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Mayors’ Voices: Munich Mayor Hep Monatzeder

Munich recently won the Green Energy category at the inaugural C40 & Siemens City Climate Leadership Awards. Here Mayor Monatzeder highlights Munich’s green energy initiatives as well as the city’s comprehensive policy to mitigate climate change.

100% Green Energy for a ‘big’ city – is that possible? Yes, we are getting there.

In 2009 the City of Munich set sail for a quantum leap: to supply the entire municipality with electricity from 100 percent renewables by 2025. In cooperation with the city-owned utility company Stadtwerke Muenchen (SWM), Munich is aiming to produce enough green electricity in its own plants by 2025 to meet the complete demand of the municipality — at least 7.5 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) per year. This will make Munich the first megacity worldwide to achieve such an ambitious target.

Accordingly, SWM launched the Renewable Energies Expansion Campaign with investments adding up to a total of €9 billion. When all projects currently in progress will be completed in 2014, SWM will produce 2.8 billion kWh of green electricity utilizing wind, water, geothermal, solar and biomass power. That already equates to 37 percent of Munich’s power consumption and will exceed the intermediate target to supply all of Munich’s 800,000 households with renewable energy by 2015.

Munich Mayor On Bike

As part of the overall plan, the SWM has recently established a virtual power plant – a decentralized network of small-scale energy plants and large industrial consumers which is pooled and operated like a single system. The plant allows for intelligent planning and precise forecast of loads within the system, which is predominantly running on renewable energy. The facilities have a combined output of 80 MW.

In the long run, the SWM is pursuing a vision to produce district heat exclusively from renewable energy sources including geothermal energy and biogas until 2040. Currently, district heat is generated in highly efficient co-generation power plants using fossil fuels.

Besides energy production our policy to mitigate climate change addresses all other sectors: industry, trade and services, private households, transportation and the activities of the city administration itself. Hence, we support companies and households when they save energy, increase their energy efficiency, and are willing to use renewable energies. In that regard we provide information, consultancy and subsidies.

Environmental protection and sustainable development have a long tradition as high priority issues in Munich. As early as at the end of the 19th century, Munich introduced an exceptional water supply system from the Alpine region, which is still in place and built a sewage system to prevent diseases and the risk of epidemics. Furthermore, Munich was the first German community to establish a municipal department for environmental protection.

We also try to integrate sustainability into all areas of our policy: fiscal policy, economic and social policy, environmental policy and city planning. The overall concept for Munich’s sustainable spatial development follows the keywords “compact, urban, green” and demands to manage and use land more efficiently and to focus on the reduction of traffic. Apart from the latter efforts, Munich gives priority to public transport and the promotion of walking and cycling.

Finally, we are promoting principles of fair trade in our procurement policy. Munich was the first city in Germany to ban products that involve child labour. Furthermore Munich and SWM are supporting organic farming at home and abroad.

To find out more about Munich’s commitment to environmental and sustainable development initiatives, click here for energy initiatives, and here for sustainable business development.

This is the third in a series of 10 posts highlighting the winners of the C40 & Siemens City Climate Leadership Awards. Click here to read more about the Awards and the 2013 Winners.