A small Bavarian town in Germany called Wildpoldsried produces 321% more energy than it uses, from renewable and natural sources. It sells the excess energy for about $5.7 million each year. The point they are at now in terms of energy production and independence was reached by starting a plan about fourteen years ago to develop more clean energy sources and green building projects. The town with a population of about 2,500 started work on a huge community initiative involving the construction of new buildings and energy sources. The new buildings included a school, community hall and gym, and they employ solar panels, as do 190 private households. Five biogas digesters, nine windmills, three hydroelectric projects, ecological flood control and a natural waste water treatment system were part of the plan for energy independence. It all has worked well, and the town is debt-free. This is a community that previously was focused on farming for most incomes.
They actually formed several local companies to construct, install and manage their wind turbines, with local residents as investors. A national policy encouraged homeowners to install solar panels by making them cost-effective, “The Mayor started asking more citizens to place panels on their roofs. Even I installed solar panels on my house because the feed-in tariff contract was guaranteed. I went to the bank, opened a line of credit and bought my panels. They will be paid off in a few more years from the revenue I have been receiving from the power company.” (Source: JGpress.com) The town also reduced CO2 emissions by 65 percent, and by next year that figure might actually drop to a 125% reduction, if they continue making more efficiency improvements.
Their plans may include adding a Siemens Smart Grid, and 37 electric cars with a solar charging facility. Wildpoldsried is rightfully becoming a global example of clean energy production and sustainable development.
Image Credit: Architecturememe.com