News | November 21, 2016

Construction Work Commences At Germany's Most-Flexible Power Plant In Kiel: The Largest Contract For GE's Jenbacher Gas Engines

  • Germany’s Combined Heat and Power Act Provides Decisive Incentives and is the Catalyst for the Construction of Germany’s Most-Flexible Power Plant
  • The New, Innovative, Gas-Fired Thermal Power Plant in Kiel—with over 90 Percent Total Efficiency—Will Set New Standards with Respect to Flexibility and Efficiency While Reducing the Environmental Impact
  • With Enhanced Operational Flexibility, 20 of GE’s Jenbacher J920 FleXtra Gas Engines Provide 190 Megawatts of Reliable Electric Power and are an Excellent Complement to Renewable Energy Sources

Following a resolution by Stadtwerke Kiel’s management board to ”green light” a new gas-powered cogeneration facility, construction will commence on the second project phase of Germany’s most-flexible power plant. The 190-megawatt (MW) facility, featuring 20 of GE’s Jenbacher J920 FleXtra gas engines, is already being hailed as a flagship project of Germany’s energy transition plan. For GE’s Distributed Power in Jenbach, which collaborates with the general contractor Kraftanlagen München (KAM), this is the largest contract in company history.

“Our K.I.E.L. coastal power plant represents Kiel’s intelligent energy solution, which allows us to ensure the supply of district heating in Kiel and to make an important contribution to both the energy transition plan and to environmental protection. The project, which is wholly unique in Europe, sets new benchmarks in flexibility and efficiency standards,” said Chairman of the Management Board Frank Meier, Stadwerke Kiel, with a measure of satisfaction about the board’s green lighting of the project.

Twenty of GE’s Jenbacher J920 FleXtra gas engines—with a total output of 190 MW and a total efficiency of more than 90 percent—provide the heart of the combined heat and power (CHP) plant on the east bank of the Kieler Förde inlet. Due to the high efficiency as well as advantageous environmental characteristics of an energy source that is reliant on natural gas, the facility will emit around 70 percent less carbon dioxide than the previous coal-fired power plant.

The second phase of the 2015-initiated project will now be implemented quickly. According to plan, the city of Kiel’s gas-powered cogeneration facility will provide district heating and electric power as early as fall of 2018 and will set new benchmark standards in the areas of flexibility, efficiency and ecological sustainability.

“Along with the general contractor Kraftanlagen München, we are proud to construct one of Germany’s most-flexible power plants for Stadtwerke Kiel. Our environmentally friendly, flexible and powerful gas engine technology will allow us to make a decisive contribution to this pioneering project, which has already been lauded for its comprehensive planning and technical concept,” said Carlos Lange, president of GE’s Distributed Power.

Incentives provided by Germany’s Combined Heat and Power Act for the economic viability of the gas-powered cogeneration facility played a significant role. Following a legal examination of subsidies available on behalf of the European Union commission, the 2016 subsidy rate of Germany’s Combined Heat and Power Act was finalized at the end of October 2016 and will now provide the final foundational planning security for the project.

Renewable energy sources are subject to strong fluctuations—in Kiel in particular, it’s a matter of feast or famine. Although, at times, a higher share of Kiel’s power demand can be covered by wind-generated electricity, if the wind ceases to blow, such production becomes unavailable. Because, to date, electrical power can only be stored in small amounts, power plants that can be quickly activated to compensate for energy fluctuations are required to provide balance.

In order to ensure operational flexibility, the new facility relies on 20 of GE’s J920 Jenbacher gas engines, which can be independently controlled and started and can reach full load in less than five minutes. Heat storage and an electrode boiler for the conversion of excess electricity into heat are also parts of the modular power plant concept.

As a quickly adaptable power plant with a strong decoupling of electricity and heat production, all signs point to this project being one of the pioneering forerunner of future initiatives for other regional energy suppliers.

Technical Project Data


Stadtwerke Kiel


East bank of the Kieler Förde inlet

General contractor

Kraftanlagen München (KAM)

Engine type / modules supplied

20 Jenbacher J920 FleXtra
Gas Engines from GE

Type of gas

Natural gas

Plant electrical output

190 MWel

Plant thermal output

192 MWth

Total efficiency

> 90%

Fast-start capability

< 5 minutes