Solar cells on a roof, symbolic for the urban neighbourhoods as local drivers of the energy transition

© iStock.com/ollo

Germany’s energy transition has many facets. Not only the energy supply and industry, but also the cities and suburbs that are home to three quarters of Germany's population, must become sustainable and energy-efficient.

“The success of the energy transition will be determined by the way in which we will heat our houses in the future, by the kinds of transportation we’ll be using and by the type of work we will be doing - private households alone consume over a quarter of the final energy in Germany. Together with the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, we will therefore provide up to 100 million euros for research, development and innovation for sustainable urban development over the next five years,” said Georg Schütte, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

To further support this endeavour, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy have launched a funding initiative entitled “Solar Building / Energy-Efficient City”.

Rainer Baake, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, said: “More than 60 consortia from municipal administrations, research institutes and companies have applied for government funding. Of these, the most promising ones have been selected: six lighthouse projects are to show how energy consumption in urban areas can be reduced, how smart networking of electricity, heat and mobility can be achieved and how renewable energies can be integrated into the energy supply system."

Based on the full involvement of municipalities and the local population as well as taking account of social, ecological and economic aspects, the projects aim to develop and demonstrate forward-looking overall concepts for sustainable urban design at a practical level:

  • In Kaiserslautern, nine partners are showing on the former Pfaff AG factory compound how the energy transition can successfully be implemented in urban districts whose energy supply is based on a high share of locally generated renewable energy, and which have new buildings as well as listed buildings in need of renovation.
  • In Heide (Holstein), the “Quarree 100” consortium with it twenty partners is developing solutions in order to avoid the curtailment of renewable energy and to make local use of this energy - for example using the waste heat from electrolysis systems for the heat supply of existing buildings.
  • In Oldenburg, the "ENaQ - Energetic Neighbourhood" project aims to connect not only power, heat and electric mobility, but also the players and users.
  • In Zwickau, a consortium of 13 partners in the "ZED" project is implementing a zero-emission district, which is intended to show how apartments based on electrical, thermal interconnected systems can be supplied with energy in a sustainable and affordable way.
  • In Esslingen, the climatic-neutral urban district called "ES-West-P2G2P" will enable cross-sectoral use to be made of regenerative electricity surpluses through a combination of innovative technologies. For example, the district will be linked to the mobility concept of the city by means of electric buses.
  • The project “Urban neighbourhood 2050 - Solving challenges together" is to show how innovative building solutions can contribute towards social compatibility in tense housing markets in two urban neighbourhoods in Southern Germany. To this end, users of the buildings, for example, are involved in the energy management of the buildings through an interactive “urban neighbourhood app”.