In 2020, more than 450 large plants produced renewable energy from water, wind, sun, biomass or geothermal energy in the Upper Rhine region. TRION-climate e.V. has recorded the plants with an installed capacity of at least 300 kW and presents them together with the geographic information system GeoRhena on an interactive best practice map (www.trion-climate.net or www.georhena.eu). This inventory was carried out within the framework of the Interreg project RES-TMO (Regional Energy Supply and Storage in the Upper Rhine Trinational Metropolitan Region). It complements the "Trinational Climate and Energy Report" published in 2019, also in the framework of RES-TMO, which analyzes the climate and energy policies of the territorial entities of the Upper Rhine Conference, as well as the state of their implementation.
Hydropower clearly ranks first in renewable electricity production in the Upper Rhine. Along the Rhine and its tributaries, there are 118 hydropower plants with a total capacity of 2,534 MWel, of which 45 are operated by German, 30 by French and 43 by Swiss companies. 26 large run-of-river plants have a capacity of at least 10 MW, which together account for 2,438 MW. On the French-German border, ten large run-of-river plants (min. 100 MW) line the Rhine with a total capacity of 1,450 MW: Kembs, Ottmarsheim, Fessenheim, Vogelgrün, Marckolsheim, Rhinau, Gerstheim, Strasbourg, Gambsheim and Iffezheim. The last two are jointly operated by France and Germany (Electricité de France EDF and Energie Baden-Württemberg EnBW). Since 2013, the power plant in Iffezheim has become the largest run-of-river power plant in Germany with the construction of a fifth turbine. On the Rhine border between Germany and Switzerland, hydropower is also used to generate electricity. Except for the Birsfelden power plant in Basel, the other seven plants are located in the canton of Aargau: Reckingen, Albbruck-Dogern, Laufenburg, Säckingen, Ryburg-Schwörstadt, Rheinfelden, Augst-Wyhlen. Here, too, some power plants have a cross-border character, such as in Ryburg-Schwörstadt and Augst-Wyhlen, which is operated by the German-Swiss energy supply company Energiedienst Holding AG. These eight power plants on the German-Swiss part of the Rhine have a total capacity of 635 MW. In addition to these large run-of-river plants, there are 46 medium-size (500kW-10MW) and 46 smaller (300kW-500kW) plants on the Upper Rhine.
The second renewable energy source for electricity production in the Upper Rhine region is wind power. At 36 locations, 141 wind turbines are operating, with a total capacity of 336 MWel. Of these, 71 are located in Baden, 44 in the Southern Palatinate, 20 in Alsace near Lorraine and 6 in Northwestern Switzerland. 15 large wind farms with 4 to 10 wind turbines have a minimum capacity of 10 MW and accumulate 237 MW. Southern Palatinate has a high density of wind turbines, including the largest wind farm in Offenbach an der Queich with nine wind turbines and a capacity of 21.2 MW, operated by Juwi AG. On the Baden side, the most significant is the "Südliche Ortenau" citizens' wind farm operated by Green City AG with seven wind turbines and a total capacity of 19.2 MW. The largest wind farm on the French side with ten wind turbines can be found in the Southern Vosges between Alsace and Lorraine on the Plateau de Belfays.
The situation with photovoltaics is also different on each side of the Rhine. Twenty-seven ground-mounted installations with a total capacity of 70 MW were recorded, 24 of which are located on the German side. Four solar parks have a capacity of more than 5 MW (approx. 25,000 modules): Hohberg (9.9 MW), Vogtsburg (7.7 MW) and Iffezheim (6.9 MW) in Germany and Ungersheim (5.3 MW) in France. These ground-mounted plants included the floating PV plant of Erdgas Südwest AG in Renchen, which, with its 2300 modules and a capacity of 750 kW, was the largest PV plant built on a lake in Germany at the time of its construction in 2019. A similar plant is soon to be built on a quarry pond near Strasbourg.
In terms of structural photovoltaics, 183 plants with a minimum capacity of 300kW were recorded, with a total capacity of 144 MW. 108 of them are located on the German side of the Upper Rhine, 67 on the Swiss side and 8 plants of this size were identified in Alsace. 29 rooftop PV plants have a capacity of more than 1 MW (seven of them even more than 2 MW), 60 between 500kW and 1 MW and 94 between 300 kW - 500kW. The two largest PV plants are located in Solothurn, Switzerland, on the roofs of Migros in Neuendorf (7.8 MW) of Tritec AG, and in Philippsburg, Baden-Württemberg, on the roofs of Goodyear (7.4 MW) of Juwi AG. The largest plant in the Southern Palatinate is that of Energie Südpfalz GmbH on the roofs of Michelin in Landau (3.9 MW). Large structural solar plants also include those in Weinbourg, Alsace, by Hanau Energies (4.5 MW) and Hombourg by Ecosun Expert (2.9 MW), and in northwestern Switzerland by Wincasa AG in Zuchwil (5.8MW), ADEV AG in Wohlen (2.9 MW) and Aventron AG in Breitenbach (2.75MW).
Numerous biomass (wood or waste) incineration plants produce heat, including ten particularly large ones with a minimum capacity of 10 MWth, four of them on the German side of the Upper Rhine, four on the Swiss and two on the French side. The three largest biomass incineration plants are those of Bio Energie Baden GmbH in Kehl (68 MWth + 12 MWel), the wood and waste incineration plant of Industriellen Werke Basel (50 MWth) and that of Roquette in Beinheim, Alsace (50 MWth). The biomass power plant in St Louis (5.2 MWth) can be highlighted by its cross-border character. It is located close to the French-Swiss border and is operated by R-CUA, a subsidiary of Alsatian R-GDS and Swiss Primeo Energie. In addition, nearly 40 biogas plants produce heat and electricity from biomass or sewage sludge in the Upper Rhine region, about one-third of which are distributed in each of the German, French or Swiss parts of the Upper Rhine.
Finally, six deep geothermal plants are in operation in the Upper Rhine. Two in northern Alsace, two in southern Palatinate, one in Baden and one near Basel. The oldest geothermal power plant in the Upper Rhine is located in Soultz-sous-Forêt and is the result of a Franco-German research project. In 2016, the project was transformed into an economic plant, which has since been operated by ES (Energies Strasbourg). The second plant in Alsace is located in Rittershoffen and is also operated by ES. On the German side of the Upper Rhine, the first geothermal power plant was commissioned in 2009 in Bruchsal by EnBW. In the southern Palatinate, there are two more plants, one in Landau operated by Geox GmbH and another in Insheim operated by Pfalzwerke Geofuture. Riehen, in the canton of Basel-Stadt, is home to Switzerland's oldest geothermal plant, which supplies the town as well as a cross-border heating network with geothermal energy.
Two other deep geothermal plants were under construction in 2020 on the French side and one in northwestern Switzerland. After a seismic event with a magnitude of 3.59 in December 2020, construction of the plant in Vendenheim, near Strasbourg, was abandoned.
The best-practice map of generation facilities includes installations built or commissioned by the end of 2019. This will be updated regularly and expanded to include other projects implemented from 2020. For more information on Upper Rhine power generation installations, visit www.trion-climate.net and click on Best Practice.