The sun was shining over the festival tent as German utility firm E.ON officially put the most modern gas and steam power plant into operation in September 2011. State secretaries and local politicians, managers and developers had come to the town of Irsching in the region of Upper Bavaria to help cut the tape.
The former head of Siemens’ energy division, Michael Süss, was on hand for the unveiling. His company, which produces the world’s largest gas turbines, had contributed to the project. “This power plant is also part of the energy transition,” said Ingo Luge, CEO of E.ON Energy, referring to Germany’s politically-mandated shift away from nuclear energy and towards renewable sources.
Three-and-a-half years later, everyone here is singing the blues. The Irsching plant, once considered a prototype, suspended operations long ago and is expected to be decommissioned.
These days, Siemens chief executive Joe Kaeser is struggling to sell anything in Germany at all.