100% Renewable Energy District
Pre-school Dannenberg |Photo credit: wendenenergie.de
Biogas fueling station | Photo credit: Angelika Straub
Biogas plant Meetschow| Photo credit: wendenenergie.de
100% Renewable Energy Goal Achieved:
100% Renewable Power, and On Its Way to Achieving 100% Renewable Heat and Transportation
The district of Lüchow-Dannenberg is located at the far eastern tip of Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen) in the center of Germany. The district is comprised of 27 cities with a total population of 50,000 and has long played role in Germany's energy policy. Conventional energy policy contributions include the city of Gorleben's interim nuclear waste storage program. Now Lüchow-Dannenberg is leading the way on renewable energy.
In 1997, a working group on climate protection and energy set an ambitious target of meeting 100% of Lüchow-Dannenberg's electricity needs with renewable energies. The district was motivated in part by desiring to improve environmental stewardship, and in part by needing to remedy high regional unemployment.
On May 1, 2011, Lüchow-Dannenberg reached its goal - 4 years ahead of schedule. The district's power mix is a diverse mix of technologies that generates 300 million kWh annually and helps ensure stability and reliability. 3% of the mix comes from 630 solar PV systems totaling 10 MW. 34% comes from 24 biogas facilities totally 15 MW. And 63% comes from 71 wind turbines totaling 108 MW. There is also some small river-based hydropower.
Lüchow-Dannenberg has taken its renewable energy efforts beyond electricity to also include the heating and transportation sectors. For instance, the village of Jameln has a biogas fueling station for vehicles, and the village of Püggen heats all its homes with a combined heat and power plant. One school in Dannenberg is heated entirely from wood chips derived from local forest waste.
The district has also created a higher education institution called the Renewable Energy Academy, which has programs all the way up through Masters level and which includes a broad range of coursework pertaining to renewables, including science, law, finance and management.