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Top Ten Highlights of Cleantech in Munich, Germany

In the last 15 years, Munich, the Bavarian capital of Germany, has managed to decrease its total residual waste volume, to 500,000 tons from 1.2 million tons. The goal of the city is to supply all private households with 100 percent renewable energy by the year 2015. Munich has been named Germany’s “Energy Saving Municipality” and the steps that it has taken in clean technologies have definitely showcased this fact. Below are just a few of the highlights of Munich’s cleantech sector.

1) WIP. WIP is one of Munich’s premier organizations that “plans, develops, realizes, and monitors systems and installations in the field of renewable energy technologies and environmental engineering.” They provide solutions in numerous fields, including wind energy, PV solar energy, biomass energy, building-related energy issues, environmental planning and urban energy, and desalination and water provision. It is the belief of WIP that renewable energy will assist towards the commitment of the Millennium Development Goals as it reduces poverty, provides health care access and enables education.

2) Munich Re Report on Growth in Renewable Energy. According to Munich Re’s end of 2010 report, “renewable energies are gaining in significance.” The cleantech sector has not only provided cleaner power generation, but also an influx of new employment opportunities. By the end of 2009, according to the report, over 300,000 individuals were involves in the renewable energy sector. Ludger Arnoldussen, Munich Re Board of Management, member stated, “We are excellently equipped to support the structural transformation of the energy supply sector by offering customized risk transfer products. Our spectrum ranges from traditional coverage for industrial facilities to complex solutions, such as performance guarantee covers enabling capital providers to reduce their investment risks.

3) Insurance4Renewables. Launched by RSA, Munich RE, and CarbonRe, Insurance4Renewables a global renewable energy insurance company that offers tailor-made products for renewable energy projects, as well as “support the development of insurance solutions that meet the requirements of renewable energy projects operating in developing countries where often the lack of data provides a barrier to insurers who aim to underwrite a number of renewable energy risks.”

4) European Solar Prize 2010. In 2010, Qatar was one of the winners of the 2010 European Solar Prize because of its determination and goals. The Munich City Utilities (SWM), made the aim to generate adequate amount of green power that would supply energy to more than 800,000 private households by the year 2015. Not only that but there is a biogas factory located at the Munich Zoo, wind turbines located in the city’s north sector, and numerous photovoltaic installations.

5) Green Electricity from Biowaste. Munich Waste Management Company has found ways to turn garden and kitchen waste into environmentally-friendly energy. The company has used new technologies, namely the method of dry fermentation, “while accounting for the principles of sustainable management and practicing regional recycling management with a high value-adding chair. This is an essential contribution to protecting our climate and conserving resources.” Dry fermentation technology complies with the sustainable, modern waste management. More than 25,000 tons of waste is utilized and it provides 3,780,000 kilowatt hours of electricity, which can feed 1,600 households annually.

6) Bringing Solar innovations to the United States. An international trading group in Munich, BayWa AG, is entering the United States Market. It bought 80 percent of stock from Focused Energy, which is a premium provider of photovoltaic system integration. “This is an important acquisition for us, since it allows BayWa to make a successful entry into the high-growth American PV market. The acquisition represents a further important step towards the consistent implementation of our growth strategy in the renewable energies area,” commented BayWa AG CEO, Klaus Josef Lutz. Lutz also stated that it enabled the company to get closer to the goal of generating one million EUR in revenue in the renewable energy area. “BayWa r.e is expanding its international presence in wholesale PV trading through this acquisition, and is thereby establishing access to one of the most attractive growth markets outside Europe,” emphasized Roland Schuler, BayWa Management Board member and Managing Director of BayWa r.e.

7) Munich’s Environmental Vision if they become Host of 2018 Olympics. Munich is vying to be the venue for the 2018 olympics. If they receive the bid, they want to showcase the environmental, economic, and social sustainability of not just the city but all of Germany. According to the official website for Munich’s bid, “Comprehensive environmental projects have been developed in alignment with the sustainability strategies of Munich, Bavaria, and Germany. Among the programs in planning are 18 flagship projects.” These projects include ones to showcase climate protection, natural environment, regional development and sustainable sports, and education and sustainable development.

8 ) SWM and Increase in Green Energy. SWM, a German public company, has the objective of environment protection and green energy. This company has been one of the forerunners of a completely green Munich by 2015. According to one press release for SWM, “The objective is double : supply at first with green electricity the 800 000 homes of Munich by 2015 (that is approximately 2 billion kilowatt‐hours a year) with its own power plants, then the whole city by 2025 (7 billion kWh). To reach this target, SWM will use all the possible sources of green energy: solar, wind, biomass, geothermal and hydraulics. Estimated total investment: 9 billion Euros, with local, national and European helps. “

9) Partnership between Sweden and Germany for Wind Energy. Two of the biggest cleantech players, Germany and Sweden are partnering up – Vattenfall, a Swedish renewable energy company, partnered with SWM to assist in the building of a extremely large offshore wind farm in the German North Sea. The project will cost more than one billion Euros and provide enough energy to feed 500,000 Munich homes. The project will begin in 2012 and will be finished by 2014.

10) InterSolar Expo. Insolar Expo is the largest European international trade fair showcasing solar technology. The main focuses are on solar architecture, photovoltaics, and solar thermal technology. It is the only solar technology fair in Europe that is recognized as an international trade fair by the World Organization for Trade Fairs and Exhibitions and the German Trade Fair Industry Association. Held in Munich every year, visitors include CEOs, engineers and consultants, policy makers, project developers, technical managers, regulatory bodies, research and development personnel, and safety managers. Many exhibits include information on conventional and non-conventional clean, renewable, and green energies, distribution and conservation systems, waste management systems, and environment monitoring.

Article by Shawn Lesser, president and founder of Atlanta-based Sustainable World Capital, which is focused on fund-raising for private equity cleantech/sustainable funds, as well as private cleantech companies and M&A. He is also a co- founder of the GCCA Global Cleantech Cluster Association, and can be reached at

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One comment on “Top Ten Highlights of Cleantech in Munich, Germany

Not to forget, the Munich Network ( ), founded by Curt Winnen, organizing a regular Cleantech Eve networking event, and two Cleantech Conferences per year.

Also, Munich is a center of German Venture Capital, with the largest funds all in walking distance from each other: Earlybird Venture Capital, Wellington Partners, and Target Partners.

The Munich business plan competition ( ) is the largest of its kind in Germany.

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