German utility E.ON has announced plans to close its southern German Grafenrheinfeld nuclear power plant seven months early, in May 2015.

It argues that the German government’s nuclear fuel tax, which does not expire until 2016, makes that period of operation before the government-mandated shutdown, uneconomical.

In its March annual report, E.ON was downcast about the European marketplace and Germany in particular. "The transformation of Europe’s energy system continues to offer us attractive growth opportunities in renewables and distributed energy. Nevertheless, a significant portion of our businesses in Europe is under enormous pressure due to interventionist policies and regulations and difficult economic conditions. This applies in particular to our conventional generation business, whose business model had been based on a liberalized EU-wide internal market for energy."

However, it also reported that its 8.2 GW of nuclear generation capacity in Germany, (in addition to Grafenrheinfeld, majority shares of Brokdorf, Isar 2, Grohnde and minority shares of Emsland) generated 56.1 billion kWh and electricity sales revenue of EUR 4.4 billion.

E.ON said that it is fighting the nuclear phaseout and nuclear fuel tax in the courts.