Research network ENsource offers impulses to the communes regarding the energy policy

The research network ENsource presents five case studies for sustainable energy systems and resource eficiency in multiple regions in Baden-Württemberg.

DIALOGFORUM Urban energy systems of the future. Sustainable. Intelligent. Efficient.

How can the phasing out of coal and nuclear power be achieved through the use of renewable energy in cities and municipalities? ENsource, a research network of universities, colleges and research institutions in Baden-Württemberg, is presenting five case studies on this topic:

  • Stuttgart
  • Mannheim
  • Schwieberdingen,
  • Rainau (Ostalbkreis)
  • Isle of Mainau

The aim of ENSource with its focus on urban energy systems and resource efficiency is

Together we want to give local authorities impulses on how they can further develop new and existing areas in a climate-friendly manner and make a contribution to the energy turnaround.

Prof. Dr. Volker Coors ENsource coordinator and scientific director of the Institute for Applied Research (IAF), HFT Stuttgart

"In 2050, about 70% of the world's population will live in cities - with corresponding effects on energy demand and CO2 emissions. It is in cities that the success of the climate and energy turnaround will be decided," says computer scientist Coors. The greatest potential for savings, and thus also the potential to reduce CO2, lies in reducing the heat consumption of buildings. The goals of ENsource are based on those of the state of Baden-Württemberg in the field of energy system transformation: 50% energy savings, 80% renewable energies and 90% less greenhouse gases. ENsource is funded by the state (MWK) and EU (EFRE).

Modular system with many tools for holistic concepts

"In the research network we are showing ways in which as much electricity and heat as possible can be fed in from renewable energy sources such as photovoltaics, wind power or bioenergy," explains the scientist. The researchers offer holistic concepts and solutions for neighbourhoods by developing and calculating scenarios. "We can provide information about the possibilities and different scenarios, but the implementation is up to the decision-makers in the municipalities and companies," Coors emphasises.

The researchers of the ENsource consortium work together on an interdisciplinary basis and come from the fields of engineering, information technology, urban planning, architecture, forestry and agriculture, among others. This broad technical expertise is used in ENsource to view the solutions for energy system transformation from as many perspectives as possible. The researchers have developed a toolbox of tools and scientific methods such as computer-aided modelling, simulation and optimisation. In this way, they aim to provide municipalities and companies with well-founded decision-making aids as to which modern energy systems they can use, which optimally integrate renewable energies and which are resource-efficient and economical.

Future scenarios for sustainable energy supply

Above all, sector coupling, the conversion of surplus electricity into heat and cold, plays an important role. This means how biomass, hydrogen or surplus electricity from wind power, photovoltaics in the heating and mobility sector can be linked together and used optimally. In the field of energy management, research is being conducted into how surplus solar power can be optimally used, for example, at midday by adjusting the energy demand accordingly. Geodata such as 3D building models play an important role as a data basis, explains geo-computer scientist Coors. Particularly in new development areas, which are still being developed, urban planners need to have indications at an early stage as to which energy systems they can opt for. This also applies to the case studies for the former barracks in Mannheim and in Stuttgart Stöckach on the EnBW site. The municipality of Rainau (Ostalbkreis), another ENsource case study, has also set itself the goal of becoming a beacon in the field of energy supply and climate protection with a mix of wind power, photovoltaics, hydrogen and biomethane. On the island of Mainau on Lake Constance, various measures are being addressed as part of an energy and climate protection concept. For example, future scenarios for energy supply are simulated, taking into account various system components (photovoltaics, solar thermal energy, heat pumps, biogas, etc.). The partner here is Mainau GmbH. At the Bosch site in Schwieberdingen, methods for operational and process optimization with maximum resource efficiency are to be developed and implemented. A long-term supply scenario with a high proportion of renewable energy sources and combined heat, power and cooling systems (CHP) is to be developed for the entire site. CHP is the combined production of electrical energy, heat and cold.

ENsource representatives will discuss the results of the individual case studies in a virtual dialogue forum in July with around 60 stakeholders from local authorities, urban planning, the energy sector, industry and commerce. The event will take place on three workshop dates in July (on 1, 6 and 15 July 2020). Originally, a one-day dialogue forum was planned at the HFT Stuttgart, but due to the coronavirus pandemic this was conceived virtually.


ENsource emerged as a cross-university research association ZAFH (Centres for Applied Research at Universities) from the HAW (Universities of Applied Sciences Baden-Württemberg). In addition to the HFT Stuttgart, seven other universities of applied sciences with strong research capabilities are working together in the ZAFH "Urban Energy Systems and Resource Efficiency - ENsource": Aalen, Biberach, Heilbronn, Mannheim, Pforzheim, Reutlingen and Rottenburg with two universities (Stuttgart and Albert-Ludwigs-University of Freiburg) and the Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW) and the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE). In the current funding period (2014 - 2020), ENsource is being funded with a total of 2.5 million euros, of which 1.25 million euros come from the state of Baden-Württemberg (Ministry of Science, Research and Art) and 1.25 million euros from European funds (ERDF).

Details of the case studies and tools and services can be found on the website and further information can be found at

Publish date: 29. June 2020 By Susanne Rytina ()