Renewable Energy Regions and Municipalities, Germany

Keywords: renewable energy region, 100% renewable energy self sufficiency region, Germany, renewable energy self sufficiency region in Germany.

Federal republic of Germany is a country in Central Europe (Figure 1). It is bordered by (Figure 2):[1]

  • North: North Sea, Denmark, and Baltic Sea
  • East: Poland, Czech Republic
  • South: Austria, Switzerland
  • West: France,Luxembourg, Belgium, Netherland

 

The territory of Germany is about 357,021 km2 and is influenced by temperate seasonal climate. It is the largest population among the member states of the European Union and home to the third-largest number of international migrants worldwide.[1]

Renewable Energy Development

Since 1997, Germany and the other states of the European Union have been working towards a target of 12% renewable energy electricity in 2010. That target has been achieved in 2007 when the share reached 14%. The share of renewable energy has increased from 6.3% in 2000 to 15% in 2008.1 The German government increased the target for renewable energy to 27% by 2020 and at least 45% by 2030.[3]

Renewable Energy Regions and Municipalities

There are two institution published the list of 100% renewable energy regions and municipalities in Germany. They are deENet Kassel University and International Solar Energy Association, German Section (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Sonnenenergie e.V.).

100% Renewable Energy Regions

The University of Kassel and the non-profit society for the promotion of decentralized energy technology(deENet) conducted joint project “Prospect for development of sustainable 100% renewable energy regions in Germany” documented, analyzed, and rated regional activities in full supply with renewable energy and supported regional actors on the conversion of energy supply. There are 82 of 100% renewable energy regions and local authorities were interviewed. This interview utilized 54 questionnaires as the basis data for the following presented results. Some of those substantial results are:

  • 80% of regions in Germany have taken such political decision or they have planning to switch the energy to renewable. In many regions, political decision represents an important milestones on the way to 100% renewable energy. What is the role and the important of political decisions in the process of energy conversion and which advantages and disadvantages may be associated with it for each arrangement of decision, are still needed to be analyzed.
  • Distribution of renewable energy regions last year has a high dynamic growing. During 2005-2008 the number of decision to be 100% renewable energy regions increased up to 6 decisions per year (averagely).
  • Conflicts and political difference are not the first barriers in the development of objective concepts and decisions, but coordination or procurement of funds.
  • The main motives for the conversion of energy supply on renewable energy are to increase regional added value, independence from fossil fuels, to contribute in sustainable regional development. One motive which is less significant but still important is to achieve climate change objectives.
  • Most regions start with conversion of energy supply to renewable energy. Almost half of the region interviewed were busy with concept development and planning or communication and public relations. These are not exclusive, but at least it is the tendency at the beginning of the implementation process.
  • It is moderately important for the conversion of the energy system on renewable energy for most regions to have their own municipal utilities and also own electricity and gas network.

In the analysis, definition of 100% renewable energy regions used were:[4]

  • regions who were first taken decision, in the next decade those regions have been sustainable and completely converted the energy to renewable; electricity, heat, and mobility only from renewable energy. This particularly includes the widest reduction of energy consumption through conservation and efficient use of energy. The energy should be environmental and health friendly. The energy should be from local sources and it boosts the local economy. The implementation of an energy conversion has wide support from regional actors and the development objectives in the minds of the region citizens are anchored.
  • regions who have have carried out implementation activities, measures, and programs to realize sustainable energy system; at least in the form of action concepts.
  • regions who on the state level have reached milestones on the path to sustainable renewable-energy region and have approached their goal already.

The change on energy in some regions are still in the beginning, therefore not all the criteria fulfilled by the region. The concrete classification of 100% renewable energy regions in this project are the regional objectives, activities, achievement., target and action level. Only regions which have sufficient data will be included in the list of 100% renewable energy regions

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There are 34 renewable energy regions and 10 renewable energy local authorities represented in the map. Another 46 communities are not represented as sub-regions within the represented regions. The total area of the map recorded in 100% renewable energy regions occupies 10% of Germany, 6.9% of the German population (5.7 million inhabitants) live in these regions. The 100% renewable energy regions are distributed all over Germany, with some accumulation is observed in southern Bavaria. In Saarland and Thuringia have been no 100% renewable energy region identified. List of 100% renewable energy regions and municipalities in Germany can be viewed in Table 1 – 3.[4]

Energy Map

In 2009, there was a site launched by International Solar Energy Association, German Section (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Sonnenenergie e.V.). This site publised renewable energy states, cities, and districts in Germany. In the publication, they justified that in fact they did not know which regions have achieved 100% self sufficiency, the map will show how close regions are with 100% self sufficiency.

Data input used come from EEG reports and E.ON. In the presenting data, there are problems encountered with the data quality of the EEG reports, many systems are currently still associated with the wrong community. Especially in the Transpower-Area (E.ON), where only postal codes are published, a detailed regional allocation is not possible. Therefore, there are extreme distortion in many areas. Also hydro-power is not included into EEG reports, this results there is no hydro-power to be accounted in this list.[5]

The states, cities, and districts are ranked into top ten based on rate of self sufficiency. Besides, inside the region there are municipalities and cities which have achieved also 100% self sufficiency. The date used is always renewed every year, due to that reason number chosen is the new one (28.03.2010). Top ten cities and districts can be viewed in Table 4.[5]

 

Except 100% renewable energy regions, energy map also provides renewable energy regions which the rate below 100%. Details and type of renewable energy implemented are also available. In general, almost all regions in Germany are renewable energy regions, whatever is the rate of self-sufficient.

Main Success Factors

Success factor of renewable energy development in Germany is due to “Renewable Energy Act” implementation and Feed-in electricity tariffs. Renewable energy act states that people who produce energy in their own homes can sell their ‘product’ at fixed prices for a period of 20 years.

Feed-in tariffs supports the development of renewable energy. In 2005, 10% electricity came from renewable energy, 70% of them was supported by feed-in tariffs.

The policy also set for people to buy energy generated from renewable resources first before buying from non-renewable resources.

Ongoing Experiment “How Germany Can Power itself by Renewable EnergyRegarding the future target and the possibility to gain it, scientist from Kassel University gave a brief description how Germany can power itself entirely by renewable energy. In an ongoing experiment ‘Combined Power Plant’, they link 36 biogas plants, wind, solar and hydro power installation in a distributed network (Figure 2).[8]

Figure 2. Fully Renewable[8]

The test project is scaled to meet 1/10,000th of the electricity demand in Germany. This scale corresponds to the annual electricity requirements of a small town with around 12,000 households. Projections show Germany has enough domestic resources to scale up production of renewable and replace all fossil fuels and nuclear power (Figure 3). The scientist argued Germany can achieve full renewable based energy autonomy by mid of century.[8]