With a population of 1.35 million, Munich is the third largest city in Germany and one of the country’s most important economic hubs. In 2009 the city set the ambitious goal of achieving 100 percent renewable energy supply by 2025.
In cooperation with the city-owned utility company Stadtwerke München (SWM), Munich is aiming to produce enough green electricity at its own plants by 2025 to meet the power requirements of the entire municipality of Munich — at least 7.5 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) per year. This would make Munich the first city in the world with over 1 million inhabitants to achieve this goal.
In 2008 SWM launched the Renewable Energies Expansion Campaign, establishing a budget of around €9 billion to pursue Munich’s 100 percent renewable energy goal. Thus far SWM has focused exclusively on cost-efficient projects that are self-sustaining. In addition to water, geothermal, solar and biomass, wind power is playing an increasingly important role in SWM’s strategy.
For example, in summer 2009, SWM acquired five wind parks in Germany. The 25 wind power plants that are part of the system generate around 100 million kWh of green electricity per year. This meets the annual requirements of 40,000 Munich households and prevents the emission of 90,000 tonnes of CO2 per year. According to current forecasts, over 80 percent of green electricity will be generated by SWM’s own wind parks by 2015.
As a part of the overall plan the SWM has also recently opened a virtual power plant – a network of several small-scale energy plants which are pooled and operated like a single system. The plant allows SWM to better plan and forecast the loads of these power generation sources, some of which run on renewable energy. The facilities have a combined output of more than 50 MW.
On completion of the already initiated or executed projects, SWM will have a generation capacity of around 2.8 billion kWh of green electricity from its own plants. That equates to 37 percent of Munich’s power consumption and is significantly more than the requirements of all of Munich’s approximately 800,000 households as well as the underground and tram systems.
Munich has already introduced many green initiatives over the past few decades to reduce waste and make better use of its energy infrastructure, including renewables.
With these enormously ambitious but clearly reachable targets the city is taking up a pioneering role and operating at the forefront in terms of climate protection and environmental friendliness.