Monday, December 21, 2009

Sustainable energy provision for the city of Hamburg Germany

Dear Colleagues

Your writer is in Hamburg Germany for next two weeks. within his humble capacity he tried to bring together an overview of Energy Generation in Hamburg and environment. Below article is collected from Vattenfall internet site press releases.

The Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg played a major role in establishing Vattenfall Europe as Germany’s third-largest producer of electricity and the largest supplier of district heat. Today, Hamburg and Berlin are the main centres of Vattenfall’s German business activities.

Vattenfall opened a representative office in Hamburg in 1996, two years before the German electricity market was deregulated, and began working in the German market. Through the next few years Vattenfall acquired HEW, and from that base went on to establish Vattenfall Europe as a major German energy company.

Today, Vattenfall produces electricity and heat for the industry and citizens of Hamburg, operating both the local electricity distribution network and the large district heating grid. Hamburg is also the centre of the Vattenfall group’s strategically important energy trading unit.

Sustainable development

Vattenfall’s task as an energy company is to provide its customers with energy; but we also see our role from a broader perspective. All energy generation has an impact on the environment and the operations we conduct have a major impact on society – globally, regionally and locally. Vattenfall supports sustainable development in society by managing the balance between secure energy supply and environmental and social consequences in a responsible way.

Vattenfall’s goal is to be a climate neutral company by 2050. For 2030 the target is to halve our CO2 emissions per kWh from energy generation compared with 1990. In order to achieve those goals, CO2 emissions from existing operations must be reduced while generation of electricity with very low CO2 emissions is being dramatically increased. The new electricity generation capacity needed to realise the climate vision will be derived from three sources: renewable energy (such as wind power, bio energy, ocean energy), coal power using the new CCS technology, and nuclear power.

Renewable energy

Waste incineration has delivered steam to the district heating system in Hamburg since 1931 and in 1953 a consortium in which HEW was a member initiated an early wind power testing plant. Today, Vattenfall is in the vanguard in the development of applications for new technologies based on biomass, wind and hydro power.

In Hamburg, the authorities have been faced with the problem of handling waste and sewage sludge from the city’s 1.7 million inhabitants along with waste from the city’s industries. The city also had to deal with the problem of having a high amount of unused and treated wood. In the search for a complete solution with broad and high social acceptance, located close to the city, the city came across a solution from Vattenfall.

Commissioned by the city of Hamburg, Vattenfall Europe (under the aegis of Vattenfall Europe Waste to Energy, formerly HEW Entsorgung) built two incineration plants in accordance with the highest environmental standards to handle waste and a sewage sludge and digester gas plant to handle sewage.

The last of the city’s problems – the large amount of contaminated wood – called for a biomass solution. In the vicinity of Hamburg’s harbour, Vattenfall designed and built a waste-to-energy facility on the site of the Müllverwertung Borsigstraße waste incineration plant. The biomass plant has a capacity to produce 80 MW heat and 20 MW electricity based on recycled wood, and can also handle treated wood.

Combined heat and power (CHP) plants, that is, plants that co-produce heat and electricity, preserve energy resources by using the fuel in a most efficient way and thereby decrease emissions per produced kilowatt hour. Up to 90 per cent fuel utilisation can be reached.

Hamburg’s currently largest CHP plant is Tiefstack with its recent addition, the new gas and steam plant (180 MW heat; 125 MW electricity). Biofuel or waste fuelled CHP plants in the Hamburg area also include Rugenberger Damm (70 MW heat; 7 MW electricity) and VERA (10 MW heat; 8 MW electricity).

Wind power
Powerfully investing in renewable energy production, Vattenfall has positioned itself as one of Europe’s leading generators of wind power, both offshore and onshore.

Its German wind power projects include the construction, jointly with other companies, of the “alpha ventus” offshore wind farm 45 kilometres off the coast of Borkum, the “DanTysk” project, with 80 five-megawatt wind power units 65 kilometres off the island of Sylt, and the “Borkum Riffgrund” offshore wind farm together with the Danish company Dong Energy.

On land, Vattenfall is cooperating with partners in replacing first generation wind power machines with more modern and higher capacity ones in already existing units, mainly in Schleswig-Holstein and Brandenburg.

Fuel cells
Fuel cells is another technology that may play an important role in the future. Vattenfall started early to test and evaluate stationary fuel cells for small combined heat and power plants, including a large (220 kWel/170 kWth) state-of-the-art fuel cell in Berlin, followed by a similar test in Hamburg. These fuel cells showed a high electrical efficiency, good heat utilisation and high availability and reliability levels. However, before a broad market introduction is possible, plant lifetime has to be higher and investment cost lower.

Coal remains essential
Renewable energy sources alone, however, cannot provide enough energy to cover the needs of society. Coal and nuclear power remain essential to cover the total need for electricity and heat. Germany’s decision to withdraw from nuclear power makes coal an even more essential source of base load power.

Vattenfall’s opinion is that coal is needed, but carbon dioxide emissions must be drastically reduced through continuously increasing the power plants’ degree of efficiency and utilising the new CCS (carbon capture and storage) technology as soon as it becomes mature enough. When CCS technology is ready for commercial use, CO2 emissions from coal-fired generation will be radically reduced.

One of the world’s most modern and efficient power plants for the supply of electricity and district heat (1600 MWe) is currently being built in Hamburg-Moorburg. It will replace the existing power plant in Hamburg-Wedel, which was built in 1962 and is planned to be shut down in 2013. Hamburg then needs a new base for its electricity and heat supply to secure energy supply for its citizens as well as for already established major industries and the city’s ability to attract new business.

Located on the Elbe River on a site that has been used for electricity generation since 1974, the Moorburg 1640 MWe coal-fired plant will make use of the latest available technology in its construction.

This new units A and B of the Hamburg Moorburg power plant will have an electrical output of 2 x 820 MW and will achieve an efficiency of 60 % at maximum district heat extraction.

Once in operation, the plant will meet roughly 85% of Hamburg’s electricity needs and 40% of its district heating needs. The plant is designed to incorporate CCS technology in the future.

Nuclear power plants

Vattenfall’s nuclear power plants Brunsbüttel and Krümmel have remained offline following scrams in 2007. The reasons for the scrams were remedied the same year, but as a result of time consuming refurbishments and modernization work as well as new demands that have been raised, Brunsbüttel has not yet been restarted. Krümmel was restarted in June 2009, but a new fault occurred in one of the two transformers that transmit the electricity from the plant on to the grid. Power production in Krümmel will now remain halted until both transformers have been replaced with new ones.

Such mishaps are, of course, most unfortunate. However, Vattenfall believes that nuclear power is needed as a stable base power source and calls for expansion of total nuclear power generation in markets where there is confidence in this source of energy. In Germany Vattenfall will utilise the production volume guaranteed by law for its present nuclear power plants.

Security always has top priority in Vattenfall’s nuclear power plants and our ambition is to secure world-class nuclear safety.

Centre of Trading

A growing share of Europe’s electricity trading is conducted on electricity exchanges, where producers, retailers, major industrial companies and financial players operate. Trading is conducted either through direct delivery on the spot market, or for future delivery in the futures market. The Nordic electricity exchange, Nord Pool, and the European Energy Exchange (EEX) in Germany are clearly the largest exchanges in terms of volume and the number of market participants.

Vattenfall Energy Trading in Hamburg is the most diverse company in the organisation with more than 20 nationalities. The company operates in the international energy markets in order to balance supply and demand, mitigate market risks, and fulfil the targets for sustainable energy. Electricity trading is a major activity, but the company trades the whole range of energy products such as gas, coal, oil, carbon emissions or renewable energy.

The trading unit utilises market-based solutions in order to reduce CO2 emissions and to strengthen renewable energies – in a cost-efficiently way and on a pan-European basis. It has a key role in securing the financial stability and profitability that constitute the basis for Vattenfall’s services to its customers.

Nature conservation projects

Finally, it may be worth mentioning that Vattenfall’s environmental foundation since many years provides considerable support for a great number of nature conservation projects in and around Hamburg. Many of these projects include environment education for children in conurbation areas to acquaint them with nature.

Your comments are always welcome.

Haluk Direskeneli, Hamburg based Energy Analyst for next two weeks


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