Germany: A remarkable independent community

imagesNinety kilometers southwest of Berlin there is a community called Feldheim which can be great example for other cities too. But what is so unique about Feldheim? The 150 residents of the community decided to invested their own money to build their own power grid in order to enjoy lower prices for electricity and heat in the future without asking any support by the state. 

More wind turbines from homes

Actually, the wind turbines are more in number than the number of homes since a farm of 47 windimages (1) turbines exists which welcomes the visitors.  The mix of energy self-sufficiency and reliance on renewables attracted 3,000 visitors in 2011. Visitors came from North and South Korea, South America, Canada, Iran, Iraq and Australia, while about half of the visitors are from Japan. Their main target is to be familiar with the local experience of integrating renewables infrastructure in order to wean nuclear. The head of the local fire station Thomas Gluck admits that the sound from the turbines may be disturbing, especially when the wind is blowing in the city, but the intensity is low and quickly you can get used to it. 

Cheaper electricity by 30%

cheaperAt the edge of the town a PV array fed into the grid. Each resident gave 3000 Euro in 2010 to build an independent power grid. Electricity prices are on average 30% cheaper than those prevailing in the German market and the local council decides about them. Each household consumes under specific quotas to ensure the stability of the network.

In the city you can also find electric vehicle charging stations, while the next step is to develop storage facilities for energy production two days to circumvent regulations that regulate and effectively discourage speculative selling energy back to the main network of systems like that of Feldheim. At the same time, the debate continues on how the legislative framework conducive electricity monopolies and discourage independent production.

Heat from biogas recycle agricultural waste

The residents of Feldheim also enjoy heating 10% cheaper than the average German. A biogas plant burns the gases produced by the digestion of the local farm, organic waste and is connected to every household in the village. 

This model may not be feasible to work everywhere. Agricultural waste, vast tracts of land and the mobilization and cooperation among residents are key success factors of the project, often scarce.

However, the German city is a remarkable model of sustainability and energy independence for the entire world.

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