August 3, 2015 / 3:49 PM / 4 years ago

Germany's Kiel to build flexible gas power plant

* Contract signed for flexible large-scale plant

* To replace old coal plant from 2018

* Suppliers say sets standards for green power future

FRANKFURT, Aug 3 (Reuters) - The municipal utility of the northern German city of Kiel is to build a flexible gas-fired power and heat plant that suppliers say demonstrates an effective way of teaming up thermal and renewable power.

The 20-gas-engine plant supplied by General Electric’s Jenbach plant in Austria will supply 190 megawatts (MW) of electrical and 192 MW of thermal capacity within minutes, GE and general contractor Kraftanlagen Muenchen said in a statement.

Kiel is the capital of Schleswig-Holstein, a state with an plentiful supply of intermittent wind turbine electricity.

The plant has to be able to feed full power into the local transmission grid in short bursts in order to offset the volatility of wind driving turbines.

The requirement was for a plant to replace Kiel’s existing 354 MW coal-fired power plant which will be closed in 2018 in a city that relies on district heat piped to households and that is located far away from reliable thermal supply.

Multiple unit plants such as the one in Kiel, which will be arranged in four units of five blocks each, have the advantage of being operable in slices, replacing bigger units with less flexibility and at higher cost.

GE said the plant in Kiel should be ready for the winter 2018/19 heating season.

The efficiency rate of the GE plant, that uses what is called co-generation of power and heat, will be more than 90 percent, meaning that minimal use of primary energy is required.

Its annual CO2 emissions can be cut to 540,000 tonnes, less than a third of current levels, the statement said.

Germany aims to generate 80 percent of electricity from renewables by 2050 compared with 25 percent today, which means it will need many more back-up plants and new power delivery systems. (Reporting by Vera Eckert, editing by William Hardy)

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