Germany's grid regulator announced applications to close power plants in the country increased to a combined capacity of 7,740 megawatts, Platts reported. Grid regulator BNetzA said planned closure applications, which account for 46 power generation units, included the 1,275 MW Grafenrheinfeld nuclear reactor owned by power and gas firm E.ON in Bavaria. The company said it has moved the plant closure ahead of schedule to the end of May 2015, saying it was unprofitable to operate.
"The transformation of Europe's energy system continues to offer us attractive growth opportunities in renewables and distributed energy," according to a March report by E.ON. "Nevertheless, a significant portion of our businesses in Europe is under enormous pressure due to interventionist policies and regulations and difficult economic conditions."
Catalysts for the planned closures include under-utilization of mainly older fossil-fueled power plants amid the boom in renewables, annual demand declines and cheaper coal and carbon prices, favoring lignite- and coal-fired power generation, according to Platts. Of the 7,740 MW of planned closures, 4,337 MW of the plants are located in southern Germany. Seven of these units have been deemed as system-critical by BNetzA, meaning the operators of these plants will be offered compensation to keep them running.