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One of the largest energy and infrastructure companies in Germany, Stadtwerke München (SWM) provides electricity, natural gas, and district heating and cooling to Munich’s residents.

SWM contracted GE Vernova's Gas Power team to provide and install two LM6000 aeroderivative (aero) gas turbines to update its older cogeneration plant in Freimann.

We spoke with plant manager Simon Weig to learn more about the project and how the aeroderivative turbines are helping the Freimann plant run more flexibly.

How would you describe your relationship with GE Vernova's Gas Power team?

SWM’s relationship with GE Vernova has been very agile and collaborative, with both teams working together to keep the performance and availability of the units high.

What led you to contact GE Vernova for the installation of the two LM6000 gas turbines?

It’s an older power plant, and therefore we were forced to build the new units within the old buildings, which was one of the requirements for the new units. 


We were also looking for turbines with a very high availability and reliability. The LM6000 aeroderivative gas turbine was a perfect fit for the whole plant and met all our requirements, so it was the best option for us.

Simon Weig

How did you learn about GE Vernova’s aeroderivative gas turbines?

The aero business is very new for us, so we researched what technologies are on the market that are the right the size for the plant. We explored both aeros and heavy-duty gas turbines from GE Vernova and competitors, and at the end of the day, the Gas Power aero solution was the right choice for this plant.

Were you satisfied with the installation and commissioning of the gas turbines?

We did have some challenges with the installation and commissioning because it’s built within an existing plant, so we had to work around a certain set of boundaries that you wouldn’t need to with a brand-new plant. But through a very collaborative and creative project team on both the GE Vernova and SWM side, we were able to meet all our requirements and resolve all issues onsite.

During the installation it was good to have the GE Vernova specialists onsite because the LM6000 PF+ was a new engine uprate in 2018 and was commissioned at Freimann among a group of first projects worldwide. We had some specific issues during commissioning but having the Gas Power team there helped us solve problems fairly quickly and easily. It was also a good opportunity to learn a lot from the people who are responsible for the technology. And now during operation it’s good to know that the GE Vernova team can continue to advise.


Describe how the operational flexibility of the gas turbine and downstream heat recovery system has helped SWM respond to high electricity prices.

The Freimann plant was built to supply district heating in Munich, so it’s important that we’re able to provide power in an efficient way. The plant itself is financially supported by the Combined Heat and Power Act here in Germany so the units are more or less always running as long as there is a need for heat.


We also have two big heat storage systems on the side of the plant that help us leverage high prices when the plant isn’t needed for heat. We like the flexibility of being able to run the units to generate heat that’s then kept in the storage system. And because the units can start up so quickly, it’s very simple for us to react spontaneously to gas or power prices.

Simon Weig

Another feature that we like is the flexibility of being able to run one or both units to react to power needs and gas prices. One unit can meet the consumption needs of our atmospheric heat storage, so we can always run one unit with heat storage regardless of the power needs of the grid. Or we can run both units with or without heat production. The ability to run the units in part load and still maintain high plant efficiency further increases the plant’s overall flexibility.

Are you satisfied with the financial performance of the gas turbines?


Because the units are very available and reliable, we can trust the units whenever we need them. Combine that with their fast start capabilities, and we’ve been able to use them for many different business cases—including combined heat and power production, selling to the normal grid for power, and even black start scenarios. All these attributes are contributing to the financial performance of our power plant.

Simon Weig

How satisfied are you with the reliability of your engines? Any significant downtime due to planned service work?

With any new equipment there are usually some things to work through in the first few years. We did have some issues with the gear boxes that caused an unplanned outage last summer, but we worked with the GE Vernova team to solve the issue, and units were back to their high reliability and availability.

How satisfied are you with the support and responsiveness of our service organization?

The team was very responsive to the issues we were having with the gear boxes. We actually tried to resolve it onsite as part of our regular yearly overhaul, but when we called the Gas Power team to help, they reacted quickly. Within a few days the team was there to take out the old gear box and get it to the manufacturer for repairs.


Any new work with GE Vernova in the planning phase?

Yes, we’re talking a lot about hydrogen. Our goal is to start using hydrogen in our gas turbines by the beginning of the 2030s, and we’re talking to Gas Power about the strategy going forward.


Simon Weig

Plant manager, Freimann power plant, SWM

With a Master’s degree in energy technology and process engineering, Mr. Weig started at SWM as a power plant dispatcher in 2013. He then moved into the power plant and has been responsible for the installation, commissioning and operation of the Freimann power plant since 2017.

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