The Schwarze Pumpe 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 Jänschwalde, Boxberg and Lippendorf Unit R. Every tenth kilowatt hour of electricity consumed in Germany is produced in these power plants.
Schwarze Pumpe power plant is located near the town of Spremberg in Brandenburg, approx. 30 kilometres to the south of Cottbus. The foundation stone was laid in 1993. Almost four years later, the first 800 megawatts (MW) unit of the double-block system went into operations. The second 800 MW unit was commissioned half a year later.
As the first of a new generation of lignite-fired power plants, Schwarze Pumpe set a new benchmark with regard to environmental protection standards at a national as well as international level. Each of the two 800 MW power plant units is able to operate flexibly and rapidly ramping up and down to a block gross-minima of 295 MW. Consequently, the preconditions for implementing the Renewable Energies Act (EEG) can be met of preferentially feeding electricity from renewable sources into the grid as the act stipulates. The power plant Schwarze Pumpe is a certified plant to take processed waste for co-combustion.
Some of the heat produced during electricity generation is extracted from the process and used to supply district heat to the towns of Hoyerswerda, Spremberg and Schwarze Pumpe. Moreover, process steam from the power plant is supplied to the neighbouring industrial area.