Niederaussem power station

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Niederaussem power station is a 3,568-megawatt (MW) lignite-fired power station in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, owned by RWE.


The undated satellite below shows the plant in the Bergheim Niederaussem/Rhein-Erft-Kreis circle. The Niederaussem power plant is located on the terrain of the county town of Bergheim (RheinErft county), some 15 km northwest of Cologne.

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The power station was planned in the 1960s as a 900-MW plant called Fortuna IV, following on from the now closed Fortuna I, II and III plants which produced electricity from 1912 until 1988. The project name was later changed to Niederaussem. The plant consisted of nine units totaling approximately 3,900 MW. The first eight are subcritical units commissioned between 1963 and 1974, and the ninth is a 1,012 MW ultra-supercritical unit commissioned in 2002. The first two units were retired in 2012, leaving 3568 MW.[1][2]


The power station went on stream with 150-MW units in 1963 as Werk IV of the near-by Fortuna power plant, which was demolished in 1988. By 1974, the power plant had been expanded to a total gross electric capacity of 2,700 MW. In the mid-1980s/early 1990s, refurbishing work was carried out to reduce emissions. The power plant's turbines have been part-renewed since 1994.[2]


The plant consists units A-I. Below are their gross capacity and the year commissioned:[2]

  • A - 144 MW - 1963 - Retired 2012
  • B - 152 MW - 1963 - Retired 2012
  • C - 335 MW - 1965
  • D - 320 MW - 1968
  • E - 315 MW - 1970
  • F - 320 MW - 1971
  • G - 630 MW - 1974
  • H - 636 MW - 1974
  • I - 1,012 MW - 2003

CO2 emissions

According to the study Dirty Thirty, issued in May 2007 by the World Wide Fund for Nature, Niederaussem Power Station is the third-worst power station in Europe in terms of the relation of energy efficiency to CO2 emissions[3].

2006 Fire

An incident in the power station Niederaussem occurred on 9 June 2006. At 1:15 a fire caught hold in block H of the coaling station. The fire spread to two further coaling station blocks. Later the flames seized nearly the entire area of the "old power station", and a large, black smoke cloud ascended, which spread many kilometres to the north-west. The power station's own fire brigade could not control the fire and sounded the alarm. About 300 rescue forces from the entire Land responded. The damage to property went into the two digit million-range.[citation needed] Even by the late evening of the next day the fire was not completely extinguished. The spread of the fire was contained by recently developed fire precautions in the other sectors of the power station so that only the coaling station was affected.

New unit L

RWE is considering to construct a new unit at the Niederaussem site, north of the previous site. In October 2011 the company applied for the necessary amendment of the regional plan with the district government of Cologne. In July 2013 the regional council of the district government approved the amendment.[4] In September 2012, Bergheim City Council decided to draw up a development plan and change the land use plan.[5] In November 2014, the Council approved land-use plan No. 261/Na and the 125th amendment of the land use plan.[6]

RWE has been preparing the permitting procedure under German emission control law since June 2015. On July 14, 2016, the company submitted the necessary documents to the district government of Cologne. At the same time, on 22 July, it submitted an application for a water permit. The decision to start construction will only be made once all permits have been obtained and the economic viability of the power plant has been assured.[7]

If the planned 1100 MW unit is commissioned, four older units of Niederaussem with a total capacity of 1200 MW will be decommissioned.[8]

In October 2016 it was reported the new unit would likely only lose money for the company if built.[9]

In September 2018 RWE said it was likely to cancel the plant, despite an ongoing approvals process.[10]

In November 2018, the Munster Higher Administrative Court declared the development plan of the city of Bergheim invalid, which is a prerequisite for the construction of the power plant. The court ruled in favour of local residents who had claimed that the construction of the power plant violated the state development plan and the climate protection law of North Rhine-Westphalia.[11]

Plant Details of units C-K

  • Sponsor: RWE Power AG
  • Parent company: RWE AG
  • Developer:
  • Location: Bergheim, Rhein-Erft-Kreis, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
  • Coordinates: 50.996883, 6.667549 (exact)
  • Status: Operating
  • Capacity: 3,568 MW
  • Start date: 1965-1974 (Units C-H), 2002 (Unit K)
  • Type: Subcritical (Units C-H), Ultra-supercritical (Unit K)
  • Coal Type: Lignite
  • Coal Source: Domestic
  • Source of financing:

Project Details of unit L

  • Sponsor: RWE Power AG
  • Parent company: RWE AG
  • Developer:
  • Location: Bergheim, Rhein-Erft-Kreis, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
  • Coordinates: 50.996883, 6.667549 (exact)
  • Status: Pre-permit development (Applying for permits)
  • Capacity: 1,100 MW
  • Start date:
  • Type: Ultra-supercritical
  • Coal Type: Lignite
  • Coal Source: Domestic
  • Source of financing:



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Wikipedia also has an article on Niederaussem power station. This article may use content from the Wikipedia article under the terms of the GFDL.