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Weisweiler lignite-fired Power Station | RWE
Weisweiler lignite-fired Power Station | RWE

Lignite-fired power station

Weisweiler Power Station

Facts and figures

Power plant location Eschweiler, North Rhine-Westphalia
Power plant type Lignite-fired power plant with 3 units and 2 topping gas turbines (TGT)
Commissioned in 1955-1975 (lignite units)
2006-2007 (TGTs)
Electrical output (gross)* 1,800 MW
Electrical output (net)* 1,643 MW
Electrical output TGTs (net) 400 MW
Number of units 1 unit F (300MW)
2 units G,H (600MW)
2 TGTs (270MW)
*without TGT

Producing electricity since 1955

With its distinctive architecture, Weisweiler Power Station is visible from the busy A4 motorway near Aachen. Its sole fuel supplier, Inden Mine, is close to it. But only the pylons of a giant bucket wheel excavator peep out over the opencast mine rim. Motorists can see that from the motorway.

From 1955 to 1975, 8 power plant units of increasing size were commissioned. Today, there are still one 300-MW and two 600-MW units on line at the site. In addition, the power plant utilises steam produced in the neighbouring waste incineration plant for generating electricity. In 2029,  Weisweiler Power Station will cease to generate lignite-based electricity as Inden Mine will end production in the course of the German coal phase-out.

2007/2008: gas turbines commissioned

The Weisweiler power plant does not just generate electricity. It also supplies district heat to Forschungszentrum Jülich research facility, the village of Inden/Altdorf and, via the municipal district heating grid, parts of Aachen.

More than ten years ago, RWE Power installed two topping gas turbines at the site. The Weisweiler power plant is located close to key long-distance gas pipelines. They supply the fuel for generating about 200 MW of electricity with each of the two turbines. Since natural gas is relatively expensive compared to other fuels, the turbines are only started up in periods of peak demand and when the electricity prices are favourable. When they are operational, their waste heat is used to pre-heat the feedwater of the connected lignite units G and H. In this way more steam becomes available for generating electricity. This approach saves energy, increases the overall efficiency of the power generation process and reduces emissions. Here, gas does not replace lignite, but supplements it. The lignite units are continuously used, as in the past, to generate base-load electricity.

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