Initiated by Braunschweig’s energy provider and Veolia subsidiary, BS Energy, the Hungerkamp project replaces the previous heating facility and its 34 coal, gas and oil burners, contributing to the country’s renewable energy and climate change reduction objectives. The project’s success reflects a combination of opportunism, creativity and tenacity says BS Energy Project Engineer, Verena Zitterich.
“For the project to be economically feasible, we needed to bring together a number of interconnected components.”
The energy transition scaling up in Braunschweig
Produced through an environmentally friendly combination, heat and power are delivered to customers in Braunschweig through its central district heating network. More than 56,000 apartments in Braunschweig and numerous public facilities and companies are connected to the 250-kilometer pipeline network. The network ensures compliance for building owners with legal requirements for structural heat loss, renewable energy and primary energy requirements. Gradually since 2005, Veolia and the city of Braunschweig, which are both BS Energy shareholders, have been gaining small energy transition victories. They are already preparing new plans, such as connecting Hungerkamp to Braunschweig’s large district heating system and implementing an identical concept in the town of Springe, some 95 km away.
Connecting with customers
The Hungerkamp project began with the renovation of the local police station and its old coal- and oil-fired boiler plant. But solving the technical challenges of electricity generation was only one piece of the puzzle. “The economic success of the project hinged on ensuring the consumption of the heat that would be produced,” says Verena. A suitable location was identified for the plant near a high-density residential area with sufficient potential heating customers. Proximity, however, would prove to be only part of the equation. “Convincing the customers to sign long-term supply contracts wasn’t easy,” says Verena. “All had existing functional central heating boilers burning fossil fuel. We spent a considerable amount of time on communications to make sure they fully understood the project and its benefits in order to gain their acceptance.”
BS Energy 250,000 inhabitants kept warm!
A subsidiary company of Veolia in Germany, BS Energy is a regional producer of electricity and heat, as well as the district heating network operator for the city of Braunschweig. BS Energy supplies energy and infrastructure solutions to public and private customers throughout the Lower Saxony region, serving more than 250,000 citizens. Its services include low fixed-price basic energy supplies designed to be environmentally friendly. It provides electricity, gas and district heating as well as drinking water and wastewater treatment services. Other elements of its operations include powering city lighting and traffic lights and operating power networks for electricity, gas, water and glass fiber networks in new construction areas. Prior to the Hungerkamp project, the company implemented another biogas pilot project in 2006, building a 20-kilometer raw biogas pipeline from its biogas plant in Hillerse to its heating station in Braunschweig-Ölper.