Karlsruhe. On Thursday, the Supervisory Board of EnBW Energie Baden-Württemberg AG approved the decision of the Management Board to build a new machine building with four 25-megawatt tubular turbines for the run-of-river power plant in Rheinfelden. This approval opens up the way for the construction of the new hydroelectric power plant, which is to be built in the current location with an installed capacity of 100 MW. The project will more than triple the average annual electricity output of the existing plant from 190 million kilowatt hours to around 600 million kilowatt hours. The new facility will be built by the power plant operator, Energiedienst AG in Rheinfelden, in which EnBW holds a 75.69 percent interest, and will be the biggest construction project in the field of renewables anywhere in Germany.
"The decision to rebuild the plant in Rheinfelden is a milestone in the ecological and future-oriented strategy of EnBW. It shows that EnBW has now entered a phase of strategic development and long-term future-oriented planning geared towards sustainable innovation and meeting the full range of responsibilities vis-à-vis society. As was also the case when the Rheinfelden plant was first built in 1895, a hydroelectric power plant of this size is always a "hundred-year investment". This project integrates the key themes of regional focus, ecology and long-term strategy in an optimum way", says the CEO of EnBW, Prof. Dr. Utz Claassen.
The decision to build the new plant underlines EnBW's commitment to ecologically sound and financially responsible investment in electricity generation in its home region: the project will not only substantially strengthen the position of Baden-Württemberg as an energy location but also underpin the status of the High Rhine economic region. The new power plant is particularly beneficial in environmental terms, as the increased capacity will ensure the reliable supply of emission-free and renewable electricity to just under 200,000 households in years to come.
With a 10 percent share of electricity generation from the renewable power of water (not including pumped-storage power plants), EnBW is already a leader in the hydroelectric power segment in the German energy sector. In 2004 alone, EnBW generated 6.8 billion kilowatt hours of electricity from hydroelectric sources - enough to supply energy to just under 2 million households.
The new machine building will cost in the order of 277 million euros. Thanks to the introduction of a target investment programme and a systematic cost management strategy, EnBW will be able to shoulder the investment without overreaching itself.
The project will be divided into three construction phases. The first contracts for the machine building should have been awarded by the end of the first quarter of 2006, and the new machine building is scheduled to go into operation in 2011. The new barrage dam, on which construction work began back in 2003, is expected to be completed as early as 2007.
However, EnBW attaches major importance not only to ecologically sparing electricity generation but also to the environment-friendly character of the overall construction project. Accordingly, the company is making major efforts to implement numerous measures to further improve the ecological situation on this section of the High Rhine. These ecological measures are based on a three-pronged strategy: die restoration of stretches of the Rhine banks, the building of near-natural fish ladders at the barrage dam and the creation of a near-natural salmon breeding site following the completion of the new power plant.