One village in Germany is producing more energy than it needs. Best of all, it’s alternative energy sourced from clean sources.
Wildpoldsried, located in the southern German region known as Bavaria and where 2,600 people live, produces 321 per cent more energy than it needs. As a result, it can make money out of this energy surplus by selling back into the grid for a cool 4 million Euro, or US$5.7 million (that’s US$2,192 per person) per year.
The green initiative started in 1997 when the local council set out to create new jobs, attract new industries and keep it all local at the same time. Since then, Wildpoldsried has equipped nine new community buildings with solar panels, built four biogas digesters and installed seven wind mills. 190 private households have solar panels and the district benefits from small hydroplants, ecological flood control and a natural waste water system. The village is so successful that it has created a mission statement called WIR-2020, or Wildpoldsried Innovative Leadership, to inspire others.
The local community has received several awards for its conservation and alternative energy groundbreaking work and they visit other village councils to show them their climate protection (‘klimaschutz’) initiative. Mayor Zengerle even has been traveling abroad to inspire other communities to go green and make money at the same time.
And what is the main lesson we can learn from the citizens of Wildpoldsried? “The mitigation of climate change in practice can only be implemented with the citizens and with the Village Council behind them 100 per cent of the way. This model cannot be forced from only one side,” Zengerle told Biocycle.
Article by Antonio Pasolini, a Brazilian writer and video art curator based in London, UK. He holds a BA in journalism and an MA in film and television.