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An entire district in the German city of Braunschweig uses renewable energy for its lighting and heating. This is energy transition made possible by a cogeneration plant installed by Veolia.

The project began when it became necessary to replace the old oil- and coal-fired boiler in the police station in the district of Gliesmarode. Braunschweig municipality seized on the opportunity to develop a comprehensive district lighting and heating network powered by renewable energy.

Project Hungerkamp was entrusted to BS|ENERGY, a Veolia subsidiary in Germany. It was set up in 2013 with the aim of replacing the 34 coal and oil burners. The complex comprises three complementary installations: a cogeneration plant, a wood-fired boiler and a natural gas-fired boiler. The cogeneration plant generates low-carbon electricity from biogas from decomposing waste. The biogas is then used to fuel a generator that produces electricity. The wood-fired boiler operates from October to March, providing additional heat during the coldest months of the year. BS|ENERGY minimized the environmental impact by filtering and purifying exhaust gases generated during combustion and using the wood ash as fertilizer. The gas-fired boiler is used only when needed to provide peak-load capacity or when one of the other two boilers is undergoing maintenance.

Renewable energy production from Hungerkamp provides electricity and heating to over 2,000 local households and avoids emission of 8,000 metric tons of CO2 a year. In 2015, the plant’s innovative and environmentally responsible concept was awarded the international Global District Energy Climate Award by Euroheat & Power, a pan-European association. This is a model of successful energy transition for Europe.