09 Jun 2023, 14:00
Benjamin Wehrmann

“Unique” French-German district heating project to connect grids across Rhine River

Clean Energy Wire

The French city of Strasbourg and the German town of Kehl, which are located on opposite sides of the river Rhine, are planning to connect their heating systems in a cross-border district heating project. The joint grid will have a length of about 4.5 kilometres and use excess heat from a steel plant on the German side to provide heat for the entire border region, the city of Kehl announced. The project that is “unique in Europe” should be operational by 2027. In its first stage, it will supply about 7,000 households in Strasbourg with district heating, before more households, businesses and other buildings in Kehl are connected in a second stage. The joint operating company dubbed ‘Calorie’ will be primarily owned by the much larger city of Strasbourg, which also hosts the European Parliament, and borders the German state of Baden-Wurttemberg. Thekla Walker, minister for energy and the environment in Baden-Wurttemberg, said “the climate crisis does not care about national borders. That’s why we have invest into every potential avenue for a climate-friendly and secure energy supply – also across borders.” The project will cost about 40 million euros and is planned to include a tunnel that connects the two countries beneath the river Rhine.

District heating is regarded as a key technology for enabling the decarbonisation of the heating sector and can be done with excess heat from industry and other energy sources, including renewable power installations. Cross-border cooperation on regional and national energy and climate action projects is playing an increasingly important role in European efforts to reach international climate targets.

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