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    Germany Shortens Planning Process for CCGTs


The looming generation supply-demand gap means time is of the essence, argues Germany's gas industry.

by: William Powell

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Germany Shortens Planning Process for CCGTs

Germany is shortening the approval process for gas-fired power plants, as well as offering a financial incentive to build them on the site of coal or lignite-fired power plants, lobby group Zukunft Erdgas (ZE) said November 27.

A shake-up of planning laws originally did not include power plants but as the country is phasing out solid fossil-fuel fuel plants and nuclear, it needs to increase construction rate of gas-fired plants.

“With the Investment Acceleration Act, politicians are taking an important step to secure supplies in the future. The law facilitates the approval process and thus the switch from coal to gas power plants. In this way, successes in climate protection can be achieved more quickly. Because the fuel switch, i.e. the conversion from coal to gas, reduces CO2 emissions in power generation by up to 70%," said ZE head Timm Kehler.

"Today's decision enables a faster extension of district heating pipes and combined heat and power (CHP) systems. These are urgently needed with a view to the electricity transition. According to calculations by the energy economics institute of the university of Cologne (EWI), Germany is heading towards a gap of 13 - 45 GW of secure output with the nuclear and coal phase-out. This gap can be closed, among other things, by adding highly efficient CHP plants based on gas. Gas-fired power plants produce electricity even when the sun is not shining and the wind is not blowing. With a regular investment cycle of five to eight years, the Investment Acceleration Act helps to close the looming supply gap by 2030, secure the expansion of renewables and achieve the climate targets," he said. 

ZE is rebranding at the start of next year to become Zukunft Gas, reflecting a wider range of low-carbon fuels, it said following a vote November 26. "The members unanimously voted in favour of the renaming. The initiative is taking another step into the future. The aim of their work is all gaseous energy sources: from natural gas to biogas to hydrogen."

Steag CHP receives first turbine for Herne

German utility Steag took delivery November 24 of a turbine from Siemens (pictured above), the first major component of a 600-MW combined heat and power plant at Herne in the Ruhr region, to replace a coal plant. It is due to start in the summer of 2022. With a further 400-MW of heat, the  technology results in fuel efficiency of 85%.

“It means we’ve moved a big step closer to achieving our goal of putting the new CCGT plant into operation by the summer of 2022,” Steag said, despite "the considerable restrictions on world trade due to the coronavirus pandemic that has been raging since the beginning of the year, first in parts of China and then worldwide." The boiler is made in China.