Stuttgart. EnBW today launched a €1.6 billion investment program in Baden-Württemberg with the traditional groundbreaking ceremony for the first of three new gas-fired power plants in Stuttgart-Münster. The company’s goal here is to completely phase out coal-fired power generation in the central Neckar region by 2026 and significantly reduce carbon emissions. As at all fuel switch sites, the new plant in Stuttgart is to run on green hydrogen by 2035 at the latest. This will further reduce carbon emissions.
The growth of variable renewable energy sources, coupled with the phase-out of nuclear power and coal, leaves a shortfall of dispatchable capacity – power generation sources that are available at the push of a button at any time of day or night. This creates an immediate need for more gas-fired power plants. The fuel switch from coal to gas is future-proof due to the possibility of subsequent conversion to hydrogen, which will make the plants part of a climate-neutral electricity generation infrastructure with a high level of security of supply.
The official start of construction at the power plant site on the River Neckar was attended among others by Baden-Württemberg Minister of the Environment Thekla Walker, Lord Mayor of Stuttgart Frank Nopper and EnBW’s COO for Sustainable Generation Infrastructure Georg Stamatelopoulos.
Environment Minister Thekla Walker: “Baden-Württemberg’s goal of climate neutrality by 2040 can only be achieved with a radical, sustainable transformation of the energy supply. With fuel switch projects like this one in Stuttgart-Münster, EnBW is paving the way for both the phase-out of coal and a significant reduction in climate-damaging greenhouse gas emissions. This ensures a high level of security of supply – initially still with fossil natural gas, but the next fuel switch is already on the horizon, and that will be to green gases, or green hydrogen. What we are seeing at Stuttgart-Münster is not simply a phase-out: above all, it is a phase-in, leading us to the clean, secure and renewable energy supply of the future.”
Lord Mayor of Stuttgart Frank Nopper: “EnBW’s climate transformation is in line with the city’s 2035 climate neutrality agenda. As decided by the city council in 2022, Stuttgart aims to be climate-neutral by 2035. The heat and power supplies are the main factors in achieving climate neutrality. With 47% of greenhouse gas emissions, the electricity sector offers the greatest scope for meeting the climate target. The heating sector accounts for 37% of the total, while transportation accounts for only 14%. To achieve climate neutrality by 2035, the city needs EnBW. A basic prerequisite for climate neutrality in Stuttgart is the conversion to climate-neutral district heating. So we will continue our combined efforts to replace today’s heat and power supplies with more climate-neutral technologies.”
“We are massively expanding renewables. But in the south of Germany especially, we have a growing shortfall of constantly available generation capacity. Our fuel switch projects like this one in Stuttgart-Münster address this shortfall,” said Georg Stamatelopoulos. “Just a few days ago, we announced EnBW’s intention to phase out coal-fired power generation as early as 2028 as part of our carbon reduction path. By building hydrogen-ready gas-fired power plants, we are taking responsibility. This is because they are an important building block in the climate-neutral energy system of the future. Together with the projects in Heilbronn and Altbach/Deizisau, we are investing in secure supplies of electricity and heat, an immediate reduction in carbon emissions by around 60%, and the accelerated phase-out of coal.”
On the road to climate-friendly energy generation
The two new turbines at the Stuttgart-Münster site will replace three coal-fired boilers from the 1980s and 1990s and three oil-fired turbines. The plant is designed from the outset to switch from natural gas to hydrogen as quickly and completely as possible when hydrogen becomes available in sufficient quantities, which is expected to be in 10 to 12 years. It is powered by two cutting-edge Siemens Energy SGT-800 gas turbines. Their total electrical output is some 124 megawatts. As a condition of the contract, the new turbines must be able to handle a blend of up to 75% hydrogen when they are delivered in 2024. An upgrade of the entire plant to 100% hydrogen is also planned from the outset.
A new gas-fired combined heat and power plant is scheduled for completion in 2025. This makes the plant in the capital of the state of Baden-Württemberg a pioneering project for the whole of Germany. Consisting of a new type of large-scale heat pump funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, the plant is expected to go into operation in the last quarter of 2023, generating up to 24 megawatts for the district heating system. It will use waste heat from the cooling water and run on green electricity from the biogenic fraction of incinerated waste. This will already reduce carbon emissions by around 15,000 tons a year.
The main source of energy in Stuttgart-Münster is and will continue to be municipal solid waste, some 450,000 tons of which are recycled there every year and converted into useful energy. Together with the power plants in Stuttgart-Gaisburg (already converted to gas in 2018) and Altbach/Deizisau, the site thus forms the backbone of the central Neckar region’s electricity and district heating supply.