Alheim, Germany

Alheimerturm, Hessen, Germany

  • Target: 100% renewable electric supply by 2030, 100% renewable heating supply by 2050.
  • Status: In progress
  • RES: Solar photovoltaics, solar thermal, biogas technology and hydropower.
  • Implementation: Alheim is a small town located in northern Hesse, Germany. Back in 1994, its municipal council enforced environmental impact guidelines which mandated that  all construction projects must be subjected to an environmental impact assessment. Ten years later, the town extended these guidelines to include a long-term target to power Alheim entirely from renewable energy sources. The intermediate goals included raising the current share of 75% of electricity supply to 100% until 2030. Similarly, while only 15% of heat is covered by renewable energy today, the aim is to achieve 100% renewable heating by 2050. Today, out of 12.2 Mio kWh produced from renewable energy, solar photovoltaic produces 6.9 Mio kWh, solar thermal energy 1.1 Mio kWh, biogas technology 4,1 Mio kWh and hydro 4.294 kWh. Alheim has profited greatly from the policy framework advancing renewable energy as it has boosted the local economy and created jobs in the region. Heat generated in biogas plants have been used for heating in industrial buildings, thus strengthening the local industry. Meanwhile, solar panels do not only produce energy but also provide shelter for organically farmed chicken on the fields. Alheim’s streets are illuminated with energy-efficient LED lighting and strict ecological guidelines for construction and renovations have been in place since 1994. Indeed, the advancement of renewable energy is part of a broader strategy to promote a lifestyle that is compatible with social and ecological ideals. Ever since Alheim joined energy transition revolution, children have been taught about renewable energy in the local schools and kindergardens.  Alheim council’s website features “Climate Protection To Go”  including tips on energy-efficient driving and cooking. One of the decisive factors for Alheim’s policy on renewable energy has been the political leadership of Mayor Georg Lüdtke who came into office in 1996 and has been committed to the idea ever since. Currently, Alheim is deepening its cooperation with the neighboring regions Bebra and Rotenburg, acting as a role model and strengthening the alliance for the transformation towards decentralized energy supply.
  • Population: 4,951 (2017)
  • Area: 63.83 km(24.64 sq mi)
  • Link: (In German) https://www.alheim.de/texte/seite.php?id=17304
Alheimerturm, Hessen, Germany

Aller-Leine-Tal, Germany

Aller-Leine-Tal, Germany

  • Target: 100+% Renewable Power Region, On Its Way to 100+% Renewable Heat.
  • Status: Achieved - In January 2012, Aller-Leine-Tal produced 108% of its electricity with local renewable sources.
  • RES: Wind turbines, biogas cogeneration plant, solar PV farm and small riverine hydro for electricity. Geothermal energy, biomass and district heating grid for heating.
  • Implementation: The region of Aller-Leine-Tal is located north of Hannover in Lower Saxony, Germany. The region consists of eight municipalities (Kirchlinteln, Dörverden, Wietze, Winsen, Hambühren and the administrative divisions in Ahlden, Rethern, and Schwarmstedt). The regional community has reached and surpassed a 100% renewable electricity goal, and is currently pursuing a 100% renewable heating target. Its efforts began in the late 1990's when the region pledged a commitment to help protect the climate by supporting renewable energy use. In 1996, 60 citizens collaborated to construct the first 660kW windmill. This was eventually replaced by a modern 2.3MW turbine. Today, the region is generating energy from additional 54 windmills, biogas (13 MW), solar PV (14 MW), and some smaller river hydro power providing more energy than needed. To achieve 100% renewable heat, the region will expand use of technologies already employed, including geothermal, biomass to heat, a district heating grid, and improving efficiency. To increase energy conservation, the municipalities offer energy audits and energy consulting. They have also initiated educational programs in local schools to engage and educate students in renewable energy-related activities. The idea is that students should experience and understand renewable energy with there own hands and be given the opportunity to use - and build where possible - renewable energy technologies like wind turbines, water mills, and solar chargers. To increase awareness, the region has created touristic bike paths with more than 40 energy stations that provide information on different renewable energy sources. As an energy exporter, the Aller-Leine-Tal has already set a new target of supplying neighboring areas with renewable energy.
  • Population: 60,087 (2017)
  • Area: 622 km(240 sq mi)
  • Link: http://www.kommunal-erneuerbar.de/energie-kommunen/energie-kommunen/aller-leine-tal.html
Aller-Leine-Tal, Germany

Alzey-Land Region, Germany

Fishmarket, Alzey, Germany

  • Target: 100% renewable energy
  • Status: Achieved
  • RES: Wind farms, biogas plants, a hydroelectric power plant and solar power plants.
  • Implementation: The Alley-Land region is a hilly wine growing region comprising 24 local communities, located in the state of Rheinland-Palatinate, Germany. In 2010, the region reached 100% renewable electricity. To also achieve 100% renewable in heating and transportation, it is seeking to further expand its existing renewable energy infrastructure. Today, renewable energy plants in the Alzey region generates more electricity than its inhabitants consume. 38 wind turbines cover more than 91% of the electricity demand. The rest comes from two biogas plants, a hydroelectric power plant and 156 solar power plants.

    The initiatives in the field of wind power have been largely driven by the private sector. The municipality advises, moderates and creates the planning principles with regards to urban land use planning in order to encourage and guide RES installations. In order to make greater use of wind power, the municipality aims to expand areas for the use of wind power and to identify them in its land use plan. Old turbines will be replaced with newer, more powerful wind turbines to improve the wind power harvest. The Alzey region hosts the largest wind farm in the Rhineland-Palatinate called Park Ober-Flörsheim/Flomborn. Besides wind energy, there are over 150 PV systems installed on private houses, commercial buildings and farm buildings. The Freimersheim solar park produces more than 7.5 million kilowatt hours of electricity each year, able to supply around 2,300 households.
  • Population: 24,805 (2017)
  • Area: 173,87 km²
  • Link: https://www.alzey-land.de/vg/wirtschaft/energiekommune.php
Fishmarket, Alzey, Germany

Bamberg, Germany

Bamberg, Germany

  • Target: Energy self-sufficient by exclusively relying on renewable energies, by 2035.
  • Status: In progress
  • RES: Solar and wind-powered systems, block heating stations, woodchip heating systems, and electric vehicle charging stations.
  • Implementation: The city of Bamberg's strategy to produce energy independently is embedded in its climate change strategy and is integrated into the sustainable development of Bamberg. It has already financed a combination of solar and wind-powered systems, block heating stations as well as woodchip heating systems. In 2009, the Fraunhofer Institute analyzed the resource potential of the city and different scenarios were investigated to optimize the process of RE development. It laid the groundwork for finding the best energy models for the area. The plan would serve 210,000 people for both for electricity and heat. As a member of ”climate alliance”, the city cooperates with surrounding municipalities. The idea is that both the city and its region would benefit from the energy transition: the city has a reliable supply of renewable energy and the surrounding rural areas is the energy producer,  generating income, allowing the development of new business models, and well distributed profits among municipalities. In fact, the city of Bamberg would not have been able to achieve its RE goal if it wasn’t for the rural support, considering the limited urban space. The city involved the industry and engineering sectors in the planning process, as well as the participation of the local community, with processes being guided by the city government. In 2011, the Climate and Energy Agency Bamberg was established to serve as the office of the Climate Alliance Bamberg. In 2012, the city along with 31 municipalities formed the ,,Regionalwerke Bamberg GmbH’’ to combine strategic efforts. Energy consultancy and analysis tools for electricity and heat applications of private households were introduced and more than half of the towns in the area have set up electric vehicle charging stations.
  • Population: 77,179 (2017)
  • Area: 54.62 km2 (21.09 sq mi)
  • Link: https://www.detail-online.com/article/bamberg-is-switching-to-renewable-energy-14255/
Bamberg, Germany

Bozcaada, Turkey

Bozcaada, Turkey

  • Target: 100% renewable electricity
  • Status: Achieved
  • RES: 17 turbine wind farm, solar arrays, hydrogen energy.
  • Implementation: Bozcaada is an island of Turkey in the northeastern part of the Aegean Sea. It currently generates more power than it consumes. In 2000, a 17 turbine wind farm was constructed with a nominal power capacity of 10.2 MW energy, and produces 30 GWh of electricity every year. This is the equivalent consumption of 17,500 households or 30 times the consumption of the whole island of Bozcaada. The excess electricity produced is fed to mainland Anatolia through an underground and partly undersea cable. The hospital and governor’s mansion on the island uses hydrogen energy produced by local renewable energy sources. At the governor’s mansion, energy is captured with a rooftop 20 kW solar array and a 30 kW wind turbine. The electricity produced is used to electrolyze water into hydrogen. This gas is stored compressed and used later to generate energy or as fuel in hydrogen-powered cars.
  • Population: 2,465 (2012)
  • Area: 42.63 km2 (16.46 sq mi)
  • Link: http://www.globalislands.net/greenislands/index.php?region=6&c=58
Bozcaada, Turkey

Bruchmühlbach-Miesau, Germany

Bruchmühlbach, Germany

  • Target: 100% renewable energy
  • Status: Achieved
  • RES: Wind farms, biogas cogeneration plants, a solar PV plant, and rooftop solar systems.
  • Implementation: The municipality of Bruchmühlbach-Miesau consists of several small towns and villages, located in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate in the west of Germany. The town of Miesau in particular is well-known for the “Miesau Army Depot” (the largest American ammunition depot outside the US). The town is also just a few miles from the famous Rammstein Airbase and Landstuhl Medical Centre. Today, Bruchsmühlbach-Miesau is also known for its 100% renewable energy supply systems. In order to achieve this 100% goal, the mayor initially approached the US Army authorities with the plan of placing a 1-MW solar PV plant on the roof of storage buildings within the military base. The project was finally approved in 2012 by the local American military authorities and the national German authorities, and following this success, the municipality began planning for a biogas cogeneration plant to be built, also with the US base's cooperation.

    The plants proposed were to help boost the municipality's existing energy infrastructure. By then, it already operated a wind farm consisting of 10 turbines that generated about 37 GWh/a, a biogas plant that generated 2.7 GWh/a, and over 200 rooftop solar systems generating 2 GWh/a.  When a 5 turbine wind farm was completed in 2013, it produced an additional 47 GWh/a. At this point the community of Bruchsmühlbach-Miesau was able to produce 290% of its electricity demand. The wind farms especially enjoyed good support in the area due to strong local participation and the emphasis on regional value creation.

  • Population: 10,500
  • Area: 26.86 km2 (10.37 sq mi)
  • Link: https://cleantechnica.com/2012/04/23/us-military-cooperates-in-german-small-town-energy-revolution/
Bruchmühlbach, Germany

Brunico (Bruneck), Italy

Brunico (Bruneck), Italy

  • Target: 100% renewable energy
  • Status: Achieved
  • RES: Solar thermal systems, solar photovoltaics, small hydro plants, biomass plant, biogas plant, and district heating network.
  • Implementation: Brunico, Italy is a town in South Tyrol. Today, the town is producing more electricity and heat than it consumes. It has an array of renewable energy systems installed. For heating, it has 840 m² of rooftop solar thermal systems supplying water heating, a 120 km district heating network fed by a 9 MW biomass plant and a 1.5 MW biogas plant near a landfill site supplies heat for more than 2000 buildings. Electricity for around 1500 families comes from 3 MW of rooftop photovoltaic panels, small hydro plants totalling 4.4 MW, and a 20 MW biogas plant that is fed by wood waste. The town additionally has a large 46.3 MW hydro project from its prior electricity system that is not counted toward the renewable energy total. The elementary school and fire station are entirely energy independent with their solar PV installations of 32 kW and 64 kW respectively. Brunico’s School Centre is additionally able to meet part of its heating requirements with 750 m² of vacuum tube collectors that heat up 3000 m³ of undeground tanks. The hot water is pumped through radiators and radiant floor heating panels.

    To support Brunico’s renewable energy commitment, town policy requires  that all local buildings meet up to 25% of their own energy needs with renewable sources, including 50% of their hot water demand. Italy's feed-in tariff law, like the German feed-in tariff provides a great incentive to the town. The law guarantees connection to the grid for renewable energy producers of all sizes and reasonably priced payment differentiated by technology for all the renewable electricity they generate.
  • Population: 15,491 (2010)
  • Area: 45 km2 (17 sq mi)
  • Link: https://www.stadtwerke.it
Brunico (Bruneck), Italy

Burgenland, Austria

Burgenland, Austria

  • Target: 100% of its electricity from local, renewable sources by 2020
  • Status: Achieved - Burgenland managed to supply 100% of its electricity needs through wind power by 2013.
  • RES: Wind power and biomass energy.
  • Implementation: Burgenland is the seventh largest of Austria's nine states. It borders the Austrian states of Styria and Lower Austria, as well as Hungary, Slovakia and Slovenia. Today, this region in eastern Austria gets 100% of its electricity from local, renewable sources . It all began in 1992, when a local citizen wanted to install a wind turbine on his property and contacts a wind power consultancy. The consultancy recommended to build a large farm in view of the site’s high wind power potential. In the following year, the owner and the consultancy presented the project to the Zurndorf town council. Between 1993 and 1995,  planning and wind measurements were undertaken. In 1994, the municipality decided to create a company for managing the project (where the municipality has a 98% stake). By 1995, the membership of Austria to the European Union, meant that the Burgenland could benefit from EU Structural Funds to carry out infrastructure projects, such as energy. By 1997, the Austrian government decided to increase the share of renewable energy to 3% of final energy use, beginning with the construction of the Zurndorf wind farm. In 2001 the Austrian electricity market was open, and in 2002 Burgenland developed a regional wind power plan. In 2003 the Green Power Act was adopted. By 2009, the Burgenland Energieteam was established to set an energy self-sufficiency target by 2050, accompanied by an action plan. By 2013 self-sufficiency in electricity was already achieved. It is estimated that 4,500 jobs have been created through the development of wind power in Burgenland.
  • Population: 284,900
  • Area: 3,961.80 km(1,529.66 sq mi)
  • Link: https://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/archive/newsroom/pdf/200912_burgenland.pdf
Burgenland, Austria

Carinthia, Austria

Heiligenblut am Großglockner, Kärnten, Carinthia, Austria

  • Target: 100% renewable electricity achieved. 100% renewable heating by 2025. 100% renewable transport by 2035.
  • Status: Achieved
  • RES: Hydropower and biomass for heating.
  • Implementation: Carinthia (Kärnten) is a region in the mountains of southern Austria and is one of the leading renewable energy regions in Europe. Carinthia uses 100% renewable electricity from local water power, and all the utilities in the region sell only 100% renewable electricity. The region also uses 70% renewable energy (biomass) for heating, with a goal reaching 100% by 2025. Currently 12% of transportation demand is covered by renewables with an aim to get to 100% by 2035. By 2013, 55% of Carinthia's total energy supply was coming from renewable sources. Despite an increase in building space of 40% from 1990 to 2011, Carinthian households were able to achieve a 45% reduction in CO2 emissions during this period thanks to the region's energy choices. Renewable energy, along with other advanced technologies, contribute to the local industry base, with pump storage companies, a solar thermal factory and a cluster of biomass businesses all making the region their home.
  • Population: 557,371 (2015)
  • Area: 9,535.97 km(3,681.86 sq mi)
  • Link: https://www.ktn.gv.at/Service/Publikationen?kid=5
Heiligenblut am Großglockner, Kärnten, Carinthia, Austria

Coelbe District, Germany

Kasseler Straße, Cölbe, Germany

  • Target: 100% renewable energy overall for the community by 2040
  • Status: In progress
  • RES: Solar and biomass energy.
  • Implementation: Coelbe district in Germany is made up of six rural communities (Bernsdorf, Buergeln, Coelbe, Reddehausen, Schoenstadt and Schwarzenborn), located in the state of Hessen. In 2011, the Coelbe government unanimously decided across political party lines to set a community wide target of using only renewable energy resources to meet demand by the year 2040. Similarly in January 2012, the state of Hessen decided  to transition to 100% renewable energy by 2050.
    Coelbe has created a climate protection plan that lays out how they will achieve the 100% target. The plan takes into account appropriate technologies, costs, integration with climate goals, public relations, and action steps. Coelbe anticipates that by transitioning to renewable energy and efficiency upgrades, it will save up to € 5 million in energy costs annually. Milestones achieved so far include solar panel installations on several municipal properties. The largest generates enough electricity to meet more than 10% of Coelbe's power demand. It is jointly owned by the municipality and by individuals who have personally invested in shares or certificates that generate 6.8% returns, ensuring that the local citizens and community reap the economic benefits of the solar system. Another example of community's energy transition is a heating grid in Schoenstadt built by the village cooperative, fueled by wood chips from the local saw mill, and which supplies heat for 80% of the village buildings. Such projects have attracted visitors from other countries to come learn best practices and have engaged local community members to volunteer to help manage them.
  • Population: 11600 (2017)
  • Area: 73 km2 (28.18 sq mi)
  • Link: https://www.coelbe.de/energie/mein-coelbe/111-energie/173-erneuerbare-energien
Kasseler Straße, Cölbe, Germany