German utility EnBW laid the foundation stone July 20, 2009, for an expansion of the 105-MW Iffezheim hydroelectric project to make it the largest hydro plant on the Rhine River.
EnBW and Electricite de France, who are partners in project operator Rheinkraftwerk Iffezheim GmbH, marked the occasion in ceremonies attended by Premier Gunther Oettinger of Germany's Baden-Wurttemberg State.
Rheinkraftwerk Iffezheim awarded a contract in April to Andritz Hydro to supply electro-mechanical equipment for a new Unit 5 of 38.5 MW. (HydroWorld 4/30/09) When work is complete in 2012, the unit is to increase Iffezheim to 143.5 MW.
"Expanding the plant with a fifth machine with a capacity of 38 MW will increase the average annual production of electricity from Rheinkraftwerk Iffezheim by 122 million kilowatt-hours from the current around 740 million kWh to 862 million kWh of regenerative electricity from hydropower," EnBW Technical Director Hans-Josef Zimmer said. "This power can be used to supply more than half a million people. It also means saving around 800,000 tons of CO2."
The French Council of State approved the 90 million euro (US$127.7 million) expansion in June. The Karlsruhe regional council gave waterway consents and planning permission for the German side of the two-nation project a year earlier.
Site preparations have been ongoing since April. Currently probe drilling and main excavation are under way, as is preparation of a construction information center for visitors. Andritz is supplying a 38.5-MW bulb-type turbine-generator with a 6.8-meter-diameter runner.
The existing project has four turbine-generators operating with flows of 275 cms each and a head of 10 meters.