A small German community has invested in local energy independence and is serving as a model for other communities worldwide.
The 150 residents of Feldheim, Germany, made out-of-pocket investments to build a community renewable energy grid, which helped the town become completely energy independent. Instead of relying on fossil fuels or nuclear power, the community has built 47 wind turbines, an array of solar panels, a biogas heating facility, and an electric vehicle charging system.
Each resident contributed about $4,000 to build the electric grid in 2010, which is fed by the local wind turbines and solar array. While this is a steep personal investment, electrical prices are about 30 percent less than average because the community has complete control over prices. Even though the residents have more control over prices, which is decided in community meetings, they have a greater responsibility for carefully balancing the grid and predicting their electric use.
Feldheim residents heat their homes for about 10 percent less than the average German because of the town’s biogas facility. The facility burns gasses from the digestion of locally produced agricultural wastes, which provides heat for every building in the town.
The town serves as an inspiration for like-minded communities worldwide. Thousands of visitors, experts, and polititcians visit Feldheim each year to learn about implementing renewables into local infrastructure. The exact energy independent model used in Feldheim may not work everywhere, but leaders and residents hope their dedication and success will help jumpstart a revolution in sustainability and local energy independence around the globe.
German town goes off the grid, achieves energy independence, Treehugger.com
Feldheim, German Village, Powered by Renewable Energy, Huffington Post