First guarantees of origin for green district heating

Created date

06 09 2022

The first almost 1,500 heat certificates of origin for green district heating were issued for the heat from the biomethane cogeneration plant in the Hamburg-Wilhelmsburg energy bunker.

With the issuance of the first 1,500 certificates (HKN), the pilot certificate of origin register (Pilot-Herkunftsnachweisregister) for green district heating has gone into operation.

Hamburger Energiewerke uses the certified heat quantities from its biomethane CHP for a decentralised local heating network. The register was developed by the Hamburg Institute as part of the research project "IW3 - Integrated Heat Turnaround Wilhelmsburg". It is being technically implemented in cooperation with the Finnish EEX subsidiary Grexel.

"What has long been established in the electricity sector, we are now also testing in the heating market, which opens up new marketing opportunities," Alexandra Styles, who is coordinating the project at the Hamburg Institute, explained.

"For us as a municipal energy supplier, such a register will make a valuable contribution to developing new products for our customers and further advancing the heat transition," Burkhard Warmuth, Head of Strategy at Hamburger Energiewerke, commented.

In Germany, district heating networks are greening only slowly, and many utilities still have a renewables quota of less than ten per cent. With the introduction of HKN, heat quantities from renewable energies or waste heat in particular can be allocated to individual customers. In this way, the IW3 heat register enables producers and heat suppliers to launch specific products for industrial companies, the housing industry or private customers, for example. The first almost 1,500 heat certificates of origin, each with a unit of one MWh, were issued for the months of May to July. In the next phase, the pilot operation can be extended to other Hamburg heating network operators and heat producers. Revenues from marketing should facilitate the refinancing of green heat projects in the future.

Impetus for national verification system

During the development, the Hamburg Institute worked out the main differences to the established HKN system in the electricity sector. This included the fundamental decision to only allow HKNs for heat labelling that originate from a technically connected heat supply system. "Our goal is to go through a full heat labelling year in 2023," Styles explained.

In addition, the register can set an important course for the implementation of Article 19 of the Renewable Energies Directive RED II in Germany. In addition to electricity, this requires EU member states to have verification systems for gases such as biomethane and hydrogen, as well as heating and cooling from renewable energy sources. A first draft bill was published by the Federal Ministry of Economics in mid-August 2022. Experiences from the design and operation of the IW3 pilot register can be incorporated into the national implementation process, it was said from Hamburg.