Veedel Energie: “Decentralised power for tenants” – from the community, for the community

Cologne’s largest municipal housing association, GAG Immobilien AG, is now a producer and vendor of electricity. Through “Veedel Energie” (Energy in the Community), it supplies its tenants with electricity that has been generated on site in cogeneration units and, where necessary, is topped up with certified green power. This cuts costs and up to 87 per cent of CO2 emissions.

For most inhabitants of Cologne, the “Veedel” (local community) is at the centre of their lives. Everyone knows each other and helps each other out – and now the electricity supply comes from the Veedel, too. In a pilot project in the Cologne neighbourhood of Longerich, GAG is taking an innovative approach and supplying the residents of a new, 72-home development with affordable electricity that it generates itself – so-called “Mieterstrom” (decentralised power for tenants). With only a tariff and an energy rate of 0.23 EUR/kWh, plus an annual standing charge of 99 euros to pay, “Veedel Energie” is a low-cost alternative for the tenants. In the pilot project alone, it has been possible to save up to 115 tonnes of CO2per year. This connects people and has great potential for the future.

Engine for progress:

  • property developer becomes producer and vendor of electricity
  • CO2 savings through efficient technology and green power
  • high potential for growth and wider use
  • financial benefit for operator and tenant

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Photo: GAG/Thilo Schmülgen 

This is where it started: in Cologne’s Longerich neighbourhood with older buildings (left) and new builds (right). GAG plans further expansion of “power for tenants” schemes.

95 per cent efficient thanks to cogeneration, green electricity bought when required

To produce electricity and heat, “Veedel Energie” uses cogeneration, or CHP, units, which run on natural gas and fit in the basement of GAG’s buildings. Thanks to their highly efficient cogeneration technology, which is up to 95 per cent efficient, the systems lose hardly any energy. This helps to conserve resources and cut costs, because certain elements of the electricity price, like the grid usage charge and electricity tax, are no longer payable. If at any point the amount of electricity generated is not sufficient, GAG meets the additional requirement through certified green power, 100 per cent of which is sourced from renewables.

Big network base, big CO2 savings potential for Cologne

“Veedel Energie” is planning for the long term. By 2018, GAG hopes to supply “power for tenants” to more than 1,200 residential units in its new developments. The housing company intends to use cogeneration in future, too. However, if the cost of photovoltaic systems continues to fall, climate-friendly solar power technologies may also be employed.

With a total of nearly 43,000 homes in its possession, GAG’s potential for making CO2 savings is enormous.

Photo: GAG/Thilo Schmülgen

“Being recognised as a pioneer project by KlimaExpo.NRW is valediction of GAG Immobilien AG’s position and our decision, in spite of current legal and bureaucratic obstacles, to bring our product Veedel Energie into as many homes as possible.”

Florian Ellenbürger, Project Manager, Energy Management

Partners and sponsors

  • GAG Immobilien AG
  • Rheinenergie
  • LichtBlick SE