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German municipal utility network Trianel and the refinery MiRO are planning to invest 900 million euros to jointly build a combined cycle gas turbine plant with a capacity of 800 to 1,200MW in Karlsruhe to help improve security of power supply in southwest Germany. Construction works are due to start in 2017, for the plant to start full commercial operations in 2020, Trianel told Gas to Power Journal.
Once operational, the plant will be vital to fill the gap in power generation capacity in the region that will loom in 2019 following the closure of EnBW's nuclear reactor Philippsburg 2 (1,392 MW). Located at an existing MiRO refinery site, plant operations are bound to benefit from guaranteed high heating output demand throughout the year, project partners said. A flexible dispatch of the proposed plant will help counterbalance intermittent renewable power supply.
Project partners have, however, not yet taken the final investment decision (FiD) for the plant, as uncertainly looms large over Germany's future power market design. The planning and approvals process is expected to take up to three years. Though policy makers and regulators tend to favor a strategic reserve, rather than a full-fledged capacity market, no decision will be made before the German federal election in September, said Franzjoseph Schaffhausen, Head of Department for Energy.
At the same time, Trianel announced a three-year delay until at least 2019 regarding plans to realize a 1,200 MW combined cycle plant in Krefeld-Uerdingen, north-west of Düsseldorf, together with project partner Currenta. "Poor market conditions" were cited as the reasons for postponing, but not shelving the project. "Contrary to our previous intention to start operation of the plant already in 2016 or 2017, we now agreed on a later start-up," project partners said.