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Coelbe - 100% Renewable Community by 2040

The solar field with 13,490 solar panels that cover the bottom of a filled gravel pit. | Photo by Gemeinde Coelbe

Passive solar building in Cölbe | Photo by Hydro

100% Renewable Energy Goal:
100% renewable energy overall for the community by 2040

Coelbe, Germany


Coelbe, Germany is made up of six rural communities - Bernsdorf, Buergeln, Coelbe, Reddehausen, Schoenstadt and Schwarzenborn.- with a total of about 7000 inhabitants. In fall 2011, the Coelbe government unanimously decided across political party lines to set a community wide target of using only efficiently used renewable energy resources to meet demand by the year 2040.

Coelbe is located in the state of Hessen, which similarly decided in January 2012 to transition to 100% renewable energy by 2050. 

Coelbe has created a climate protection plan that lays out how they will achieve their energy targets. The plan takes into account several key factors, including appropriate technologies, costs, integration with climate goals, public relations, and action steps.

Coelbe anticipates that by transitioning to renewable energy and efficiency upgrades, it will save up to € 5 million in energy costs annually, which will add value for individuals, the community and the region.

Milestones achieved so far include solar panel installations on several municipal properties. The largest generates enough electricity to meet more than 10% of Coelbe's power demand. It is jointly owned by the municipality and by individuals who have personally invested in shares or certificates that generate 6.8% returns, ensuring that the local citizens and community reap the economic benefits of the solar system.

Another example of community's energy transition is a heating grid in Schoenstadt built by the village cooperative, fueled by wood chips from the local saw mill, and which supplies heat for 80% of the village buildings.

Such projects have attracted visitors from other countries to come learn best practices and have engaged local community members to volunteer to help manage them.

See the video and links below to learn more.

The Energy Transition in Cölbe, Germany - video with subtitles from Energy Democracy TV on Vimeo.

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