EnBW has awarded contracts to an international consortium comprising General Electric, SENER and Bonatti for the power plants at Heilbronn and Altbach/Deizisau sites in Germany.

This development comes after EnBW launched three fuel switch projects in the last year to transform existing coal power plants in Altbach/Deizisau, Stuttgart-Münster and Heilbronn into natural gas, and then into green hydrogen plants from the 2030s.

This major contract, which carries a volume in the mid-three-digit million range per site, features the construction of one combined heat and power plant each besides maintenance and servicing work.

The contracts are being awarded in phases and along with the planning approval process at the sites.

EnBW stated that the cooperation with the consortium requires the turbines to be H2-ready, meaning that they need to capable of generating electricity with hydrogen.

Until the required infrastructure is in place, the sole available option within the energy shift is natural gas to fill the gap, the company added.

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ENnBW Generation Portfolio Development head Michael Class said: “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.

“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.”

GE Gas Power President & CEO, Europe, Middle East & Africa Joe Anis said: “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.”

In a joint statement, SENER and Bonatti said: “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”.

About 1.3GW of electricity is set to be produced at the two power plant sites. Besides, gas power plants contribute to heat recovery efficiently as a by-product of power generation.

At the Heilbronn site, there are plans to build a combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power plant with an electrical output of around 680MW and thermal output of up to 190MW for heat extraction.

The new facility will therefore secure heating supply in Heilbronn in the long term.

Following the commissioning of the CCGT plant, Coal unit 7 and reserve units 5 and 6 at the power plant could be shut down.

Currently, the land-use planning process is proceeding at the Heilbronn site. This plan is expected to be presented to the public at the end of this year following which the approval process will take place in line with the Federal Immission Control Act.

The plans at the Altbach/Deizisau site include construction of a combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power plant with an electrical output of around 680MW and thermal output of up to 180MW for heat extraction.

The two hard coal units at this power facility could be closed after the planned commissioning of the CCGT plant in 2026.

The submission of the approval application to Stuttgart regional authority in line with the Federal Immission Control Act is planned for summer of this year.
Image: A contract is signed with General Electric, SENER and Bonatti to supply two CCGT power plants for the Heilbronn and Altbach/Deizisau sites (Source: EnBW/Photographer: Paul Gärtner).