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The goal of the EU-Project Energy Region is the effective development of distributed renewable energy. Eleven teams from four countries take part – from Poland, the Czech republic, Slowenia and Germany, looking to make the energy transition happen.

My name is Kirsten Hasberg and I´m passionate about energy democracy. That´s why I´m visiting the participants of ENERGYREGION. In Baunatal in Hessen, Germany, I´m meeting with Johannes Möller, Energy Officer of the city.

„Hi Kirsten.“
„Hi Johannes. How does Baunatal contribute to the Energy Transition and how does that contribute to the EnergyRegion-Project?“

„As a responsible energy consumer, Baunatal renovates it´s facilities. We´re saving energy, and we´re producing energy with our solar panels, which for the mainpart are installed as community power projects, and we´ve good good examples one can learn from. We can learn a lot from our European partners. So, there is a great exchange within the project. Still, the best energy is the energy the energy saved.“

You can´t see energy saved. Just as little as you can see the community solar arrays on top of the music school. From up here, you can. I´m on the fifth floor of the town hall, and meeting Silke Engler, the Vice Mayor of Baunatal.

„As a city, we are always aiming at setting an example, to conciously be a role model by saying: Our own buildings are being refurbished energetically, and they are refurbished according to high standards. And everytime we renovate, I also aim to put a solar panel on top of the building. We want to make our contribution.

„The partners of the EU-Project EnergyRegion – how is their reaction to examples like these?“

„We are collecting many good examples, ultimately we want to create a database where hands-on examples are explained in an easy-to-understand manner.
What is happening in all partner municipalities of EnergyRegion and works well - we don´t need to re-invent that. We just need to copy it and then, we can do it as well!“

But there is also something others can copy from Baunatal: The Volkswagen plant supplies itself and part of the city, too. The plant is run as a combined cycle power plant, CCPP in short.

Manager Heinrich Nientiedt explains to me, why everybody profits.

„The central element of this Combined cycle power plant is the principle of electricity generation in two places. And, that the heat, which is recovered from the steam turbine, is partially used for technical purposes here on the Volkswagen-site, partially for space heating for the factory, depending on the outside temperature. And via the district heating grid, the heat is transported to the homes of Baunatal.“

The hot exhaust gas from the gas engine is used to generate steam, powering a steam turbine. The hot waste water from the steam engine is in turn used via combined heat and power.

The total efficiency at sufficient heat demand is above 90 %.

„This means that all pipes, pumps, valves and meters that you see here serve the same goal: To recover heat and transport it to the consumer.“

In the control room, all Volkswagen power plants are monitored and controlled, 24-7. There are two additional units in Wolfsburg, several photovoltaic power systems and soon, also a Volkswagen wind turbine.

„What is shown on the display?“
„The large displays show us, that we are currently have a total consumption of 96 MW in the factory. We are producing 62 MW. This means that we are covering the difference between consumption and production from the outside grid, that´s 34 MW.“
„...which are covered by another Volkswagen power plant, in balance sheet terms?“
„All right!“

The unit in Baunatal delivers electricity and heat to the factory employing 12.900 people. Additionally, 2000 private households are connected to the district heating system. This makes it a best-practice example of EnergyRegion.

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