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Modernisation of Stuttgart-Gaisburg thermal power plant

Over the next few years, the Stuttgart-Gaisburg combined heat and power plant will be fundamentally modernised in order to generate even more environmentally friendly and efficient heat for the Stuttgart district heating network. A considerably smaller, more efficient, and lower-emission gas-fired heating plant will replace the current combined heat and power plant, which is mainly coal-fired, and will fulfil the peak and reserve function important for the Stuttgart/Mittlerer Neckar district heating region.

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The Stuttgart-Gaisburg thermal power plant

The Gaisburg site has been generating electricity and heat for the Stuttgart region for over 60 years. Together with the combined heat and power plants Stuttgart-Münster and Altbach/Deizisau, it forms the Mittlerer Neckar district heating network and supplies over 25,000 homes, 1,300 companies, and 300 public facilities in Stuttgart and the region with heat.

Over the years, the generation structure of the Stuttgart-Gaisburg combined heat and power plant has been continuously changing. Today, the main function of the district heating network is to cover periods of high demand in winter and to serve as a reserve for the two larger locations of the district heating network. The modernisation is intended to ensure that the Gaisburg site will perform these tasks even more efficiently and in a more environmentally friendly manner in future. This will ensure that citizens will continue to have a secure supply of district heating.

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Investment in climate protection and security of supply

At a glance: The new plants as a photomontage (red) and the existing facilities (blue).

The use of new technologies and a balanced fuel mix of the combined heat and power plant sites in the Stuttgart district heating region will guarantee a demand-oriented, flexible, and environmentally friendly supply of electricity and heat in future.

In order to make the plant fit for the future in terms of the energy revolution, we rely on the following components:

  • gas-fired peak-load and reserve boilers for securing the Mittlerer Neckar district heating pipeline
  • the integration of a heat accumulator in order to optimally supplement the use of the other generation plants along the Mittleren Neckar Line and the peak and reserve boilers
  • a small gas-fired combined heat and power (CHP) plant
  • the construction of new district heating stations
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The most important advantages of modernisation at a glance

  • The new gas-fired plants are more flexible and environmentally friendly than the existing plants and reduce the output of, among other things, CO₂ emissions. The modernisation of the combined heat and power plant thus contributes to achieving the climate protection targets.
  • The Gaisburg location is and remains an important and indispensable component of the district heating network of the Mittleren Neckar Line, which connects heating power plants and customers along the Neckar and guarantees an environmentally friendly and reliable district heating supply.
  • After modernisation, the Stuttgart-Gaisburg combined heat and power plant will integrate much better into the cityscape. By using climate-friendly natural gas, the existing coal store will no longer be needed. With the space freed up, there will be medium-term urban development opportunities for the neighbouring districts and the city as a whole.

Why does EnBW want to modernise the Stuttgart-Gaisburg thermal power plant?

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The power plant complex in Gaisburg – a coal-fired plant and gas-fired plants for heat and power supply – has been getting on in years. There is therefore a need for optimisation and modernisation in order to make the plant fit for the future in terms of energy system transformation.

When exactly will the modernisation of the combined heat and power plant start?

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The time of the start of construction will be determined by the further course of the approval procedure. It is planned to start the modernisation work as soon as the necessary permits have been obtained.

What is the status of the approval procedure for the planned modernisation of the Stuttgart-Gaisburg combined heat and power plant?

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The project is still in the early planning phase. The first step towards entering the formal approval procedure will be the “scoping session”. In the scoping session, the scope of the environmental impact assessment is discussed and defined.

When would the conversion be completed?

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The start of construction has been planned for the beginning of 2017. The conversion of the combined heat and power plant should be completed by the end of 2018. If the new installations are guaranteed to take over the reserve and peak functions, the stock can be taken out of operation.

What will happen to the areas freed up (e.g. the coal store)?

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After the modernisation measures have been completed, it will be possible to use the space that becomes available for other purposes. This will also offer opportunities for urban redevelopment.

Is the district heating supply in Stuttgart and the region threatened by modernisation?

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The existing CHP plant will remain fully operational until the new heating plant is commissioned. By taking this approach, we ensure that the supply in Stuttgart and the region is reliably guaranteed at all times.

Doesn't the project contradict EnBW’s strategy of investing primarily in renewable energies?

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No. When it comes to resources for electricity and heat generation, EnBW relies on an environmentally friendly mix that takes into account both the energy concept of the city of Stuttgart and the requirements of the energy revolution. For example, EnBW, or our 82 % shareholding, Neckar AG, operates four hydropower plants in Stuttgart that produce electricity for a total of around 35,000 people (Hofen, Bad Cannstatt, Untertürkheim, and Obertürkheim).

In the foreseeable future, heat generation in conurbations will not be able to take place using area-intensive renewable energies. We therefore use a broad fuel mix (waste, natural gas, oil as a reserve, and coal). The modernisation will partly replace coal with more environmentally friendly natural gas and create the possibility of integrating renewable energies.

Who is supplied with district heating in Stuttgart?

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Our combined heat and power plants in the district heating network supply around 25,000 homes, 1,300 companies, and 300 public buildings via a 260 km district heating network along the Neckar valley from Plochingen via Altbach/Deizisau and Esslingen to Stuttgart.

How do citizens benefit from district heating?

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District heating is an affordable form of heat supply with high price stability. At the same time, it is a safe, climate-friendly, and energy-efficient technology that fits perfectly into the energy revolution. The advantages of district heating over local heating systems are particularly evident in the densely populated boiler location of Stuttgart.

How can the public get involved?

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Within the framework of early public participation and throughout the approval procedure, citizens have several opportunities to present ideas, criticisms, objections, and wishes and to contribute them to the project: We have set up a public telephone number (0721 72586-400) and an email inbox () for the project. On 19th May 2015, there was an information event for the public.

Construction work can already be observed on the site near the power plant buildings – what is this all about?

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The now visible construction work has nothing to do with the planned new construction of the heating plant. Old cell cooling towers for water treatment are being demolished. At this point, a new water treatment plant from which we intend to supply a nearby major industrial customer is being built.