Interesting energy developments in Germany’s capital: even as cash-strapped cities and government agencies elsewhere in the world continue to sell off public assets to corporate owners, citizens in Berlin want to buy back the city’s power supply from Vattenfall.
As reported in Renewables International, the coalition that governs Berlin has decided to bring local electricity production back under local control … and to eventually transition to a 100-percent renewable supply of power. That proposal next goes to the city’s Senate for review.
The initiative is being driven by a group called BürgerEnergie Berlin (Citizens Energy Berlin), which wants to buy the city grid from Vattenfall and turn it into a citizen-controlled energy system.
“With the purchase of our current network, we are driving the democratization of the energy landscape so that we can co-decide (as) citizens about the future of energy,” the group states in its online FAQ.
The citizens group hopes to raise enough funds to cover 40 percent of the cost and finance the remainder through loans. It cites a report by the Berlin Senate Department of Economics that valued the local network at around €400 million.
Vattenfall, which purchased the system in 1997, says Berlin’s network is worth €3 billion.
While Vattenfall might not want to sell at the citizen-proposed price, its concession agreement with the city expires at the end of 2014. The Berlin Senate could then re-assign power grid operations to the organization of its choice, which could force Vattenfall to sell.