This Wuppertal Paper addresses the following questions: How important are municipalities for the energy transition? What are the specific contributions of public utilities? This is especially important to note that local combined heat and power plants (CHP plants) are an important complement to the development of renewable energy sources and that municipal CHP systems now provide a significant contribution to ensuring the residual load. In addition, it comes to the main question, which make it difficult environment, the role of public utilities as key actors in the energy revolution, and especially as the operator of CHP plants.
Against the background of the problem outlined above and taking into account of the key questions this Wuppertal Paper covers the following five topics:
1. The complex and extremely dynamic regulatory framework for public utilities shows that constant adjustments are needed in order to be economically active for a long term.
2. Here, the importance of public utilities for municipal energy policy is worked out. The central prospects of energy efficiency, decentralized combined heat and power plants and renewable energy play an important role. On the one hand this is a reason for municipal decision-makers to increase remunicipalisation and on the other hand provides opportunities for public services to develop new business cases in the energy sector.
3. The energy-economic importance of public utilities is subsequently shown in relation to their decentralized and democratic legitimacy control as a municipal company. The rediscovery of the possibilities of local energy policy in Germany led to a veritable boom in establishing new public utilities. The reason for this is, that policy maker can use their own company to improve the possibilities on energy issues. The motives for the establishment of municipal utilities are primarily energy and climate policy and economic nature. So far, the importance of Cogeneration for climate protection and the success of the energy transition was paid too little attention. Therefore, it is also shown in this Wuppertal Paper that cogeneration play a complementary role with renewable energy and are an important component for the development of intelligent electicity networks. For municipal utilities aspects of the cogeneration expansion and load management also play an important economic perspective.
4. In an energy-economic problem outline of the economics of CHP, the current situation is represented in the field of power generation by conventional power plants in general and the CHP in particular. That the systemically important modern gas (thermal) power plants shall be in favor of environmentally harmful coal power plants increasingly from the network represents the main problem, which leads to the formulation of the nationwide need for political action in the last step.
5. Finally, the deduction of policy recommendations are formulated. In the interplay between the electricity market and the targets of the "German Energiewende" (energy transformation) it needs to be clarified which market structures promote the combined heat and power generation. To clarify individual problems and options for action, there are similar practices in many places.
Kurt Berlo, Oliver Wagner:
Die kommunale Kraft-Wärme-Kopplung im Spannungsfeld zwischen Strommarkt und Energiewende
Eine Analyse der Rahmenbedingungen für Stadtwerke zum Ausbau der Kraft-Wärme-Kopplung
Wuppertal Paper no. 188 (February 2015)