RWE sells small-scale biomass plants, focuses on larger projects

By Erin Voegele | March 01, 2013

Germany-based RWE Innogy GmbH, a subsidiary of RWE Aktiengesellschaft, Essen, has sold its share of two small-scale biomass power plants to Koehler Renewable Energy GmbH, a subsidiary of Koehler Holding GmbH & Co. Koehler has acquired 80 percent of the shares in GBE—Gocher Bioenergie GmbH, Goch, and 51 percent of the share of B E B Bio Energie Baden GmbH, Kehl. Wendelstein LLP advised Koehler on the acquisition. The purchase price of the shares has not been disclosed.

The Goch combined-heat-and-power (CHP) facility is designed to generate 28 MW of heat and 7.6 MW of electricity. It supplies up to 130,000 tons per year of process steam to Nahr-Engel, where it is used in the production of potato products. Nahr-Engel and the Goch municipal utilities own the remaining share of the plant.

B E B operates two biomass CHP plant at Kehl, which produce steam and electricity. Koehler Group already holds the remaining shares of B E B. With the acquisition, Koehler is now the sole shareholder of the two plants, which have a combined capacity of 68 MW of heat and 11.5 MW of electricity.

RWE spokeswoman Sarah Knauber confirmed to Biomass Magazine that her company no longer considers smaller biomass plants to be part of its core business. “In this context, we sold our shareholdings in the biomass CHPs at Goch and Kehl to Koehler Renewable Energy GmbH. In times of limited funds these transactions contribute to preserve our financial scope for projects especially in the wind energy segment. Therefore we are also reviewing to divest our remaining small scale biomass plants,” she said.

However, Knauber noted that large-scale biomass plants will remain an important option for RWE in the future, and will be part of the company’s power generation strategy.

The company currently has a 49.9 MW biomass power plant under development in Markinch, Scotland. According to Knauber, the sale of that facility is not under consideration at this time. “This plant is currently in the final construction phase and the commissioning is planned for this summer,” she said.