Freiamt, Germany

Freiamt, Germany

  • Target: 100% reliance on renewable sources for power and heat.
  • Status: Achieved - Freiamt consumes 12,000 MWh annually and generates 15,400 MWh annually with renewable resources.
  • RES: Wind power, biomass, biogas, solar, hydropower and a district heating system.
  • Implementation: Freiamt is a small township consisting of of five small villages located in Germany's Black Forest, in the southwestern state of Baden-Württemberg. Taking advantage of laws that incentivize renewable energy, such as the feed-in tariff (Renewable Sources Act), this town uses a variety of renewable energy resources to produce more electricity than it needs—and makes profit by selling the excess to surrounding areas. Freiamt has also made progress in shifting to renewable sources for space heating and hot water. As of 2009, 120 homes were heated using efficient wood pellets, 75 homes used wood chips, and 150 homes used solar thermal collectors. The town aims to increase its renewable heating use, as well as to shift to renewables for transportation. Like many other German towns, Freiamt uses a mix of solar, wind, and biomass, with some hydropower. Local biomass provides fuel for its district heating system.
    The township achieved their 100% target via a series of small steps. This was so locals would become familiar with the technologies and their benefits over time. Any objections can be raised. They began with community cooperative projects. First a wind farm with two turbines was built. Local people were able to buy shares in the turbines, at minimum price of €3,000 (US$4,170). Then came the installation of solar arrays, with a PV array on town hall, and then on roofs of farm buildings. Today farmers own around 300 solar PV systems plus 150 solar thermal collectors being used for water heating. By combining solar PV and wind power, the township is able to balance the energy supplies due to changing weather conditions. The solar panels are able to provide power during times when wind speeds are low but the sunshine is strong. In addition to solar, small biogas co-generation plants were also installed by farmers. The plants convert agricultural waste to methane, which is burnt to provide heating for homes, or run turbines to generate more electrical power.
    Overall, the mix of renewable energy systems has been a success. Today there are five wind turbines that makes the township not only 100% renewable, but also an energy exporter. The township now produces about 14 million kWh of energy annually — about 3 million more than needed.
  • Population: 4,187 (2017)
  • Area: 52.92 km2 (20.43 sq mi)
  • Link: https://www.freiamt.de/buerger/de/unsere-gemeinde/gemeinde/erneuerbare-energien/
Freiamt, Germany

Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany

Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany

  • Target: ‘Climate Neutral City’, using 100% renewable energy by 2050.
  • Status: In progress
  • RES: Net-zero and passivhaus building practices, combined heat and power (CHP) generation, solar thermal and photovoltaics systems, and a district heating grid to provide domestic heating and hot water.
  • Implementation: Freiburg is located in south-west Germany, near the borders with France and Switzerland. It is home to universities, public research institutions and has one of Germany’s sunniest and warmest climates. The city has a population with a large proportion of whom are Green Party voters. Since the 1972 Anti-nuclear protests, citizens have pursued sustainable energy standards often above and beyond those set by the German federal government. In 2003, citizen groups began preparing a plan for the municipal council, which eventually became the backbone of Freiburg’s Land Use 2020 plan. The plan brought together community shareholders and civic officials. The focus would be threefold: energy savings, efficient technologies, and renewable energy sources. Action plans were detailed in relation to transportation, waste, water and energy sectors. Today, the Freiburg Environmental Policy provides short, mid and long-term goals for planning, development, and conservation for sustainability and efficiency.  These aspects govern Freiburg’s urban planning process in such a way that most development, or re-development, projects go far beyond the minimum energy standards and installation of renewable energy generation to also include net-zero and passivhaus building practices, combined heat and power (CHP) generation and a district heating grid to provide domestic heating and hot water.
  • Population: 229,636 (2017)
  • Area: 153.07 km2(59.10 sq mi)
  • Link: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2008/mar/23/freiburg.germany.greenest.city
Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany

Freisingerland, Germany

Mariendom, Freising, Germany

  • Target: 100% renewable electricity target by 2035
  • Status: In progress
  • RES: Solar energy
  • Implementation: In 2005, 24 municipalities in the district of Freising, north of Munich, Germany decided to create the “Solar Region Freisingerland” with the target of 100% renewable electricity target by 2035. The idea was implemented together with many associations and organizations from the district. By establishing a cooperation agreement between "Sonnenkraft-Freising" as initiator and "Freisinger Land" (the regional marketing initiative at the time) as partner, the idea was able to be launched effectively. Though this initiative, the “Solar-Kreisliga” competition involving the municipalities was set up to stimulate the shift to renewable energy in the region. Towns would compete to attain the highest renewable energy generation compared with their recorded electricity consumption.

    By 2010, 6 municipalities had reached their 100% renewables electricity goal and were named energy champions. At this time, the region was already producing 54.6% electricity from renewables. The results were promoted via regular energy brochures and today, latest results are distributed to all political leaders in the district. Recently the "Bürgeringerergiegenossenschaft Freisinger Land" was established as a county-wide institution to assist citizens to better transition to renewable energy. It is estimated that if recent activities in renewable energy continue, the solar region could reach their goal of 100% renewables electricity by 2020. 
  • Population: 164,692 (2007)
  • Link: http://solarregion-freisinger-land.de
Mariendom, Freising, Germany

Großbardorf, Germany

Großbardorf, Germany

  • Target: 100% renewable energy
  • Status: Achieved
  • RES: A solar photovoltaics farm, a biogas plant, a cogeneration plant and a district heating network.
  • Implementation: In the small Bavarian village of Großbardorf, local citizens invested and raised outside capital worth $19 million over four years to develop rooftop and larger scale solar systems, along with a biogas plant that feeds both a combined heat and power (CHP) plant and a district heating network. Combined, the projects generate 400% of the electricity the village’ needs and 50% of its heating demand. Großbardorf is considering expanding to new business opportunities that rely on its advanced heating network. One example is local fish farming tanks that use heat from the biogas plants to heat the water. Its citizens have also participated in Großbardorf's energy efforts in other ways. The community for example decided to invest in solar panels for the new roof of the town’s football stadium in  exchange for season tickets to games. The income from the electricity produced by the solar panels would pay off the expense of the new roof. The village's renewable energy success would not have been possible without the Renewable Sources Act (EEG), the German feed-in tariff (FIT). The law guarantees interconnection of renewables into the grid, payment of any needed grid upgrades by the utilities, and adequate, long term payment to renewable power generators for any electricity they feed in to the grid.
  • Population: 889 (2017)
  • Area: 16.54 km2 (6.39 sq mi)
  • Link: http://www.grossbardorf.rhoen-saale.net/Gemeinschaftsprojekte/FWR-Energie-Genossenschaft
Großbardorf, Germany

Hessen (State), Germany

Hessen (State), Germany

  • Target: 100% renewable electricity and heat by 2050
  • Status: In progress
  • RES: Wind power, hydropower, biomass, biofuels, solar thermal and PV and district heating systems.
  • Implementation: In 2010, the State of Hessen in Germany made the commitment to transition to 20% renewable heat and power by 2020. However, a more drastic change in policy was in order due to the concerns on the impact of climate change and the events of nuclear disaster in Fukushima. The move away from fossil and nuclear power towards renewable energy and accelerated energy efficiency became imperative. In January 2012, a strategy was therefore presented on how to achieve 100% renewable electricity and heat by 2050. Essential to the strategy was to increase the energy efficiency and to restructure the existing energy system from a central to a decentralised one with smaller, more flexible power plant units. At the same time, the energy network will be expanded and adapted to meet the new requirements.

    The energy transition will require the support and active participation of the private households, municipalities and businesses. To do so, the government has developed concepts to support its citizens and stakeholders with tailored investing, non-investment projects, comprehensive information and counselling services, and legislative initiatives at the federal level. Since 2012, the state government has dedicated a budget of 80 million euros for relevant energy projects. The strategy will call for the expansion of renewable energy installations, particularly in wind, solar and biomass, and the integration of smart energy management systems.
  • Population: 6,243,262 (2017)
  • Area: 21,100 km2(8,100 sq mi)
  • Link: https://www.energieland.hessen.de/Home
Hessen (State), Germany

Jühnde, Germany

Jühnde, Germany

  • Target: 100% renewable energy
  • Status: Achieved
  • RES: Mainly bio-energy, some solar photovoltaics.
  • Implementation: Wildpoldsried is a small village located in Lower Saxony in Northern Germany. In 2006, Jühnde became the first village in Germany to be energy self-sufficient. The municipality is using 25% of municipal farmland and 10% of forest land to supply 100% of its heating and more than 200% of its electricity needs with bio-energy, such as methane from cow manure and wood chips. Jühnde, like many other German towns that have successfully achieved high uptake of renewables, has benefited from the German Feed-in Tariff Law or Renewable Sources Act (EEG), which encourage robust investment in renewable technologies, like solar, wind, biomass, geothermal, and small hydro, including local participation. In Germany, the majority of installed renewable energy is owned by citizens, farmers, and small businesses.
  • Population: 985 (2017)
  • Area: 24.49 km2 (9.46 sq mi)
  • Link: (Also in English) http://www.bioenergiedorf.de/home.html
Jühnde, Germany

Kronprinzenkoog, Germany

Neo-gothic church, Kronprinzenkoog, Germany

  • Target: 100% renewable energy
  • Status: In progress
  • RES: Solar photovoltaics and biogas plants
  • Implementation: Kronprinzenkoog is a small town in the Dithmarschen district near the North Sea in Germany. In the 1980s, the town installed its first wind turbines. In 2009, the 150 kW-500kW 77 turbines were replaced with more powerful, more efficient 2-3 MW models. Today, these windmills feed about 200 million kWh into the grid, enough to power 50,000 German homes. Two of the windmills are collectively owned by 140 villagers who had invested 3.6 million euros and who are now receiving a 15-20% return on their investment. The good returns can be attributed to the German feed-in tariff law (The Renewable Sources Act also known as the EEG) which guarantees that anyone in Germany who produces renewable electricity will be paid a fixed rate for the type of renewable electricity they feed into the grid for 20 years. This law also guarantees access of renewable energy projects into the grid and makes utilities pay for any necessary grid upgrades. In other words, the EEG allows regular people to become power producers and get paid properly. In addition to the feed-in tariff law, highly efficient and simple permitting processes for renewable electricity speeds up installation. The town has also implemented a 500 kW biogas plant on a farm, which produces enough energy to power 3,200 households, and 7,117 kW of solar PV have also been installed  in recent years. Most solar roofs are paid back within 10 years, after which owners get to keep the profits. To move towards renewable transportation, the town has opened an electric bike/car rental facility powered by a solar rooftop, and is planning several solar powered electric charging stations along the whole German north coast.
  • Population: 811 (2017)
  • Area: 28.85 km2 (11.14 sq mi)
  • Link: https://www.shz.de/lokales/norddeutsche-rundschau/kronprinzenkoog-ist-sonnenstark-id1064511.html
Neo-gothic church, Kronprinzenkoog, Germany

Lüchow-Dannenberg, Germany

Wet meadow landscape, Lüchow-Dannenberg, Germany

  • Target: 100% of electricity needs with renewable energy.
  • Status: Achieved
  • RES: Solar PV systems, biogas facilities, wind turbines, small river-based hydropower, and combined heat and power plant.
  • Implementation: The district of Lüchow-Dannenberg is located at the far eastern tip of Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen) in the center of Germany. The district is comprised of 27 cities and has long played role in Germany's energy policy. Today Lüchow-Dannenberg is leading the way on renewable energy.

    It began in 1997 when a working group on climate protection and energy set an ambitious target of meeting 100% of Lüchow-Dannenberg's electricity needs with renewable energies. The district was motivated by the need to to improve environmental stewardship, and the need to address high regional unemployment. On May 1, 2011, Lüchow-Dannenberg reached its goal - 4 years ahead of schedule.

    The district's power mix is a diverse mix of technologies that generates 300 million kWh annually. 3% of the mix comes from 630 solar PV systems totaling 10 MW. 34% comes from 24 biogas facilities totally 15 MW. And 63% comes from 71 wind turbines totaling 108 MW. There is also some small river-based hydropower. Lüchow-Dannenberg has taken its renewable energy efforts beyond electricity to also include the heating and transportation sectors. For instance, the village of Jameln has a biogas fueling station for vehicles, and the village of Püggen heats all its homes with a combined heat and power plant. One school in Dannenberg is heated entirely from wood chips derived from local forest waste. The district has also created a higher education institution called the Renewable Energy Academy, which offers a range of coursework pertaining to renewables, including science, law, finance and management.
  • Population: 48,357 (2017)
  • Area: 1,220 km2 (470 sq mi)
  • Link: https://www.luechow-dannenberg.de/home/bauen-wohnen-umwelt/klima-umwelt-und-naturschutz/klimaschutz/masterplan-100-fuer-klimaschutz-im-landkreis-luechow-dannenberg-126.aspx
Wet meadow landscape, Lüchow-Dannenberg, Germany

 

Lüneburg (Region), Germany

Lüneberg, Germany

  • Target: “Renewable energy region”, operating on 100% RE.
  • Status: In progress - Today, around 55% of the consumed electricity is renewable: from wind (23%), biomass (27%), solar power (4.3%) and hydropower (0.2% ). For heating, only 10% RE is used.
  • RES: Wind power, biomass, solar power and hydropower.
  • Implementation: In 2008, the administrative district of Lüneburg established an climate protection unit to coordinate an action for climate protection. By 2010, the county council had set the goal to become a 100% renewable energy region (100ee-Region). It would reduce energy demand, apply energy efficiency measures and expand renewable energy implementation. In 2012, the district and city councils commissioned the University of Lüneburg to conduct a study to achieve this target. The “100% Renewable Energy in the region and city Lüneburg” was published, stating that it was possible to completely cover the district's energy demand by renewable energies in the electricity and heating sector. It showed options on how this can be achieved and provided ways to reduce energy consumption. The city and the county council began by reducing its own energy consumption by conducting energetic retrofits of all public buildings. It also began encouraging its inhabitants to save energy and to improve energy efficiency in private households. In order to use the potential of wind energy, the administrative area began looking for priority areas for wind and solar energy.
  • Population: 75,192 (2017)
  • Area: 70.34 km2 (27.16 sq mi)
  • Link: (in German) https://www.landeszeitung.de/blog/lokales/176470-schritt-fuer-schritt-zur-energiewende
Lüneberg, Germany

Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (State), Germany

Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (State), Germany

  • Target: 100% renewable energy
  • Status: Achieved
  • RES: Wind, solar and biogas
  • Implementation: Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is a rural, thinly populated state on the northern coast of Germany. In 2013, the state was the first in Germany to generate more power from renewable sources than it required for consumption. In 2012, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern had already begun generating the equivalent of 90% of its energy consumption with renewables. From 2012 to 2013, the percentage increased by 30% -  from 6.3 billion to about 8.3 billion kilowatt-hours. This was the equivalent of 120% of what the state uses. 

    Mecklenburg-Vorpommen today exports a large share of the surplus renewable power it generates to neighboring regions. The State's renewable electricity mix is a combination of wind, solar, and biogas. In 2013, 89 new wind turbines were installed, bringing the total to nearly 1600 turbines. Onshore wind energy generated about 4 billion kilowatt-hours in 2013. In the same year, 1700 PV systems and 32 biogas systems were installed. In September 2014, the state became home to Germany's first commercial large scale battery storage system, a 5 MW/MWh battery power plant in the Schwerin district of Lankow manufactured by Younicos for WEMAG. The facility houses 1600 battery trays containing 25,600 lithium-manganese-oxide cells that can store and release energy within milliseconds. The battery system can reportedly replace at least 50 MW of conventional power plant generation.
  • Population: 1,611,119 (2017)
  • Area: 23,174 km2 (8,948 sq mi)
  • Link: (In German) https://www.regierung-mv.de/Landesregierung/em/Energie/
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (State), Germany