Advertisement
Advertisement
WORDS
REPORTING
TAG
BROWSING
SHARE
Facebook
WhatsApp
Pinterest
LinkedIn
Email
Twitter

The catalyst for the decarbonization of the energy sector in Berlin: Berliner Stadtwerke

Clients know where their electric power comes from. Although Berliner Stadtwerke is not a large company using eco certificates to provide green power, it’s one-hundred percent solar and wind powered

About Berliner Stadtwerke providing climate-friendly generation

Berliner Stadtwerke was added to the commercial register as a public company since 2014. Since 2015, it has been active as an energy supply company. Following the Berlin Companies Act, the Berliner Stadtwerke is responsible for providing climate-friendly generation. This includes supplying renewable source-based power.

As a municipal public energy supply company, Berliner Stadtwerke GmbH is independent of private shareholders. It operates in the interest of the city of Berlin and its residents. It commits to offering consumer-oriented energy production and environmentally friendly supply concepts. These are based on renewable energies in the region. The company reinvests surplus profits contributing to the region’s economic, ecological, and social development.

Berliner Stadtwerke generates electricity exclusively from renewable sources. They invest in sustainable infrastructure in the city and cooperate with regional companies. The public energy company produces its own solar and wind power. As of January 2021, they have installed more than 200 solar power systems. This includes thirteen wind turbines in the Berlin-Brandenburg metropolitan region.

The primary source of energy in Europe?

Renewable energy, sometimes referred to as clean energy, is the power derived from sources that replenish themselves. They are inexhaustible in duration and replenished on a human timescale without the need for human intervention.  The principal types of renewable energy include wind power, hydropower, solar, geothermal, and biomass. 

Eurostat is a Luxembourg-based Directorate-General of the European Commission that provides statistical information to institutions in the EU. They reported that in 2019, the primary production of energy amounted to 616 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe). This decreased by three percent from 2018. In the same year, EU energy import dependency reached sixty-one percent. Furthermore, the EU produced around thirty-nine percent of its own energy.  Oil was the most significant energy source for the EU in 2019, accounting for a twenty-six percent share. With 513 Mtoe in 2019, crude oil was the most prominent imported energy product.  

How much of Europe’s energy is renewable

In EU 2020, the share of gross final energy consumption from renewable sources reached twenty-two-point-one percent. In the same year in the EU, renewable energy sources generated thirty-seven-point-five percent of gross electricity consumption. Furthermore, the share increased from the previous year. Renewable energy sources made up thirty-four-point-one of gross electricity consumption in the EU (Eurostat). Wind and hydropower provided more than two-thirds of the total electricity generated from renewable sources. Each generated thirty-six and thirty-three percent of the total.  

Solar power accounted for fourteen percent of the total electricity generated from renewable sources. In comparison, solid biofuels and other renewable sources generated eight percent each. They provided the remaining one-third of electricity from renewables along with solar power. For instance, this type of renewable energy has been the fastest-growing source between the late 2000s, all through the 2010s. Solar power accounted for one percent of the total electricity generated from renewable sources in 2008. It rose from 7.4 TWh in 2008 to 144.2 TWh in 2020 (Eurostat).

Lampoon, Solar power for the Humboldt University's storage library Photography Mathias Völzke
Solar power for the Humboldt University’s storage library Photography Mathias Völzke

The benefits of using renewable energy and publicly owned energy

The benefits include a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, of which an increase in atmospheric concentrations causes global warming. It also reduces the dependency on the fossil fuel industry and imported fuels such as oil and gas. This includes a diversification of energy supplies. «Renewable energy sources are so much more reliable and sustainable than fossil fuels. Fossil fuels will end at some moment. They are producing massive amounts of carbon dioxide and other gasses. So by eating away fossil fuels, we’re eating away the grounds for our existence. So it’s necessary if we want to exist on this planet to invest in renewable energy sources,» explained Astrid Hackenesch-Rump. He is a spokesperson at Berliner Wasserbetriebe.

Unlike the investor-owned utility sector, public utility companies function on a not-for-profit basis. Community-owned and controlled. The benefits include rate stability, policies in line with the community’s needs, and a high degree of accountability and transparency. A report elaborated by Dr. Vera Weghmann, has shown how the energy liberalization experiment has failed to achieve its goals. It also highlighted the need for public ownership and control to accomplish the green energy revolution. Support for public ownership of energy seems to be widespread. A 2021 Savanta ComRes poll revealed that sixty percent of British adults supported bringing energy companies back into public ownership. 

Examples of reverse privatization of city services such as electricity in Europe

Germany has been at the forefront of the reverse privatization of city services in Europe. On 22 September 2013, fifty-one percent of Hamburg residents voted to buy back the city’s energy distribution grid. For instance, this started the process of full re-municipalization. In February 2014, Hamburg closed a deal with the Swedish multinational power company, Vattenfall. For 550 million euros, they would purchase the city’s electricity grid back from said energy company.

In 1997, the state of Berlin sold the majority stake of the state-owned company, BEWAG, to private investors. As a result, the Berlin power and heat supply moved to Vattenfall in 2002. On 3 November 2013, the residents of the German capital held a Referendum on the re-municipalization of Berlin’s energy supply —(Volksentscheid über die Rekommunalisierung der Berliner Energieversorgung). Prompted by the Berlin Energy Table (Berliner Energietisch). An alliance of organizations, initiatives, and individuals.  

The re-communalization of the energy supply was approved by eighty-three percent of the voters. However, the referendum failed due to insufficient voter turnout. Furthermore, this outcome did not result in an immediate compulsion for the State of Berlin to found a public utility company. However, the impulse from this procedure was influential enough. The Berlin Senate initiated the founding of a state-owned energy supplier as early as 2013.

The decarbonization of the energy sector in Berlin

«Founded in 2014 Berliner Stadtwerke functions as a catalyst for the Energiewende, the decarbonization of the energy sector in Berlin», said Hackenesch-Rump. «Berlin went through a series of financial problems and privatized a lot of the utilities, like the Berliner Wasserbetriebe. However also the energy sector, the former BEWAG sold to Vattenfall, a big Swedish energy company. There was plenty of backlash following that, and people started wanting to have their utilities back. To conclude, there was a significant movement for the re-municipalization of utilities. This resulted first in the re-municipalization of the Berliner Wasserbetriebe. Then, in the founding of Berliner Stadtwerke in 2014». 

Berliner Stadtwerke 

committed to consumer-oriented energy generation and environmentally friendly supply concepts based on renewable energy in the interest of the residents.

The writer does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article.

check and buy on Prototipo Store
item collections in limited edition
crafted according to our editorial search

Hemp / made in Italy
Lampoon is working to restore Hemp production in Italy
as hemp is the one and only natural vegetal fiber sourceable in the country
for more info, please email us

check and buy on Prototipo Store
item collections in limited edition
crafted according to our editorial search

Hemp / made in Italy
Lampoon is working to restore
Hemp production in Italy
as hemp is the one and only
natural vegetal fiber sourceable in the country
for more info, please email us at [email protected]

SHARE
Facebook
LinkedIn
Pinterest
Email
WhatsApp
Twitter