Altbach/Deizisau. Wind turbines and solar power plants supply climate-friendly energy – as long as there is sufficient wind and the sun is shining. Failing this, coal power plants in particular keep the lights on at home and make sure the heating stays warm. Having already made arrangements for Stuttgart-Münster and Heilbronn, EnBW is now also planning the fast replacement of the coal power plant in Altbach/Deizisau to ensure that coal is swiftly phased out. Corresponding plans for the so-called fuel switch – initially to natural gas for a limited period of time and to green gases in the longer term – were presented by EnBW at the beginning of the week to the municipal councils of Altbach and Deizisau.
The plan is to build a low-emission combined cycle gas turbine plant (CCGT plant) powered by natural gas. It should generate up to 750 megawatts of electrical power and around 170 megawatts of heat and could replace the existing coal units in five years. Electricity generation in the new plant would cut carbon emissions by 63 percent. With an envisaged 4.5 million MWh of electricity generated, the project could reduce the amount of carbon emitted by about 2.9 million metric tons per year.
“We have taken on quite a task: By 2026, Altbach/Deizisau should be completely coal-free,” explained Georg Stamatelopoulos, board member responsible for the sustainable generation infrastructure at EnBW. “We view natural gas as a bridging technology on the way to climate neutrality by 2035. A flexibly manageable gas power plant is on standby at the touch of a button and therefore perfectly complements the renewable energies. That's because it steps in where there is insufficient wind and solar power.”
The business investment decision will be taken at a later date.
Plans to generate energy with hydrogen
EnBW’s long-term aim is climate neutrality. As such, energy will only be generated in Altbach/Deizisau with the more climate-friendly natural gas until enough hydrogen or other green gases are available. This interim step buys time to build a hydrogen-based infrastructure and further expand the renewable energies required for hydrogen production. With the aid of the green fuel, the CCGT plant in Altbach/Deizisau could also be climate-neutral by the mid-2030s, for instance, and still be used flexibly for energy generation.
District heating as a sustainable by-product
The Altbach/Deizisau power plant not only supplies the Stuttgart region with electricity, but also simultaneously generates heat for the district heating network in the Mittlere Neckar region. The combustion of natural gas – or green hydrogen in the longer term – makes it possible to maintain this heating supply.
“By switching from coal to gas in Altbach/Deizisau and Münster, we are phasing out coal for the entire so-called “Mittlere Neckar Line.” This means that the biggest overarching district heating system in southern Germany will be coal-free by 2026,” said a delighted Andreas Pick, responsible for the fuel switch projects across the whole of EnBW.
Together with the combined heat and power plants in Gaisburg and Stuttgart-Münster and the Marienstraße heating plant, the current plant in Altbach/Deizisau supplies 25,000 households, 1,300 businesses and 300 public entities in Stuttgart and the surrounding area with cost-efficient and environmentally friendly district heating.
Early dialogue with the public
EnBW invites citizens, authorities and associations to get an idea of the plans in Altbach/Deizisau for themselves. The first opportunity to do this will be on Tuesday, 26 October at 6.30 p.m. – as part of an online information event. Interested parties can take part in the event via the project website at www.enbw.com/altbach-deizisau. As has been the case with previous fuel switch projects, EnBW would like to hear the citizens’ comments, ideas and concerns at an early state and engage in ongoing dialogue with them.
Information: the combined heat and power plant in Altbach/Deizisau
The combined heat and power plant consists of two combined heat and power plant units powered by hard coal, one gas–oil combination unit and two gas turbines. In order to make optimal use of the fuel, both electricity and district heating are generated simultaneously in Altbach/Deizisau in line with the combined heat and power principle. In total, Altbach/Deizisau currently has an electrical output of 1,022 megawatts and can decouple up to 407 megawatts of district heating.
With over 24,000 employees, EnBW is one of the largest energy companies in Germany and Europe. It supplies around 5.5 million customers with electricity, gas, water as well as services and products in the areas of infrastructure and energy. The expansion of renewable energies is a cornerstone of the growth strategy and a focus of investment. EnBW will invest around 4 billion euros in the further expansion of wind and solar energy by 2025. By the end of 2025, more than half of the generation portfolio is to consist of renewable energies. This is already having a noticeable effect on reducing CO2 emissions, which EnBW aims to halve by 2030. EnBW is aiming for climate neutrality by 2035.