Energy that unites
Power and heat supply for 9 municipalities from 100 per cent renewable energies. An ambitious and visionary collaborative project, which together with the utility company Stadtwerke Schwäbisch Hall was implemented successfully and particularly quickly: Since 2018 at least as much renewable electricity has been generated as is consumed in the municipalities. This milestone was planned for 2030. By 2035, the heat supply will also become completely renewable. The project is an example of what combined forces and a common vision can achieve in terms of energy transition.
This project was recognized by the Ministry for the Environment, Climate and Energy Economics Baden-Württemberg for its special contribution to the energy transition.
A first success: Deciding to work together
In 2010, the municipalities of Braunsbach, Mainhardt, Michelbach, Michelfeld, Rosengarten, Untermünkheim, Wüstenrot, the city of Schwäbisch Hall and the city of Vellberg, together with the municipal utility company Stadtwerke Schwäbisch Hall, decided to meet their electricity and heat requirements using only renewable energies. To implement this ambitious vision, Stadtwerke Schwäbisch Hall developed concepts for sustainable energy generation and heat supply. The regenerative self-supply is provided by solar plants, wind power, water power, battery storage and by combined heat and power generation. The calculation is sound, because this combination produces exactly the amount of energy that the utility company supplies from the grid in the form of electricity. A district heating network, set up to supply the municipalities with heat, now already supplies 2,200 households with heat. The central network is being supplemented by several small heating networks in the respective towns and municipalities. A total of over 60 combined heat and power (CHP) plants are operated, whose generated heat is fed into these networks. About 40 per cent of the CHPs are operated with biogas and biomethane.
A commitment meets with enthusiasm
The project has received support and appreciation from the very start. In 2009, it was funded by the state of Baden-Württemberg with 250,000 € as part of the Bioenergiewettbewerb (bioenergy competition). In 2012, the city of Schwäbisch Hall was awarded the title of Energy Community of the Year for its commitment. The city prevailed over 60 other municipalities throughout Germany. During the celebrations for the inauguration of a new CHP, former Minister of the Environment Franz Untersteller presented the Managing Directors of Stadtwerke Schwäbisch Hall, Mr Gentner and Mr Pfitzer, as well as Mayor Pelgrim, with the award “Energy transition in action” on behalf of the project “100% renewable energy”. This collaborative project shows that the changeover to 100 per cent renewable energy is feasible, and that it can also take place relatively quickly – if everyone pulls together.