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Pursuing its aim of becoming climate-neutral by 2035, EnBW Energie Baden-Württemberg AG has launched three major fuel switch projects in the past year to convert existing coal power plant sites in Altbach/Deizisau, Stuttgart-Münster and Heilbronn into natural gas and, from the 2030s, green hydrogen plants. This week, EnBW and a consortium consisting of General Electric, SENER and Bonatti signed contracts for the Heilbronn and Altbach/Deizisau sites. The major order, with a volume in the mid-three-digit million range per site, includes the construction of one combined heat and power plant each as well as the respective maintenance and servicing work.
The contracts are being awarded in phases and in parallel with the planning approval process at the sites. The cooperation between the consortium and EnBW required the turbines to be H2-ready, i.e., already capable of generating electricity with hydrogen. Until the necessary infrastructure is in place, the only option available within the energy transition is natural gas to fill the gap in controllable power available at the push of a button at any time of the day or night.
“The current events in Ukraine clearly show the challenges associated with the European energy transition. Modern gas power plants play an indispensable role in maintaining sufficiently flexible power generation and thus guaranteeing security of supply. They must support the expansion of renewable energies”, explains Michael Class, Head of Generation Portfolio Development. “In the planning of the power plants, we already foresee the conversion to hydrogen today. This conversion to 100% hydrogen is already predefined through the plant technology."
“While Germany is undertaking exemplary measures to increase energy security and independence through driving decarbonisation, GE is proud to lead a consortium with SENER & Bonatti and together with EnBW address the opportunities and challenges of the energy transition. We are committed to supporting these efforts with GE’s industry-leading H-Class gas turbines technology, a key enabler to increase the share of renewables, and to accelerate coal phase-out as we work towards zero-carbon gas-based power generation with hydrogen,” says Joe Anis, President & CEO, Europe, Middle East & Africa, GE Gas Power.
For their part, SENER and Bonatti state: “We are happy to join EnBW and contribute with our experience and know-how to the engineering and construction of these two large scale modern power plants that will eventually become green hydrogen units”. And they add: “This is also our way to boost the European and German energy transitions in line with the demanding present and, most importantly, future needs. This project further consolidates the profitable collaboration between SENER and Bonatti started about 10 years ago”.
A total of around 1,300 megawatts of electricity generation capacity is set to be produced at the two power plant sites. In addition, gas power plants contribute to efficient heat recovery as a by-product of electricity generation.
Fuel switch in Heilbronn
There are plans at the Heilbronn site to construct a combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power plant with an electrical output of approx. 680 MW and thermal output of up to 190 MW for heat extraction. The new plant will thus also secure the district heating supply in Heilbronn in the long term. Coal unit 7 and reserve units 5 and 6 at the power plant could be shut down following the commissioning of the CCGT plant. The land-use planning process is currently under way at the Heilbronn site. The expectation is that the land-use plan will be presented to the public at the end of 2022. The approval process in line with the Federal Immission Control Act will then take place.
Fuel switch in Altbach/Deizisau
There are plans at the Altbach/Deizisau site to construct a combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power plant with an electrical output of approx. 680 MW and thermal output of up to 180 MW for heat extraction. Two hard coal units at the power plant could be shut down following the planned commissioning of the CCGT plant in 2026. The submission of the approval application to the regional authority in Stuttgart in line with the Federal Immission Control Act is planned for the summer of 2022.