EnBW to convert 1GW German coal plant to CCGT by 2026

Author: Laura Mendes


LONDON (ICIS)--Germany’s EnBW plans to convert a coal-fired power plant to use natural gas by 2026, the energy company announced on Wednesday.

EnBW is planning the fuel switch at the 1GW Altbach/Deizisau coal-fired plant.

Germany plans a complete coal phase-out by 2038.

The phase-out should reduce coal and lignite capacity to 30GW by the end of 2022.

The plans for the fuel switch - initially to natural gas, but only for a limited time and then to green gases in the longer term - were presented by EnBW to the local municipal councils of Altbach and Deizisau earlier in the week.

“This example is just the latest announcement in Germany of conversion from coal to gas and then green gas, and is something that we expect to continue,” said Roy Manuell, ICIS analyst.

The proposal is to build a low-emission cycle gas turbine plant (CCGT plant) powered by natural gas. This is set to generate 750MW of electrical power and around 170MW of heat and could replace the existing coal units by 2026.

Electricity generation in this new plant would cut carbon emissions by 63%. With a prediction of 4.5TWh of electricity generated, this project could reduce the amount of carbon emissions by about 2.9million/tCo2e per year.

“Given the fact that we have several coal phase-out tenders ahead and that successful bids in the past have led to coal to gas or hydrogen conversions, we may see further examples of such projects following the results of the next coal closure tender that took place at the start of October,” Manuell added.

EnBW sees natural gas as a bridging technology to achieve climate neutrality by 2035, Georg Stamatelopoulos, a board member said.

In the long-term the plan is to generate electricity using hydrogen, but for now the company will use more climate-friendly natural gas until enough hydrogen or other green gases are available.

With the use of green fuel, the CCGT plant in Altbach/Deizisau could also be climate-neutral by mid-2030, and still be used flexibly for energy generation.

EnBW’s plan still needs to be approved by local authorities and the company has invited association, authorities and citizens to discuss the plans for the project later in the month.