Dardesheim, Germany

Dardesheim, Germany

  • Target: Energy self-sufficiency by becoming independent from fossil-fuel based energy sources.
  • Status: Achieved
  • RES: 32 wind turbines with a total wind power capacity of 68,9 MW, nine solar power plants, biomass-based heating systems, and household solar collectors.
  • Implementation: Dardesheim has pioneered the use of renewable energy sources in Germany since one of the first wind turbines was erected in Saxony-Anhalt in 1993. This windpark expanded in 1994 following an agreement with a wind turbine company. Today, the local hill of Druiberg is covered with 32 wind turbines with a total wind power capacity that is equivalent to about forty times the total annual electricity consumption of Dardesheim or 15 times the overall energy demand, including electricity, heating or cooling and fuel for transportation. By 2017, seven additional wind turbines and a battery storage system have been added to the system. The storage system works to temper the effects of varying wind conditions. Besides wind power, nine solar power plants also produce one third of Dardesheim’s electricity demand since 2005. In addition, household solar collectors on roofs provide warm water and there are several biomass-based heating systems in town. In 2005, two local car companies started to offer the exchange of diesel-fuel driven engines with biodiesel engines fuelled by domestically grown rapeseed oil. Near the town hall, a plug-in station for electric cars was constructed. The success of the town can be attributed to to the transparency accompanying the overall process. The bimonthly published info sheet ”Dardesheimer Windblatt” is delivered to every household free of charge, providing everyone with the latest developments on the Dardesheim energy project. The wind park regularly offers guided tours.
  • Population: 750 (2011)
  • Area: 0.952 km²
  • Link: https://www.powerengineeringint.com/articles/print/volume-16/issue-2/features/germany-focus-renewables/renewables-an-essential-part-of-germanyrsquos-future.html
Dardesheim, Germany

Dobbiaco (Toblach), Italy

Dobbiaco, Italy

  • Target: 100% renewable energy
  • Status: Achieved
  • RES: Solar PV and thermal collectors, hydro power plant, biomass district heating plant and  biogas facility.
  • Implementation: The city of Dobbiaco is located 1,256 m above sea level, in the Pusteria Valley in the northern Italian region of Trentino Alto-Adige. It was awarded by the Italian Environment League the title of “Renewable Town” in 2009 and 2011, and was also included in the Res Champions League of 2011. In terms of electricity production, extensive energy supply has been achieved through solar PV panels with an installed capacity of 1,590 kW and a 1,783 kW mini-hydro power plant whose production capacity exceeds the electric needs of households of Dobbiaco. There are also 1,350 square meters of solar thermal collectors installed as well as a district heating network connected to two installations. One is an 18 MW thermal biomass plant and the other one is a 132 kW biogas facility. Together they produce more energy than the heating needs of Dobbiaco. The biomass district heating plant opened in 1995 and it is able to also satisfy the heat demand of the neighboring town of San Candido. The biomass used in this plant is composed of locally sourced wood chips derived from pruning residues, bark residues, and wood waste from sawmill and various factories. Thanks to this combination of technologies, Dobbiaco produces more electricity and thermal energy than that is consumed by households.
  • Population: 3,283 (2010)
  • Area: 126.6 km2 (48.9 sq mi)
  • Link: https://www.suedtirol.info/en/experience/sustainable-holiday/south-tyrol-backs-sustainability
Dobbiaco, Italy

Effelter, Germany

Effelter, Germany

  • Target: 100% renewable energy
  • Status: Achieved
  • RES: Biogas plant, wood chip boiler, cogeneration units, district heating network and solar PV.
  • Implementation: Effelter is a small rural village located in the northern part of Bavaria, Germany. Today, the village is producing 200% of its electricity consumption and meeting all of its heating needs with biomass, a local renewable resource. All of the power plants are owned by local citizens. Effelter's renewable energy transition began in 2001 when the installation of one biogas plant began to quickly garner community interest. The plant was soon supplying all of Effelter's heat requirements. Including two 65 kW combined heat and power units, along with a 500 kW wood chip boiler that provides extra backup in winter, the heat generated was distributed to every house via a 2.4 km / 1.4 mile long hot water pipe network. Combined with the installation of 160kW of solar PV on roofs, the biogas fuelled cogeneration units, the village was able to produce more than twice the electricity it needs.

    Raw material and waste from the agricultural and forestry sectors in the area helps fuel the village's energy plants. The biogas plant sources agricultural waste, liquid manure and grass from local farmers. The wood chips for the boiler plant are sourced from local forestry waste. The by-product from the biogas plant is used as a fertilizer, while the ashes from the wood chip boiler also helps to nourish the local forest.
  • Population: 244 (2015)
  • Link: http://bioenergiedorf-effelter.de/?lang=en
Effelter, Germany

El Hierro, Canary Islands

El Hierro, Canary Islands, Spain

  • Target: To become a self-sustaining island in the face of the global climate crisis and persistently high fossil fuel prices.
  • Status: Achieved
  • RES: Five turbine wind farms and hydro plant supplies 80% of the island’s energy demands, 20% is generated through solar thermal collectors and grid connected photovoltaic systems. El Hierro’s climate and topography are key factors to the success of its renewable energy systems. The wind blows strongly and steadily. The island is small but mountainous. Excess electricity wind farm is used to pump water into an empty volcanic crater above sea level. When the wind is weak, the stored water is released through turbines to secure a steady supply of electricity. Biomass energy is being evaluated on the island, and electric vehicles are planned to replace fuel-based cars. Another trial is the installation of desalination plants to provide the island with fresh water.
  • Implementation: In the early 1980s, a development model was put in place that focused on respecting the natural environment and conserving natural resources. By 1997, the island council had adopted the El Hierro Sustainability Plan. Its framework initiated a technical feasibility study and finally the construction of the “El Hierro Hydro-Wind Plant”. At a cost of 65 million euros, the project was implemented by 3 entities: the island government of the Canaries (60% ownership), the Canaries Institute of Technology (10%), and a private Spanish energy and utility group (30%). The project was strongly support by its citizens as well as public (particularly the EU) and private institutions which contributed significant economic investment. The remote location of the island and recent submarine volcano eruptions have caused some difficulty with regards to security and logistics. However the council are continual working to address these challenges. It is estimated that the Hydro-Wind Plant project has helped avoid the annual consumption of 6,000 tonnes of diesel, equalling 40,000 barrels of oil that would have to be imported, thus creating a savings of over 1.8 million euros a year.
  • Population:10,798 (2018)
  • Area: 268.71 km2(103.75 sq mi)
  • Link: http://www.goronadelviento.es/index.php
El Hierro, Canary Islands, Spain

Extremadura, Spain

Extremadura, Spain

  • Target: 100% renewable energy
  • Status: Achieved
  • RES: Solar energy, wind power and hydropower.
  • Implementation: The region of Extremadura in southwestern Spain is one of the country's leaders in renewable energy installation. In 2010, its electricity demand was met by entirely renewable sources for the first time. In that year, the higher than usual winds and rainfalls, made its wind power and hydroelectric plants more productive than usual. It even enabled Spain to export electricity to France for the first time. Under normal weather conditions, Extremadura would only meet 78% of power demand with renewable technologies. However, renewable electricity installation has progress rapidly in the region in the last decade, which will see 100% renewable energy achievable for the long-term . For example, Extremadura today region gathers over 40% of Spanish concentrated solar power (CSP) projects. Wind energy has also been boosted and in 2011 the first 97 wind parks were approved in Extremadura, with more than 1.700MW. Biomass is an emerging sector, due to the large quantity of available resources of the region. Many plants are being promoted and an average of 150MW is expected to be implanted in the next 3 years.
  • Population: 1,087,778 (2016)
  • Area: 41,634 km2 (16,075 sq mi)
  • Link: http://www.eneragen.org/en/members/extremadura-energy-agency/
Extremadura, Spain

Feldheim, Germany

Feldheim, Treuenbrietzen, Germany

  • Target: 100% renewable energy self-sufficient, climate neutral village.
  • Status: Achieved
  • RES: Wind farm and biogas-fired thermal power station.
  • Implementation: In 1997, Feldheim local council began by installing four wind turbines together with local residents and start-up company “Energiequelle”. By 2015, the number had expanded to 47 wind turbines with a total capacity of 74MW. A battery system saved surplus energy, enough to supply electricity to the village for two days. In 2008, the community decided to build a biogas plant to further reduce energy costs by providing district heating. The biogas-fired thermal power station covers the total heating demand of the village and the surplus heat is used to generate electricity. In that same year, a solar park was added to the system, producing electricity for 600 households. The rapid growth in renewable energy development led to the establishment of the Feldheim Energie GmbH & Co. KG by local citizens. The company planned to directly supply district heating and electricity to the community instead of just feeding power into the national grid. However, the regional utility company E.ON refused to sell nor lease the grid to the villagers. In response, with financial support of the EU, Feldheim decided to build their own electricity and district heating grid, which ultimately made them entirely energy-sufficient (in heating and electricity) and a climate neutral village by 2010. Feldheim sells 99% of the energy produced by its wind park, CO2 emissions have been drastically reduced, energy prices have dropped by a third and citizens are no longer affected by rising gas or oil prices.
  • Population: 128 (2010)
  • Area: 15,7 km²
  • Link: https://nef-feldheim.info/the-energy-self-sufficient-village/?lang=en
Feldheim, Treuenbrietzen, Germany

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

Georgetown, Texas, USA

Georgetown, Texas, USA

  • Target: Powered by 100 % renewable energy.
  • Status: Achieved
  • RES: Solar and windpower.
  • Implementation: The city of Georgetown in Texas is powered by 100 % renewable energy  through long-term deals to supply the city with solar and wind power. The decision was made when it was found that renewable energy would be cheaper and more reliable than fossil fuels. The cost of solar panels had fallen by more than 63 % since 2010, with wind showing similar declines. The intervention would secure fixed electricity rates similar to the current rate of about 9.6 cents per kilowatt-hour and would protect the city against fluctuations in the price of fossil fuels. Renewables would require much less water use than traditional power generation, which is a great advantage in drier states such as Texas. Investing in the city’s own renewable energy sources would also create great local economic opportunities. Many companies, especially those in the high-tech sector, have invested in green sources of power for their office and manufacturing facilities. Georgetown’s 100% renewable power supply have helped companies achieve their sustainability goals at a competitive price. A major success has been the city's agreement with SunEdison, a multinational solar energy company, to purchase the power generated from a 150MW solar farm. The deal with SunEdison will be enough to power more than 24,000 homes every year for the next 25 years. Coupled with a 2014 agreement with EDF to purchase a 140-megawatts wind power plant, Georgetown will be able to meet all of its electricity needs without coal, oil, natural gas, or nuclear power.
  • Population: 55,716 (2014)
  • Area: 54.3 sq mi (141 km2)
  • Link: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/mar/28/georgetown-texas-renewable-green-energy
Georgetown, Texas, USA

Greensburg, Kansas, USA

Greensburg, Kansas, USA

  • Target: 100% renewable energy
  • Status: Achieved
  • RES: Wind farm, small solar installations and biogas and biodiesel generator, LEED Buildings, geothermal heating, charging stations for electric vehicles.
  • Implementation: Greensburg is a small rural town in Kansas, USA. It is a story of triumph from tragedy. In 2007, a tornado hit Greensburg and severely damaged or destroyed 90% of its structures. Shortly after this tragedy, the community, led by Mayor Bob Dixon decided to rebuild Greensburg as a sustainable community. A 'Long-Term Community Recovery Plan' was developed in 2007 and in 2008 Greensburg residents developed a 'Sustainable Comprehensive Plan' for the city’s next 20 years that would focus on cost-effective energy efficiency and on operating with 100% RE. Today, Greensburg Wind Farm supplies 12.5 MW of RE to the town. The RE production is complemented by small solar installations, while biogas and biodiesel generators are used for emergency backup. The town uses only about 1/3 of the power generated and excess power is fed back to the grid and offered as RE credits for other customers. Greensburg's Plan mandated that all city-owned buildings had to achieve the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Platinum rating. This has resulted in 42% energy savings, with 13 community buildings saving a combined total of USD$200,000 in energy costs per year. Also many private buildings are exceeding 40% in energy savings. For the transport sector, the city encourages alternative and efficient transportation options, more pedestrian activity and promoting charging stations for electric vehicles. The creation of the Greensburg Plan essentially involved a range of stakeholders through many community meetings. It included city leaders, business owners, non-profit organisations (e.g. Greensburg Green Town), residents as well as experts from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). To implement Greenburg's Plan, the DOE/NREL team helped identify key steps: bringing stakeholders together, choosing the right leaders, creating a common vision, having goals, finding funds and writing an energy plan.
  • Population: 777 (2010)
  • Area: 1.48 sq mi (3.83 km2)
  • Link: http://www.greensburgks.org
Greensburg, Kansas, USA

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