Munich, Germany’s third largest city, is making significant progress in decarbonizing its power, with renewables expected to provide for 90% of the city's energy by 2022. The city estimates it is on track to meet its target of meeting all its energy demand with green electricity by 2025.
In and around Munich, the municipal utility Stadtwerke Muenchen (SWM) operates about 60 renewable energy facilities that generate roughly 6.3 billion kWh of electricity, including solar, wind, geothermal, hydropower and biomass plant. This will cover 90% of the city's power needs, including all trams, e-buses, and subway operations.
According to SWM's chief executive Florian Bieberbach, covering the remaining 10% of the mix with green power would take a lot of efforts because demand for electricity is likely to grow due to the expansion of e-mobility and the increasing use of heat pumps.
Munich's energy transformation began in 2009, when the municipal decided to phase out conventional power sources and expand renewable energy. The shutdown of the coal-fired cogeneration facility Nord Block 2 is an important component of SWM's climate protection policy, but it poses a dilemma since it cannot be turned off without an alternative. To accomplish the transition, the utility is currently considering converting the plant to run on natural gas beginning in the 2022/23 heating season as a transitional phase, with the plant eventually being powered by hydrogen or geothermal energy.
Additionally, SWM is retiring the oil business. Spirit Energy, in which SWM and Bayerngas own a combined 31% stake, sold its gas and oil fields in Norway and the United Kingdom last year, slashing its oil exploration operations by 95%. The remaining natural gas production will be phased out over the next five to ten years.