The German government has announced its plans to launch tenders for 10GW of new gas-fired power station capacity in 2024.

The facilities are expected to transition to clean hydrogen as part of the country’s efforts to move away from fossil fuels, Reuters has reported.

Economy Minister Robert Habeck indicated that the tenders could be finalised before the 2024 summer break.

Utilities are preparing to bid for subsidies that the government has pledged, as the new plants are intended to support renewable energy sources until a fully green electricity supply is feasible.

Financial support is deemed necessary due to the plants’ intermittent operation, which is dependent on the fluctuating supply from renewables and may not be sufficient to cover their investment costs.

The news agency has quoted public statements from companies on their involvement in the scheme.

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IQONY, a subsidiary of the coal-to-power group Steag, has expressed interest in constructing hydrogen-ready gas-fired plants at several locations, contingent on the government tender conditions.

The company has highlighted the need for timely action from Berlin, as it cannot continue operating coal plants indefinitely.

Uniper CEO Michael Lewis stated in February 2024 that he sees significant potential in the government’s plan and is advocating for rapid implementation.

The company is prepared to begin with 1 to 2GW, subject to acceptable government framework conditions.

However, Lewis believes that the proposed 10GW is not enough to expedite the transition from coal, estimating a need for between 20 and 25GW of new capacity.

Regional utility EnBW is also a probable participant in the tenders, with an interest in sites in the southwest.

Its new CEO Georg Stamatelopoulos has confirmed the company’s interest but noted that the legislative details require further development.

LEAG, a coal miner operating in eastern Germany, has plans for gas-fired power stations at four sites with a combined capacity of at least 3GW, including an 870MW plant at the Schwarze Pumpe site.

RWE, focusing on mining and generation in western Germany, has indicated its capability to construct 3GW capacity within the scope of the tenders.

It has plans for a hydrogen-ready gas turbine plant and has identified additional potential sites.

The German division of Norwegian power utility Statkraft is also considering the government’s plan, prioritising the conversion of its existing gas-fired plants to hydrogen.

Kraftwerke Mainz-Wiesbaden is looking to build a hydrogen-ready gas plant with combined power and district heat capacity at the site of an existing gas engine plant, aiming for commissioning in 2028 if the government strategy aligns with its plans.