The Boxberg lignite-fired power plant belongs to the LEAG company Lausitz Energie Kraftwerke AG. LEAG is the fourth largest power plant operator in Germany. Other lignite-fired power plants belonging to the company are Schwarze Pumpe, Jänschwalde and Lippendorf Unit R. Every tenth kilowatt hour of electricity consumed in Germany is produced in these power plants.
Boxberg power plant is located in the district of Görlitz, about 15 kilometres south of the town of Weißwasser in the Free State of Saxony. The foundation stone was laid in 1968. The first blocks were already connected to the grid three years later. In 1979 commissioning was completed and up to the late 1990s Boxberg was the largest lignite-fired power plant in Germany with a capacity of 3,520 megawatts (MW). It consisted of twelve 210 MW units (plant I and II) and two 500 MW units (plant III). In the meantime, plant I and II have been decommissioned. Since the year 2000, these have been replaced with a highly efficient 900 MW unit (plant IV). The 500 MW facilities from the 1970s were retrofitted with comprehensive environmental technology and upgraded for further operations. In 2012, the Boxberg plant site electricity generation capacity was increased to 2,575 MW with the new 675 MW unit R (also plant IV).
At the Boxberg power plant, electricity is generated from lignite mainly extracted from the nearby Nochten and Reichwalde opencast mines. Some of the heat produced in the process of generating electricity is extracted and used for district heating. The power plant guarantees its own heat supply and that of all the external companies located on the industrial and commercial park as well as supplying district heat to the municipality of Boxberg and the town of Weißwasser.
At present the newly built unit R is among the most modern power plants in Europe with an efficiency of 43.7 percent. Noteworthy, the unit emits 20 percent less CO2 per megawatt hour generated compared to older power plants. Unit R is able to reach a 33 to 103 percent regulating capability for the higher flexibility requirements stemming from the implementation of the Renewable Energies Act (EEG).