Construction under way at Germany’s 'most flexible power plant'

29 November 2016

Stadtwerke Kiel’s management board has given the go-ahead for a new gas-powered cogeneration facility. Construction can now commence on the second project phase of what is said to be Germany’s most-flexible power plant.
Twenty of GE’s Jenbacher J920 FleXtra natural gas engines, with a total output of 190 MWe and a total efficiency of more than 90 %, constitute the power island of the combined heat and power plant on the east bank of the Kieler Förde inlet. Due to the high efficiency and the use of natural gas, the facility will emit around 70 % less carbon dioxide than the coal-fired power plant it replaces.
The second phase of the 2015-initiated project will now be implemented quickly. According to plan, the city of Kiel’s gas-powered cogeneration facility will provide district heating and electric power as early as the autumn of 2018 and “will set new benchmark standards in the areas of flexibility, efficiency and ecological sustainability.”
Incentives provided by Germany’s Combined Heat and Power Act for the economic viability of the gas-powered cogeneration facility played a significant role in the project’s development. Following a legal examination of subsidies available on behalf of the European Union commission, the 2016 subsidy rate of Germany’s Combined Heat and Power Act was finalised at the end of October 2016 and will now provide the final foundational planning security for the project.
Renewable energy sources are subject to strong fluctuations. Although, at times, a higher share of Kiel’s power demand can be covered by wind-generated electricity, when the wind fails of course production drops to zero. Because, to date, electrical power can only be stored in small amounts, power plants that can be quickly activated to compensate for energy fluctuations are required in oder to provide balance. The new facility relies on the capability of the Jenbacher engines to be started and reach full load in five minutes.
Heat storage and an electrode boiler for the conversion of excess electricity into heat are also part of the modular power plant’s concept.


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