companies were established in Brandenburg and Saxony to create special funds for the purpose of restoration of the mining areas, parallel with the provisions to be created by the company under commercial law.

The Leipheim power station will be constructed as special network operation equipment under Section 11 (3) of the German Energy Industry Act in the Amprion grid area. Such equipment will operate in all places where the security and reliability of the electricity supply system so require. In southern Germany, this is particularly necessary in the context of the upcoming decommissioning of the remaining nuclear power plants. The power station is to go into operation in August 2023, with an envisaged performance period of ten years. As Leipheim will not participate in the regular electricity market, call-offs from this power plant will be permitted solely through Amprion, the transmission system operator.

Once the approval for Leipheim is issued, things will need to get moving quickly. GKL has already been granted the pollution prevention and control permit, as well as the planning approval for the gas and electricity routes. Preparatory construction work for the new connection route is already underway and the construction site should be cleared in February. Siemens Energy could start construction of the plant as early as this summer. Siemens Energy will also be responsible for on-site operational management and maintenance, whereas the project will be managed from Lusatia. After being put into operation, the plant will be integrated into the control system of the LEAG power plant, Schwarze Pumpe, and supervised from there.

Lausitz Energie (LEAG) is the largest energy company and the largest private employer in East Germany. 50% of LEAG is controlled by EPH through its subsidiary EP Power Europe, the remaining half is held by PPF Investments.