453MW natural gas power plant connects to German grid

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France-based Alstom and German utility RheinEnergi recently synchronized the 453MW Niehl3 power plant in Cologne with the German electricity grid. 

The facility generates both heat and power from natural gas, and is based on Alstom's KA26 combined-cycle plant design. Both the companies had signed the agreement to develop the facility in 2012.



The combined-cycle heat and power plant (CHP) plant, designed to secure the base load power in the country, is a part of its energy transformation framework and is expected to have around 85% fuel efficiency. 

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 plant is likely to start early next year.


RheinEnergie board chairman Dr Dieter Steinkamp said, "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 the KA26 combined-cycle plant is an 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."