The move forms part of Hydro’s ongoing optimisation efforts in the face of ‘challenging market conditions’, according to Oliver Bell, executive vice president of the company’s rolled products business.

Hydro has secured a five-year power deal with Vattenfall, a Swedish energy group, totaling an annual 2.2 TWh (250 MW) and based on new and existing arrangements.

Since the company’s long-term power contract expired in 2005, Hydro’s Neuss plant, which is near Dusseldorf, has sourced power on a short-term basis, but ‘improved framework conditions’ and expected C02 compensation means the plant can resume some of its previously curtailed production.

Neuss has been operating at 50kt/yr due to weak global demand and depressed metal prices. The plant’s total production capacity is 230kt/yr, but when the CO2 compensation is in place, production will increase to around 150,000 tonnes per year during the first half of 2013.