Electricity doesn’t grow on trees

It was a record year for deployment of new renewable power generation capacities. 115 gigawatts were added world-wide, corresponding to over half of all newly installed power plants.

This trend also applies to the Stuttgart Region. The metropolitan area has enormous development potential in renewable energy and energy-saving technologies. First and foremost is the research project “City with Energy Efficiency – SEE Stuttgart” that supports the implementation of energy targets and develops the Stuttgart energy concept with prospects up to 2050. Stuttgart has set ambitious goals for the energy turnaround: by 2020, the state capital wants to consume 20 per cent less energy than in 1990. In addition, starting from 2010, three billion kilowatt hours are to be saved, about the same amount of energy expended annually for heating in Stuttgart.

SEE develops and compiles suggestions and projects to be implemented in order to attain the state capital’s energy consumption targets. So far, about seventy measures and suggestions in the areas of energy supply, traffic, households, industry and commerce as well as the city government have been included in a catalogue of possibilities. The catalogue is continuously updated and the measures specified in greater detail. But the city is not the only innovator.

Since the eighties, EnBW has been doing research in wind power and currently operates wind parks with a total output of approximately 170 MW. EnBW Baltic 1 is the first commercial German offshore wind park in the Baltic. The twenty-one wind generators of EnBW Baltic 1 produce a total output of 48.3 megawatts. On an area of 7 km2, about 185 million kilowatt hours of electricity are generated annually.

This power output meets the annual electricity demand of 50,000 households, while saving the environment from exposure to 167,000 tons of environmentally damaging CO2. However, wind is only one means of generating environmentally sound electricity. The power plant of the municipal public utilities company in Ludwigsburg-Kornwestheim, inaugurated in March 2010, annually utilises about 42,000 tons of wood waste from landscaping and wood chip refuse in the region. In a sophisticated process for dual production of electricity and heat (organic Rankine cycle), the company produces electricity certified by the Renewable Energy Act as well as heat for the local district heating grid. About ten million kilowatt hours of electricity and 48 kilowatt hours of heat are generated every year.