Politics & energy revolution

Getting energy from wastewater is nearly unknown. The legal framework for the heating market (e.g. German EEWärmeG, EnEV, etc.) has so far not recognized wastewater as a source of energy. This has led to the slow development of wastewater energy projects. According to current legislation, new construction in Germany must show a certain Renewable Energy portion in its heating supply; the use of Renewable Energy in heat supply is promoted through incentives. The following is true of energy from wastewater: Because it is neither named nor known as an option, its use is hard to market or implement.

Example: To check the use of energy from wastewater in a building, three pieces of information are needed:

  • Is there a sewer in the area of the building?
  • What minimum amount of wastewater flows through this sewer?
  • What minimum temperature does the wastewater have?

On the basis of this information, the costs for energy generation from wastewater can be calculated and thus compared with other technologies. But, because wastewater heat is not named as an option by lawmakers, there is great uncertainty and hesitation on the part of sewer network operators, who would be able to give information about sewers, wastewater amounts, and temperatures, as well as for customers, who cannot find this option in any legal specifications or in a support program. This has to change now so that energy from wastewater can enter in as an energy option equal in competition with other climate protection options.

So, what can politics do to facilitate the entrance into the market of energy from wastewater?

  • Equality of energy from wastewater with geothermal energy and environmental heat as Renewable Energy in analogy with the EU law (see RED II)
  • Anchoring in support program for portfolio (e.g. German MAP, APEE) as Renewable Energy together with geothermal energy and environmental heat
  • Creation of potential atlases similar to wind energy and information campaigns or consideration in studies
  • Alleviation of electricity prices / Introduction of a carbon price