The goal of the EU-Project Energy Region is the effective development of distributed renewable energy. Eleven teams from four countries take part – from Poland, the Czech republic, Slowenia and Germany.
My name is Kirsten Hasberg and I´m passionate about energy democracy. That´s why I´m visiting the climate protection manager of the municipality of Niestetal.
Arno Scheer, Climate Protection Manager:
„Hi Kirsten.“ „Hi Arno. Great to be here in Niestetal!“
„How does Niestetal contribute to the Energy Region Project?“
„Energy Region is a European project and already back in 2009, we created an energy plan for Niestetal containing around 20 measures describing what the municipality can do. Our declared objective is to be CO2 neutral in 2034.“
The municipality is doing a lot to reach this goal. For example with a support scheme for energy renovations. 10 percent of the costs for new windows and insulation were covered for this house. I´m meeting with home owner Manfred Glandien and craftsman Uwe Mergard.
Manfred Glandien, Home owner
Uwe Mergard, Craftsman
„How did you come up with the decision to do an energy refurbishment?“
„First, a neighbor told me that funding is available, and second, the windows were old and the roof insulation was defective.“
„How will this home renovation pay off, what´s your experience with your customers?“
„Well, quite clearly, 20 – 30 percent of energy costs are saved. On a technical level, so much has changed and improved.“
„And how many years does it take before this investment is recovered by the savings?“
„Well, I´d say 5-6 years, it depends...“
„That´s really a...“ „... a reasonable period of time.“
5 percent of the buildings in Niestetal were refurbished within the past two years. Therefore, the support scheme is one of the Best Practice examples of the Energy Region project. Just as the newly built daycare center with the cooperatively owned solar system on it´s roof. Werner Steinke of the cooperative shows me the installation.
Werner Steinke, Niestetal Energy Cooperative
„It´s running since August and supplies the daycare below with electricity. In particular the canteen kitchen which feeds 500 children here in Niestetal.“
Local self-reliance. This idea is practiced here. The solar system belongs to the citizens´energy cooperative and is leased to the municipality. The solar inverters are from the local company SMA Solar, supporting the local value chain.
„Here in and around Niestetal, a few thousand jobs depend on the production of solar inverters, so of course we have explicitly insisted on the use of SMA Solar inverters here.“
Up to 80 % of the electricity is used directly in the canteen kitchen of the daycare center. I´m taking a look at it with major Andreas Siebert.
Andreas Siebert, Mayor
„What significance does it have for Niestetal to open a daycare center which is virtually entirely supplied by it´s own solar system?“
„First of all it´s something very special to open a daycare center at all, and on top of that it´s of course particularly nice if one can show what´s possible with renewables.“
„That´s part of your master plan for Niestetal, right?“
„Yes, we are also building wind power stations here in Niestetal, which are urgently needed to achieve our greater goal of CO2-neutrality.“
Theodor and Tabea are among the first Kindergarten kids here. I want to show them the solar roof – and explain it to them.
„And then your food is cooked with the power from the sun!“
„Really?!“ „Yes, really!“
Even though they might not understand it yet: Their daycare center saves 600 tonnes of CO2 annually. And is hence a perfect example of the Project Energy Region.