The two-state capitals of Munich (Bavaria, Germany) and Vienna (Austria), as well as their municipal energy suppliers, have agreed to close cooperation in the areas of geothermal energy and digitization, with the common goal of providing an urban energy supply that is as climate-friendly and autonomous as possible. On March 10, 2022, a working agreement was established at Munich City Hall.
In light of the global climate crisis, the effects of which are becoming increasingly visible in Europe, not least because of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, the phase-out of gas and oil, as well as the associated transition to an independent and sustainable energy supply, appear to be more urgent than ever.
In this regard, the provincial capitals of Munich and Vienna have agreed to close operational and political-strategic collaboration in the pursuit of a sustainable and independent energy supply. On March 10th, the agreement on future municipal collaboration was signed in Munich City Hall. Mayor Dieter Reiter (Munich) and City Councilor for Finance and Economics Peter Hanke (Vienna) were present, as well as Dr. Florian Bieberbach, CEO of Stadtwerke München and Dipl.-Ing. Peter Weinelt, Managing Director of Wiener Stadtwerke.
“There is a simple method for us to address the current challenges: we must cut our CO 2 emissions!” With the depletion of fossil fuels, efficient alternatives are rapidly taking centre stage. Such alternatives are critical for the long-term success of the energy transition in all sectors and for climate protection,” says Peter Hanke, City Councilor for Economic Affairs.
“Munich aims to be the first large city in Germany to replace fossil fuels with renewable energies across the board,” said Mayor Dieter Reiter. Because natural gas and heating oil burning is now one of the leading contributors of greenhouse gas emissions in this region. And the present global political scenario demonstrates how critical this transition is, not simply from an ecological one.”
According to Peter Weinelt, Deputy Director-General of Wiener Stadtwerke, European metropolises and cities such as Munich and Vienna are especially essential for the climate problem since they have the potential to be pioneers in the conversion of energy and mobility systems.
“We now see the goals of our renewable energies expansion campaign, which we launched in 2009, as more clearly confirmed than ever: our reliance on fossil fuels, and thus on the producing countries, is decreasing as our energy production from sun, wind, and geothermal heat with a focus on the region progresses.” “With electricity, we have already accomplished 90% of our objective of generating as much green energy in our own facilities as the entire city of Munich uses,” says Dr Florian Bieberbach, Chairman of the SWM Management Board.
The realisation of the European Union’s aims – climate neutrality by 2040/2050 – necessitates vast development and significant investments in renewable energies. As a result, significant efforts must be made in the areas of photovoltaics, wind and hydropower, as well as geothermal energy and (green) hydrogen. Around 500,000 gas boilers in the federal capital of Vienna alone must be changed to fossil-free, sustainable alternatives. Another aim of the City of Vienna is to considerably accelerate solar expansion so that photovoltaic power output in the city area may be expanded from 250 MW peak by 2025 to 800 MW peak by 2030.
Munich likewise hopes to attain climate neutrality by 2035.
Numerous breakthroughs and pioneering initiatives are already promising potential ways to transform, independence, and climate-neutral energy systems. However, not only is the generation of electricity critical for climate neutrality and energy independence but so is the conversion of heating systems to renewable heat sources.
Over the previous few years, technical advancement in the heating sector has been steady. Thus, geothermal usage, for example, via probes and heat pumps, is now becoming the norm in a wide range of new construction regions.
Geothermal district heating is also becoming increasingly popular, and the city of Munich is leading the way in this area. According to the Tagesspiegel, the sixth geothermal power plant of Stadtwerke München is presently in trial operation at the Heizkraftwerk Süd site, which also happens to be Germany’s biggest geothermal power plant. Geothermal energy is expected to take over the majority of district heating supplies in the Munich area by 2040 at the latest. By 2040, Vienna hopes to cover a quarter of its district heating needs with geothermal energy.
Both cities are now executing the combined smart city pilot project “Smarter Together” as part of their city cooperation. It is apparent that difficulties of mobility, technology, energy supply, and reconstruction impact both cities equally. The direct exchange should also help with digitalization and citizen service concerns.
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