Energy in Hamburg

Hamburg has fast become a forerunner for renewable energy and sustainable urban development


January 12, 2017


The Energieberg provides some of the best views of Hamburg


Since 2011, Hamburg has been ambitious as regards its climate protection goals, aiming to halve its carbon emissions by 2030. This is combined with its efforts in the Climate Master Plan, a national plan to reduce CO2 emissions by 40% by 2020, and by 80% by 2050. This will be done through a series of sustainable projects being undertaken throughout the city; a massive increase in green spaces, with more accessibility for cyclists, in an attempt to reduce the number of cars on the roads. Extensive parts of the city are being redeveloped with new homes and jobs being created; all of which are to be fuelled using sustainable energy sources. By 2030 the state administration will be mostly carbon neutral, and there will be more electric vehicles owned by the state. The underground and suburban railways will all be electric, and there will be more low-emission buses. To ensure the Hamburg community continues along this environmentally-friendly path, educational measures in schools aim to encourage young people to contribute to climate protection.


The Ministry for Environment and Energy are investing €3 million by 2019 in Germany’s first Green Roof Strategy. The plan is to create 100 hectares of green roofs by 2020. 44 of these will be on residential buildings, and 66 on commercial properties. These green roofs offer excellent natural insulation, as well as being low-maintenance, and they will be more durable than conventional flat roofs. Of course, this means that costs are reduced. So what are the incentives for the owners of buildings? Well, they can receive a grant of up to 60% of the installation costs, meaning that not only is this project financially beneficial for individuals in the long run, but it is also a sustainable solution to environmental problems which need to be addressed head-on with immediate effect.




From toxic waste dump to sustainable Georgswerder Energy Hill

IMAGE: / Roberto Kai Hegeler

Hamburg is taking big steps to start supplying the city with renewable energy. As part of the IBA, Hamburg has created Energy Hill. On a grassy hill, built over a landfill site stands a large wind turbine, built in 2011 to complement the older ones built in the 1990s. Since then, there have been further construction projects which now make the most of the hill and the energy it offers.


Natural decomposition inside the hill produces gases that are used to supply nearby companies, and a heat pump supplies the operations building and information centre with space heating. This project, in particular, is an exceptional demonstration to the rest of the country, and the international community, of how it is possible to turn contaminated sites into financially and environmentally beneficial areas.


Many of Hamburg’s projects involve adapting already existing spaces, such as the Wilhelmsburg’s air raid bunker. Hamburg is once again leading the way in showing other cities and countries that it is possible to utilise existing infrastructure to develop effective environmental projects. This bunker, built in 1943, has been converted into a power plant that uses renewable energy. With a combination of solar power, biogas, wood chips and waste heat from an industrial plant, the Energy Bunker project will supply the entire Reiherstieg district with heat. It will also feed power into the electricity grid. This project alone will save 6600 tonnes of carbon per year and should, hopefully, inspire other cities to fund similar kinds of projects. Visitors to this monument can enjoy a coffee at the café on the roof of the bunker and take in the impressive views of the city. It is hoped that this will not only encourage visitors to the Energy Bunker, but also educate the public about sustainable projects like these.


Hamburg is also home to Europe’s largest inner-city development project, HafenCity. An area around the Elbe is being completely redeveloped. New homes and business premises are being built, and, of course, the leisure and tourist industries will not be forgotten in the redevelopment plans. Almost the entire area will be raised on wharfs 8-9 metres above sea level. There will be access to the water but the buildings will be protected from the risks of flooding. The plan is to increase housing from 5500 to 6-7000, and to create 5000 more jobs; mostly in the hospitality, leisure and retail industries. 28 hectares of open space will make HafenCity an accessible area, and hopefully more people will be encouraged to walk around the city.


One of Hamburg’s most ambitious projects is the NEW 4.0 (Northern German Energy Transition). The ultimate aim of this project is to provide 4.5 million residents in northern Germany with renewable energy sources and to showcase to Germany and to the rest of Europe what can be achieved with renewable energy and smart planning. This joint venture involving more than 50 partners from across the region is really set to rock the fourth industrial revolution and showcase Cyber Physical Systems at the very highest levels of operation.





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