Berlin officially expresses interest in Vattenfall district heating
The state of Berlin has formally declared its interest in taking over Vattenfall's district heating business together with private partners.
For Berlin, it is also about the shares of the Swedish group in the Berlin energy supplier Gasag. The state has officially expressed its interest in the bidding process in a consortium with the companies Eon and Engie. This was announced by Berlin's Senator for Economics, Stephan Schwarz, and Finance Senator Daniel Wesener on Tuesday after the Senate meeting.
A non-binding first step
Wesener spoke of a - still non-binding - very first step in a "certainly longer process". A purchase price is not yet being discussed at this stage. Vattenfall wants to say goodbye to fossil fuels and is putting its district heating business in Berlin to the test. At the beginning of December, the group announced the start of the bidding process, at the end of which it will be decided whether to sell or retain the heating business with 1.3 million household customers. Decisions on this are expected in the course of the year.
Remunicipalization of the district heating network
Berlin had already declared in October that it wanted to seize the opportunity for at least a partial remunicipalization of the district heating network. The state's goal is to have more influence on the gas and district heating supply in the city and thus on shaping the energy transition away from fossil fuels. The Senate is seeking a majority stake in district heating and Gasag. According to Schwarz, the plan is for the state to take over Vattenfall's shares in Gasag, in which Eon and Engie already hold stakes. Gasag, in turn, would then take over district heating.
Public assistance, energy security and climate protection
Franziska Giffey (SPD), the Governing Mayor of Berlin, said that the project is about public services and energy security on the one hand, and climate protection on the other. Alongside transport and mobility, the heat supply in the city is an important factor in answering the question of when Berlin will become climate-neutral.
More pricing security for customers
Schwarz added that for consumers, remunicipalization would mean more security of supply and "a bit more price security. In order to achieve the transformation away from fossil fuels, all energy networks - including the power grid - must be thought together. A new Gasag could serve as a kind of platform.
Publication date: 18 January 2023
Last updated: 18 January 2023