Consortium to equip Germany's 100-MW Rheinfelden

Swiss-German hydropower utility Energiedienst Holding AG (EDH) has awarded a contract for turbine-generators for the new 100-MW Rheinfelden hydroelectric project, labeled Germany's biggest onshore renewable energy plant.

A consortium of Voith Siemens Hydro Power Generation and Alstom Hydro (Switzerland) AG received the contract from EDH, an affiliate of German utility EnBW, for the project in Germany's Baden Wuerttemberg State, on the Rhine River dividing Germany from Switzerland. (HNN 8/2/06)

Voith Siemens, the lead partner in the consortium, said the scope of supply includes four 25-MW Kaplan bulb turbines and related generators, a smaller unit to generate power from mandatory minimum flows, and supplementary systems. Start of operation is scheduled for 2010.

New Rheinfelden is to replace the 100-year-old, 25.7-MW Rheinfelden project at a cost of 400 million euros (US$510.4 million). The new plant is to more than triple generation to more than 600 million kWh per year compared with the current 185 million kWh.

Government support of larger hydro spurred development

In 2003, Energiedienst began construction of a replacement dam at Rheinfelden, one of six Energiedienst hydro projects on the Rhine totaling 452 MW. However, Energiedienst had said a new hydropower plant probably would not be built before 2019 unless Germany modified its renewable energy law to provide financial support to hydropower plants that exceed 5 MW.

The German government subsequently agreed to change the law to provide such support.

Under its NaturEnergie brand, EDH group's German subsidiary, which is 77 percent owned by giant utility EnBW, sells hydropower from Rhine River plants to ecologically minded firms across the country.

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