Alstom KA26 CHP

France-based Alstom and German utility RheinEnergi have synchronised the 453MW Niehl 3 power plant in Cologne with the German electricity grid.

The facility, which generates both heat and power from natural gas, is based on Alstom’s KA26 combined-cycle plant design, which brings operational flexibility as well as high-efficiency and district heating capabilities.

The combined-cycle heat and power plant (CHP) plant has been designed to secure the base load power in the country, and is a part of its energy transformation framework.

With 453MW of power capacity and 265MW of thermal heating output, the facility can meet the electricity needs of up to one million households and provide around 30,000 households with district heating.

Commercial operation of the power plant, claimed to have around 85% fuel efficiency, is expected to start early next year.

"When the wind does not blow and the sun does not shine, the plant’s high operational flexibility ensures…the security of electricity supply."

RheinEnergie board chairman Dr Dieter Steinkamp said: "With our new power plant, we are investing in the creation of a future-proof infrastructure, which will secure the heat supply of thousands of households locally and completely emission-free.

"Furthermore, Niehl 3 makes a significant contribution to the energy transition. When the wind does not blow and the sun does not shine, the plant’s high operational flexibility ensures we can contribute to the security of electricity supply."

Alstom Germany president Alf Henryk Wulf said: "Alstom’s KA26 combined-cycle power plant is a highly environmentally friendly power solution that provides RheinEnergie with unrivalled flexibility.

"With short start-up times and fast load changing capabilities, the plant is perfectly equipped to balance out fluctuations in the electricity grid, which arise from the volatile feed-in of renewable energy."

Alstom and RheinEnergie signed the agreement to develop the facility in December 2012.

Image: The combined-cycle heat and power plant. Photo: courtesy of Alstom.