Berlin Panorama

Source: Vattenfall

Future Connect North West

Key project for Berlin’s coal phase-out and the path to climate-neutrality

Project goals

Vattenfall and ONTRAS have set themselves the goal of phasing out coal by 2030 and additionally supplying their customers with climate-neutral energy by 2040+. The project Future Connect North West (Zukunftsnetz Nordwest) is making an important contribution to this by gradually providing the necessary infrastructure to enable the supply with climate-friendly energy sources.

On the way to climate-neutrality, this project enables to achieve the following goals:
  • Coal phase-out by 2030 which requires an adequate gas supply in addition to the use of other green energy sources
  • Step-by-step phase-in of climate-neutral hydrogen by 2030+
  • Climate neutrality by 2040+

Climate-neutral heat supply

For Berlin's coal phase-out and a sustainable district heating supply, the construction of a gas grid infrastructure in the north-west of Berlin is particularly time-critical. In order to achieve a climate-neutral heating supply by 2040+, the aim is to supply the combined heat and power (CHP) plant at Reuter West in Berlin with climate-friendly gas-based energy sources. This new infrastructure is planned to provide climate-neutral hydrogen in the future. In this way, the project partners will secure the heat supply of the capital and make a significant contribution to reducing CO2 emissions.

The project

The Future Connect North West project is being realised in a joint partnership of Vattenfall and ONTRAS. Together, these companies are planning to connect Berlin’s north-west to the nearest supra-regional gas transmission grid. 

Key project for Berlin’s coal phase-out and the path to climate-neutrality

Taking into account the existing bases of data, the routing represents all possible route alignments at the current planning status. 

Based on the alternative routes, possible corridors were defined for the regional planning procedure (Raumordnungsverfahren). This procedure was completed on May 11, 2022, with the regional planning assessment (Landesplanerische Beurteilung). According to the results of the regional planning procedure, spatial compatibility can be achieved for the planned different pipeline routes by implementing specified measures.

Currently, the route planning is being concretized, taking into account the regional planning assessment, statements received from the public, and further assessments and consultations. As a next step, the project will be prepared for the planning approval procedure (Planfeststellungsverfahren).

The detailed planning and assessment will not be finalized until after the planning approval procedure.

Climate-neutral hydrogen

Climate-neutral hydrogen is an important module for securing and - at the same time - decarbonising Berlin’s electricity and district heating supplies. ONTRAS is planning the supra-regional transport of 100 % hydrogen by realising the European Hydrogen Backbone. Vattenfall and ONTRAS want to jointly facilitate regional hydrogen transport by installing the Future Connect North West and connecting Berlin to the European Hydrogen Backbone. In this way, it will be able to transport 100 % hydrogen to the CHP Reuter West.

Planning of the Routing

Especially based of the following criteria, possible routes were elaborated by the project partners within the completed regional planning procedure (Raumordnungsverfahren) to link up with the supra-regional gas pipeline network:

  • Geographically suitable connection points to the nearest pipeline of the supra-regional transmission grid in Brandenburg's Wustermark, Schönwalde-Glien or Hennigsdorf
  • The shortest, most environmentally-friendly and least impacting connection to the CHP Reuter West

The next steps

The regional planning procedure (Raumordnungsverfahren) was completed on 11.05.2022 with the regional planning assessment (Landesplanerische Beurteilung).

Next, the project will be prepared for the planning approval procedure (Planfeststellungsverfahren), which then will be finished with the final planning approval in 2024. 

In parallel to the planning approval procedure, the detailed engineering for the construction will be carried out. The goal is to complete construction of the pipeline infrastructure by 2026.

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