Lake Constance 100% Renewable Energy
2.2 MW Solar Park in Rickelshausen, Photo credit: solarcomplex
Wind Power in St. Georgen, Photo credit: solarcomplex
2 MW Central wood chips Heating station in Randegg, Photo credit: solarcomplex
1 MW Wood chip heating container in Mauenheim, Photo credit: solarcomplex
100% Renewable Energy by 2030
Region of Lake Constance, Germany
The region of Lake Constance is located in the northern foot of the Alps in Germany and has a population of 565,000. In 2000, local citizens founded a private company called solarcomplex AG, which designs, builds, operates, and finances renewable electricity and heat projects. solarcomplex aims to supplying the region's energy needs with 100% renewable sources by 2030. To the extent possible, those resources must be local.
solarcomplex began with 20 shareholders and 37,500 euros in equity capital. Today more than 760 shareholders share an equity capital of more than 5.7 million euros and have invested more than 90 million euros in renewable energy projects for electricity and heat supply in the Lake Constance region. As an incentive to finance its projects, solarcomplex provide investors with a "sunny 4% interest rate" plus equity shares. Besides the benefits to shareholders and the environmental benefits, solarcomplex's vision also has a high regional economic value, as it eliminates the need to import energy and maintains local the purchasing power.
"A regional energy transition by 2030 is both technically and financially feasible. Whether it is mental also feasible, Time will tell. The major hurdles are in our heads. "Bene Müller, Vorstand solarcomplex
solarcomplex is on its way to becoming the regions first supplier of renewable energies. To begin with, it has set a requirement of reducing power and heat demand by about half with efficiency and conservation measures. Renewable energy projects so far include:
10MW rooftop solar
10MW solar parks
The first citizen-funded biogas plant in the state Baden-Württemberg, where part of Lake Constance is located, was built in the town of Überlingen. It produces approximately 2.5 million kWh a year, along with waste heat that is piped to a local recreational facility, which replaces approximately 25,000 liters of fuel oil annually. Another biogas plant in the town of Gailingen began operating in 2008 and provides provides heat to a nearby rehabilitation clinic.
An old hydroelectric station was reactivated, adding a fish ladder to protect aquatic life. The project generates enough energy for more than 200 housholds
Large wood energy plants based on wood pellets or wood chips generate approximately 9 MWth (megawatt thermal) annually. Wood chips are dried by using biogas waste heat, increasing the energy efficiency of the biomass. A pilot project has been created on 7 acres to sustainably grow wood for fuel.
8 towns provide all of their energy needs from local renewable energy sources, such as biogas power and heat, woody biomass, a district heating grid, and photovoltaics. More towns are in progress.
solarcomplex has also created two educational intiatives to further promote renewable energy in the region. Free van tours allow locals and vacationers to see the whole range of renewable energy use in the western Lake Constance region: water, wind and solar power plants,wood pellets and wood chips heating, biogas, bio-villages, rape seed oil mill, solar ferry, etc. solarcomplex also provides regional schools with free teaching tools, such as field trips, lectures and films on DVD.