In late 2009, Vattenfall and the City of Berlin signed a comprehensive climate agreement with the aim of halving carbon dioxide emissions from the German capital's heating and power plants by 2020, compared with the baseline value of 1990. According to official German emission statistics, this target was reached already by the end of 2017 - three years earlier than agreed.
“Vattenfall has invested more than one billion euro to make our combined heat and power plants in Berlin more effective and reduce emissions from our production. Although we have expanded our district heating network and connected 20,000 new households in the German capital every year, the absolute carbon dioxide emissions in Berlin have been more than halved,” says Magnus Hall, Vattenfall’s President and CEO.
According to figures from the German Emissions Trading Authority (Deutsche Emissions-handelsstelle, DEHSt), Berlin’s 24 combined heat and power (CHP) plants emitted 13.3 million tons of carbon dioxide in 1990. In 2017, the emissions from the remaining 18 CHPs had been reduced to 6.3 million tons – a reduction of 52,7 per cent.
“The closure of the lignite plant Klingenberg in May 2017 was an important part of achieving our carbon dioxide emission target prematurely,” says Gunther Müller, Head of Vattenfall’s Heat business in Berlin. “In addition, we have modernized and achieved a more efficient management of the production facilities in Berlin and increased the proportion of fuels emitting less carbon dioxide, mainly natural gas and biomass. However, reaching the 2020 climate agreement target was only the first step for us. Now we are looking at phasing-out hard coal completely until 2030 at the latest,” says Gunther Müller.
With the intention of continuing to reduce emissions in Berlin, the CHP plants in Lichterfelde and Marzahn are currently being converted and equipped with new, flexible gas-fired steam turbines. In the future, solar heat panels, highly-efficient heat pumps and power-to-heat-solutions will be integrated in the heat production.
The next milestone towards phasing out hard coal in Berlin is the closure of the unit “Block C” at the combined heat and power plant Reuter, in the Berlin-Spandau area, already in 2020.
At the moment, Vattenfall and the City of Berlin are conducting a feasibility study to identify further steps in the phase-out of hard coal. The results of this feasibility study will be presented next year.
Carbon dioxide emissions from combined heat and power plants in Berlin, 1990: 13.3 million tons
Carbon dioxide emissions from combined heat and power plants in Berlin, 2017: 6.3 million tons
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