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  • dena study confirms:

    No energy transition in urban areas without district heating

    Planning permission procedure for Rhine-Ruhr district heating line completed

    The "Urban Energy Transition" study presented by the German Energy Agency (dena) on 26 November concludes: District and local heating networks contribute significantly to the local heating transition in urban areas, as a resource-saving heating supply solution low in CO2 is crucial to the success of the energy transition in Germany. Responsible use of energy in all areas of life is the key factor for effective environmental and climate protection. The planned Rhine-Ruhr district heating line could make a substantial contribution towards meeting the targets for cutting CO2 set by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. 

    "The findings of the study are clear: District heating is of crucial importance in achieving the national energy transition targets with regard to buildings in urban areas."

    Joachim Rumstadt, Chairman of the Board of Management, STEAG GmbH 

    The energy system of tomorrow will have to interlink sectors of the economy and everyday life which at present are still isolated from one another. Working, living, mobility and energy have to be comprehended as parts of one and the same system. This is why more than 30 well-known companies and associations contributed to the study as partners in the project - from municipal utilities to energy suppliers, housing companies, trading companies, and providers of logistics and electrical engineering services. And STEAG is one of them.

    "The findings of the study are clear: District heating is of decisive importance in achieving the national energy transition targets with regard to buildings in urban areas," Joachim Rumstadt, Chairman of the Board of Management of STEAG GmbH remarks. Besides purely saving CO2, it is also a matter of ensuring the comfort of residents and people using the buildings. Grid-based local and district heating solutions enable oil and gas-fired building heating systems to be replaced without any loss of comfort for the residents. Introducing CO2 pricing for fossil fuels in the heating sector has now made it possible for property owners with district heating to curb the rise in energy prices and keep rents stable.

    The study also examined the considerable efficiency advantages of integrated, large-scale district heating solutions. District heating trunk lines bringing together town districts and cities to form a large supply area can make use of many different heat sources. Waste heat from large industrial plants, for example, can also then be efficiently delivered to customers over long distances. Concrete plans exist for expanding the climate-friendly district heating supply in the Ruhr area.

    Together with other partners, STEAG is examining the economic conditions for connecting the existing Ruhr heating trunk line with the existing Lower Rhine district heating trunk line via the planned Rhine-Ruhr district heating trunk line (FWSRR), in other words extending the existing pipeline network in the heart of the Ruhr area westwards as far as the Lower Rhine region so as to integrate further heat sources based on renewable energies and industrial waste heat into the network. By merging the two district heating trunk lines and expanding the network, around 100,000 metric tons of CO2 can be saved annually in the Ruhr area. The Rhine-Ruhr district heating trunk line would thus make a substantial contribution towards meeting the targets for cutting CO2 set by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. With the planning permission procedure having been completed, the onus is now on the policy-makers. "The political and funding framework for such a large infrastructure project is still lacking," Joachim Rumstadt points out. Although the CDU and FDP adopted the project as an energy policy target in the coalition agreement in 2017, the state government has so far failed to specify its plans in more detail.