CITy VOICES: Ludwigshafen

Interview with Klaus Dillinger, deputy mayor for Building, Environment and Transport in the city of Ludwigshafen, Germany

What are the latest energy efficient initiatives and smart city highlights Ludwigshafen would like to share with the CITyFiED community? 
At the moment Ludwigshafen is applying for funds from the state-owned KfW banking group promotional programme "Energy Redevelopment – Energy-efficient Urban Refurbishment“.  With this programme "Energy Redevelopment" we are expanding the planning basis of the urban redevelopment process from individual buildings to whole quarters. The reason is that we urgently need to improve the energy efficiency not just of buildings but of our municipality as well. In order to achieve the goals of climate protection we focus on urban quarters as a whole. The KfW programme supplies the development of a future-proof model for energy-oriented city refurbishment. Apart from refurbishment of buildings this includes issues such as expanding the long-distance heating network, expansion of solar energy and so forth, yet also the questions of climate change adaption.  Adaptation measures to the unavoidable climate change have to fit to regional characteristics. The objective will be to maximize existing opportunities to improve the immediate environment of residential buildings, e.g. by means of de-sealing, courtyard and building plantings, renaturation and traffic calming. The main focus will be on providing capacities for water retention in case of heavy rain. Here our municipality is simultaneously working on developing a flooding prevention plan.

The KfW programme funds the conception of such measures. In a second step the employment of redevelopment managers is funded for 3 up to 5 years.

This pilot project is being supported by the University of Speyer. The Rhineland-Palatinate Centre of Excellence for Climate Change Impacts will be involved where climate change adaption is concerned Furthermore it is envisaged to integrate the project in the EU funded CAN-Project (Climate Active Neighbourhoods)

Which part of your energy efficiency and smart city strategies has been the most challenging to deliver to date?
To reach our climate protection goals we need to increase the rate of urban refurbishing from approximately 1 % per year to at least 2-3 % per year. Since most buildings are in private ownership we cannot directly affect their retrofitting. The main share of German promotion funds are promotional programmes from the KfW banking group. These grant loans to favourable conditions for energy efficient renovation projects. However, the present low interest rate level has a positive effect on “normal” loans, which makes at the same time KfW loans less attractive. Furthermore, currently low energy prices have a direct influence on the energy efficiency goals of a renovation project and its amortization time. Additionally many owners are of old age and doubt that that they´ll live to see the amortization of their investments. So all in all the fiscal stimulus has declined.

As a municipality with significant debts Ludwigshafen doesn´t have the means to provide additional funding. When it comes to implementing the other energy efficiency goals the real challenge is to identify the projects with the best cost-benefit-calculation and focus on those first.

Do you see disruptive technologies, services or human behaviours on the horizon that might affect or enhance your future plans?
A major challenge regarding energy system transition in Germany is storage technology for RES. New technologies such as power to gas are only in the launch or even testing stage. Batteries are still too expensive for the average household.  Once these obstacles are overcome, transition could be enhanced.

Another important issue is mobility. Combustion engines still are mainly unchanged.   Electric and Hydrogen will play an important role - if technical, consumer and infrastructure challenges can be overcome.

Moderated by : Sylvain Bosquet

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