City takes stock of public sector energy networks after ten years

Hamburg bought back networks in 2013 - buy-back benefits entire city and helps achieve climate goals
25 September 2023
Luftaufnahme Hamburgs mit Blick auf den Energieberg in Georgswerder

The City of Hamburg and urban companies have reviewed the return to public ownership of the local electricity, gas and district heating networks in Hamburg, which was approved by referendum in 2013. 

Buy-back enables benefits entire city

These companies' profits and added value benefit the entire city, according to Jens Kerstan, Senator for the Environment, "It is better for Hamburg to be in the driver's seat amid an energy crisis and climate change. Our strong municipal companies are well positioned and are at the forefront nationally," said Andreas Dressel, Senator for Finance. The investments of EUR 1.93 billion so far in the electricity, gas and district heating companies have been refinanced by about one third so far.  

Climate-friendly, economically sensible supplies

"Buying back the grids has paid off for Hamburg, its residents and the climate," said Christian Heine, spokesman for Hamburger Energiewerke (HEnW). "We have embarked on a sustainable and future-oriented course that keeps sight of the energy transition," added Andreas Cerbe, Managing Director of Stromnetz Hamburg (SNH). The challenge remains the electrification across all sectors. A future-proof grid infrastructure must be available to advance the long-term heat and mobility transition. "We view gas, electricity and heat as an integrated system that can create climate-friendly and economically sensible supplies for our city," said Michael Dammann, Technical Managing Director of Gasnetz Hamburg (GNH).

Urban companies driving energy transition

The buy-back has led to the start of a sustainable energy infrastructure and the expansion of renewable energies. Stromnetz Hamburg, for instance, has helped advance public charging stations for electro-mobility and onshore power connections for ships.  "We are working with energy companies on the heat transition and are pioneering the use of industrial waste heat, large-scale industrial heat pumps, power-to-heat plants and the district heating pipeline under the Elbe. We are also advancing the development of a hydrogen sector with the Green Hydrogen Hub Moorburg and the hydrogen industry network," said  Kerstan.