GKM (Mannheim) power station

From Global Energy Monitor

GKM Mannheim power station is a 2,147-megawatt (MW) coal plant owned by Grosskraftwerk Mannheim (GKM) in Baden-Württenberg, Germany.


The undated satellite below shows the plant in Mannheim.

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The Mannheim power plant was originally built in 1921 by the city of Mannheim, with several units added and retired until the present. It is currently operated by three German public utility companies: RWE, EnBW, and MVV Energie.[1] The GKM Mannheim power station originally consisted of the following units, commissioned from 1954 to 1993:[2]

  • Unit 1: 125 MW
  • Unit 2: 160 MW
  • Units 3 and 4: 220 MW each
  • Unit 5: 430 MW
  • Unit 6: 280 MW
  • Unit 7: 475 MW
  • Unit 8: 480 MW

Units 1-2 and Unit 5 have been retired. Units 3-4 were retired in 2015, after unit 9 came online.[2]

In 2021, Unit 7 was meant to be retired but was still operational, as the Federal Network Agency classified the unit as "systemically relevant" for the power supply, mandating that it be kept operational until at least March 2025 so it can supply power if necessary.[1] In June 2022, Unit 7 was on standby. However, due to concerns over energy security in light of the war in Ukraine, the unit could be brought back online by the government.[3]

Unit 9

Unit 9 was a proposed 912 MW ultra-supercritical unit. A Power in Europe newsletter described the GKW consortium consisting of "RWE Power with 40%, ENBW Kraftwerke with 32% and MVV Energie with 28%". The concept of the project is that it replace two existing 220 MW units (units 3-4). "The project has political, trade union and industry support, but environmental groups are opposed to the plan," Power in Europe reports.[4]

Announced in 2007, the new unit had an initial investment of 1.1 billion Euros and was scheduled to go online in 2013. According to Deutsche Umwelthilfe, the project received its emission permit in July 2009 and its water permit in August 2009. Construction began in June 2012. A lawsuit by BUND was refused in July 2011. As of November 2012, the project was categorized as "under construction" with heavy delay.[5] After the delays in construction due to leaks in the welding (similar to other plants), and a slightly increased expenditure of nearly 1.3 billion Euros, the project began supplying energy to the grid in 2015.[2][1]

Financing for Unit 9

In February 2010, a financing agreement for Unit 9 was closed. US$1,086.33 million in loans was provided by Deutsche Bank, BayernLB, Landesbank Baden-Wurttemberg, Helaba, KfW, Commerzbank, DZ Bank, Caja Madrid, Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken, UniCredit, and NIBC Bank.[6] In June 2018, a refinancing agreement for Unit 9 was closed. US$185.46 million in additional loans were provided by Landesbank Baden-Wurttemberg.[7]

Pollution Concerns

Several studies underscore the high levels of pollutants coming from the power plant. In 2010, the Mannheim power plant emitted around 6.5 million tons of CO2, making it the hard coal-fired power plant with the second highest carbon dioxide emissions in Germany.[1] In 2011, the European Environment Agency estimated the cost of damage to the environment and health from the entire plant to be around 281-383 million Euros.[1] In 2013, a study commissioned by Greenpeace, in collaboration with the University of Stuttgart, concluded that the particulates (including nitrous oxide, sulfur dioxide, and fine dust) emitted in 2010 by the Mannheim power plant (which at the time did not include Unit 9) led to 759 lost years of life and 15,996 lost working days per year, ranking 11th place among German coal-fired power plants; Unit 9's emissions were estimated to cost at least 512 years of life lost and 10,817 working days.[1]

Citizen Action

Given the effect of coal power on the environment, the announcement of a new Unit 9 back in 2007 led to great controversy. The project was heavily criticized by environmentalists, who attempted to block the construction of the unit via a referendum in 2008. However, only 16,500 of the 20,000 required signatures had been obtained by the deadline (August 6, 2008), and the referendum failed.[1]

In 2019, as part of the annual Ende Gelaande climate justice rally, forty to fifty climate activists staged a protest at the Mannheim power plant, blocking the access point and conveyor belt.[8]

In 2020, five to six activists climbed the Mannheim plant for a demonstration against coal power. The protest ended peacefully after a day.[9]

Project Details

  • Sponsor: Grosskraftwerk Mannheim
  • Parent company: RWE AG, EnBW AG, and MVV Energie AG
  • Developer:
  • Location: Mannheim, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany
  • Coordinates: 49.445694, 8.490444 (exact)
  • Status: Operating
  • Capacity: 2,147 MW (Unit 6: 280 MW, Unit 7: 475 MW, Unit 8: 480 MW, Unit 9: 912 MW)
  • Start date: 1975 (Unit 6), 1982 (Unit 7), 1993 (Unit 8), 2015 (Unit 9)
  • Type: Subcritical (Units 6-8), Ultra-supercritical (Unit 9)
  • Coal Type: Bituminous
  • Coal Source: Imported
  • Source of financing: Unit 9: US$1,271.79m million in debt from Deutsche Bank, BayernLB, Landesbank Baden-Wurttemberg, Helaba, KfW, Commerzbank, DZ Bank, Caja Madrid, Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken, UniCredit, and NIBC Bank[6][7]

Articles and Resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 "Grosskraftwerk Mannheim – Wikipedia". de.wikipedia.org (in Deutsch). Retrieved 2021-06-21.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Coal-Fired Plants in Germany: Baden-Wurttemberg and Bayern," Industcards, accessed April 2016
  3. "GKM als mögliche Gasersatz-Reserve?", Power in Europe, SWR, June 20, 2022
  4. "PiE’s new power plant project tracker – April 2008", Power in Europe, Issue 523, April 7, 2008, page 22.
  5. "Projects of coal-fired power plants in Germany since 2007," Deutsche Umwelthilfe, November 2012
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Preview of Mannheim Block 9 CHP Coal-Fired Expansion | Transaction | IJGlobal". ijglobal.com. Retrieved 2020-10-08.
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Preview of Mannheim Block 9 Coal-Fired Power Plant (911MW) Refinancing | Transaction | IJGlobal". ijglobal.com. Retrieved 2020-10-08.
  8. "Climate protesters block entrance to German coal plant". AP NEWS. 2019-08-03. Retrieved 2021-06-21.
  9. Reay, David (2020-08-10). "Climate activists occupy two German coal power plants, demand closure of "climate killers"". Clean Energy Wire. Retrieved 2021-06-21.

Wikipedia also has an article on the Mannheim Power Station. This article may use content from the Wikipedia article under the terms of the GFDL.

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