The company is replacing the hard-coal-fired block of the Reuter CHP plant in Berlin's district of Spandau with Europe's largest power-to-heat plant, which has a capacity of 120 MWth. 

The new plant will work on the principle of immersion heating and will have the capacity of around 60,000 standard electric kettles and the heat generated from the plant will be transferred to at least 30,000 German households.

It is expected to start its operations by 2020 and is claimed to be an essential part of Berlin’s heat revolution.

Vattenfall Wärme Berlin will be investing €100m in this project over the next two years. When all the heat-only boilers at the plant are installed and commissioned, the coal-fired CHP plant at block C of the Reuter will be taken of the grid.

Vattenfall Wärme Berlin chairman Gunther Müller said: "Vattenfall is breaking new technological ground in Europe with the construction of this power-to-heat plant. Berlin is gaining a key advantage for the integration of renewable energies. If there is a surplus of renewable energy in the grid, the plant will use it to generate district heating at a low environmental impact.

“The renewable energy we generate for this will be equal to 10% of Berlin's total energy demand in summer – or the output of 750,000 refrigerators. Thanks to the new power-to-heat plant, fewer wind turbines and PV installations will have to be throttled."

Vattenfall claims that this is one of its starting projects that are being pursued by the company to fully phase out coal in Berlin by 2030.

The Environment and Climate Protection State Secretary Stefan Tidow said: "Berlin should be climate-neutral by 2050. Projects like the construction and commissioning of a power-to-heat plant are essential to achieving this goal. The future of energy is renewable. This is true not only for electricity generation, but for heating and ultimately also for the transport sector.

“In order to ensure that solar and wind energy can be used intelligently and efficiently, we have to focus on systematically integrating these areas. Today's groundbreaking ceremony for this large-scale project is an important step towards a climate-neutral Berlin."

Image: Vattenfall breaks ground for new energy-to-heat plant in Germany. Photo: Courtesy of Vattenfall.