German Federal Network Agency: Uniper’s Heyden 4 power plant still needed to secure power supply

  • Federal Network Agency affirms coal-fired plant near Minden as essential
  • Grid operator will use Heyden 4 as reserve power plant until end of September 2022
  • Uniper COO David Bryson: "Very good news for jobs at the site"
  • Due to the importance for the security of supply, a conversion to a phase shifter is foreseen thereafter
  • Uniper ceased commercial electricity generation at Heyden at the end of 2020

Uniper's Heyden 4 power plant in Petershagen near Minden is now no longer slated for decommissioning. The Federal Network Agency announced today that the facility is still needed to serve as a reserve power plant in order to ensure the safe and secure operation of the power supply system. This means that Heyden 4, with its 875-megawatt capacity, is now officially considered essential and is anticipated to remain in operation as a reserve power plant from July 8, 2021 to September 30, 2022. However, it is expected that the plant will be put to use solely at the request of grid operator TenneT — in particular when needed to guarantee a secure supply of electricity to the grid. After the expiry of the system relevance at the end of September 2022, the BNetzA plans to convert the power plant to a phase shifter to further ensure security of supply.

The plant has been in a sort of reserve status since the beginning of the year and has not been generating electricity for the market. It has nevertheless been put into operation seven times since then in order to stabilize the grid. Heyden 4 was awarded the contract by the Network Agency in the initial bid in accordance with the Act for Reducing and Terminating Coal-Fired Generation of August 13, 2020. Had Heyden 4 not been deemed essential, Uniper had planned to close the plant on July 8, 2021.

By 2015, Uniper had already closed coal-fired power plants at its Datteln, Gelsenkirchen Scholven, Knepper, Veltheim and Shamrock sites, equating to an output of around 2400 megawatts. According to the plan for additional coal-fired plant closures in Germany issued in January of 2020, CO2 reductions of up to around 18-million tonnes of CO2 per year are targeted. The Wilhelmshaven 1 power plant recently won the second round of bids on terminating coal-fired generation and will be decommissioned this coming December. Uniper's last coal-fired power plant in Germany will be the Datteln 4 power plant. It is one of the most modern coal-fired power plants worldwide and owing to its outstanding efficiency is a significant element of Uniper's strategy for reducing CO2 emissions.

Uniper is developing forward-looking and sustainable transformation concepts for the energy supply of tomorrow that will be implemented at the power plant locations affected by the closures. This includes plans for the construction and operation of new gas-fired CHP plants to provide district heating, innovative solutions for supplying industrial customers with steam, heating, cooling and electricity, and the construction of plants for the industrial production of hydrogen. As a part of this, site development plans are currently being drawn up for the Heyden plant.

David Bryson, COO of Uniper: "This is great news for our employees at the site, because it means we will be able to keep them on for the time being. Every day for years they have been making a valuable contribution toward making sure people have a secure supply of electricity. The Heyden plant has the potential to remain an important industrial site even after coal-fired power generation is completely phased out. We have been in discussions for some time about possible energy options for the future and about how we can continue to add value to this region. We are currently working intensively to determine the specific projects that will result from these discussions as well as when we will be able to implement them."

About Uniper

Uniper is an international energy company with around 12,000 employees in more than 40 countries. The company plans to make its power generation CO2-neutral in Europe by 2035. With about 35 GW of installed generation capacity, Uniper is among the largest global power generators. Its main activities include power generation in Europe and Russia as well as global energy trading, including a diversified gas portfolio that makes Uniper one of Europe’s leading gas companies. In 2020, Uniper had a gas turnover of more than 220 bcm. Uniper is also a reliable partner for municipalities, public utilities, and industrial companies for developing and implementing innovative, CO2-reducing solutions on their way to decarbonizing their activities. As a pioneer in the field of hydrogen, Uniper is active worldwide along the entire value chain and is implementing projects to make hydrogen usable as a mainstay of energy supply.

The company is headquartered in Düsseldorf and currently the third-largest listed German utility. Together with its main shareholder Fortum, Uniper is also the third-largest producer of CO2-free energy in Europe.


This press release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Uniper SE Management and other information currently available to Uniper. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. Uniper SE does not intend, and does not assume any liability whatsoever, to update these forward-looking statements or to modify them to conform with future events or developments.