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Ground-breaking of flexible 90MW Wärtsilä combined heat and power plant for public utility in Dresden

A ground-breaking ceremony for the combined heat and power (CHP) plant to be engineered, procured and constructed by Wärtsilä in Dresden-Reick, Germany, took place on 22 April. Commissioned by the local public utility DREWAG to secure reliable energy supply while increasing the share of renewables, the power plant will feature Wärtsilä 31SG gas engines and deliver up to 90 MW of electrical as well as 84 MW of district heating output for the city of Dresden. The award of the contract to Wärtsilä was announced in January 2019.

Foundation works are ongoing at the power plant site, and the ground-breaking ceremony signals the beginning of construction works. The ceremony at the site in Dresden-Reick was attended by a limited audience, among them Mayor Dirk Hilbert and DREWAG Managing Director Dr. Frank Brinkmann. Delivery of the eight Wärtsilä 31SG engines will take place in late summer 2020, and the power plant is scheduled to become operational in 2021. Wärtsilä will maintain the plant under a Wärtsilä Guaranteed asset performance solution for ten years, with a five-year extension option. Performance targets are determined based on measured data and Wärtsilä guarantees the targets are met and maintained throughout the duration of the agreement.

With this flexible CHP gas engine plant, DREWAG is investing in the highest level of efficiency and emission control systems to supply safe, clean, and affordable energy, while further committing to a higher share of renewable energy sources. The eight Wärtsilä 31SG engines operating on natural gas, are extremely flexible and have the highest efficiency on the market. In DREWAG’s power plant they are capable of reaching full output from start-up in maximum five minutes and synchronize with the grid in less than 30 seconds to provide immediate balancing of the grid. This means that the system cannot only balance more intermittent renewables like wind and solar to support the power plant owner  in the energy transition towards renewable energy sources. Additionally, the engine technology is also designed to produce minute-to-minute power when it is most valuable and can be sold in the day-ahead, intra-day as well as balancing power markets, and the plant can operate on the secondary balancing market in Germany even from stand still.

“The new CHP plant enables us to provide a concrete response to the energy transition in Dresden. We are focusing on renewable energies as well as on security of supply, because the plant with its high flexibility of use and black start capability does both,” said Dr. Frank Brinkmann.

“We are very excited about this major CHP project. It represents an important milestone for us in the German market with our new and extremely flexible Wärtsilä 31SG engines,” says Pekka Tolonen, Director of Energy Business, Europe at Wärtsilä. “It is great that DREWAG has committed to applying the latest flexible power generation technology, which enables the share of renewables to be increased by ensuring that the plant will start very quickly and operate reliably in variable conditions. Over the last two months, because of the COVID-19 impact, the relative share of renewables has increased to unprecedented levels. This imposes a challenge to grid stability and the resilience of different power generation technologies in a very intermittent environment. It has become increasingly evident that future-proof, flexible gas engine technology is the best means to unlock the full potential of renewables, and to support the ambitious energy transition in Germany. We are very proud of the fact that DREWAG has shown its trust in our capabilities as the journey to cleaner, cheaper and more reliable power gains pace.”

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