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How can I plan a sustainable heat supply in Germany?

Because heating and cooling account for more than half of Germany’s energy consumption, the energy transition can only succeed if it also includes a comprehensive heat transition plan. Flexible, highly efficient CHP (combined heat and power) systems make an important contribution to this. The second part of the INNIO Group’s white paper focuses on planning a sustainable heat supply using CHP. This is not only interesting for planners but also for anyone interested in sustainable CHP technology’s new mission

  • KWK WP 2 - Keyvisual

The heat transition presents numerous challenges in Germany including the phase-out of coal and nuclear power, the volatility of renewable energy (RE) sources, and a growing demand for electricity. At the same time, the infrastructure and points of use must be converted to RE sources. Highly efficient, flexible, and hydrogen-ready CHP systems can be an important contributor to the success of this complex undertaking.

To help planners in their decision-making as they develop – or convert to – a climate-friendly decentralized heat supply, the white paper initially provides an overview of the current regulatory framework for the use and promotion of CHP systems in Germany. The Heat Planning Act (Wärmeplanungsgesetz) was adopted in fall 2023 followed by the Renewable Energy Sources Act (Erneuerbare-Energien-Gesetz) and the CHP Act. This is followed in the white paper by a classification of CHP in the context of overall heat planning and by an answer to the question of how this technology also can be used in intelligent energy systems in the future. The paper specifically looks in detail at how CHP can work in combination with other technologies, particularly with heat storage units and heat pumps. This is the context in which sustainable CHP systems can develop their specific strengths as a key component of a secure and climate-friendly energy supply.


subsidy for the preparation
of a municipal heat plan

GAMOR in Saarbrücken saves
60,000 metric tons of CO2

with five J920s

overall efficiency

at B.E.N.E. in Möglingen
with CHP plant and large heat pumps


Heat-driven was yesterday - electricity market is today and tomorrow

In the past, CHP operations have been driven by heat, primarily supplying it to individual buildings or industrial plants, or feeding it into local and district heating networks. However, the systems’ future use lies in flexible, efficient operation driven by electricity and the electricity market. This is made possible with the inclusion of heat storage devices that store excess heat for later use.

Power-controlled operation in particular require comprehensive, intelligent energy management solutions to meet ever more complex requirements. Therefore, for a comprehensive sustainable heat solution, all participants in the planning process should consider CHP as part of a conglomerate of different technologies across all sectors. CHP technology can not only score points here with its flexible availability to cover the residual load but also through even higher revenue from electricity sales. Another important advantage of CHP systems is that they can be used in island mode in the event of a blackout.

To be able to fulfill their role in a completely decarbonized energy system, sustainable CHP plants also must be able to run on climate-neutral energy sources such as biogas, biomethane, hydrogen, and possibly ammonia. Fuel-flexible CHP plants offer a huge advantage here over many other technologies that can lead to stranded investments. Existing CHP plants can be converted to hydrogen today, offering plant operators a high degree of investment security

You can read all about this in detail here.

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