Self-sufficiency in Energy – the village of Feldheim

If a zombie apocalypse would happen and all the institutions eventually fail, there is only one place that I would go for a sanctuary. That is the village of Feldheim. Why? For obvious reason. The town is energy self-sufficient, running their own grid, and even supply energy to the national grid. Plus, they have a huge field to grow crops and a farm to raise livestock. Good enough to survive, right?

Now, back to reality.

The CIPSEM EM-42 participants recently had an excursion to the village of Feldheim, City of Treuenbrietzen, in the Brandenburg region. The village of 130 residents is about 60 kilometers southwest of Berlin. The villagers are proud to claim that they are the first energy-independent and the only energy self-sufficient community in Germany and a pioneer in the field of bio energy. This pride was reverberated by Feldheim’s official tour officer, Kathleen Thompson, who enthusiastically presented the facts and figures about the renewable energy undertaking of Feldheim in her powerpoint presentations at the Neue Energien Forum building.

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This pride and success was made possible by the visionary entrepreneur and now Managing Director of his own multi-million company Energiequelle GmbH, Dipl. -Ing. Michael Raschemann. When he was still an engineering student in 1993, Engr. Raschemann approached the Mayoress of Feldheim to erect some wind turbines. It gained the approval and support of the city council and in 1995, 4 initial wind turbines began to produce electricity. Today, 55 wind turbines with a total installed capacity of 122.6 MW are sustaining more than enough the electricity need of Feldheim. It is for this reason that the local energy cooperative Feldheim Energie GmbH & Co. KG runned by the Feldheim village representatives, the municipality of Treuenbrietzen, local industry, and Energiequelle GmbH, supply its excess energy to the national grid, thereby helping Germany achieve energy sufficiency, too.

 

But self-sufficiency is clearly not enough for Feldheim as they have also built additional renewable energy sources from solar, biogas, and biomass in their portfolio. A total of 9,844 solar panels mounted on 284 trackers at the Solar Farm Selterhof produce a total power capacity of 2.25 MWp. A biogas plant with an installed electric power capacity of 526 kW and a biomass heating plant with installed capacities of 300 to 20,000 kW, on the other hand, are also installed within the village compound alongside the fancy painted battery storage building. This battery storage uses the lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 10 MW at an efficiency rate of >85% in storing the energy generated from the wind farm.

The success of Feldheim in achieving energy self-sufficiency is far from being perfect in the beginning, of course. Financial constraints proved to be an obstacle. But with the combined enabling policies of the Federal State of Brandenburg, the Federal Government of Germany, and the European Union, they have surpassed the trials and achieved what they have envisioned for their community… “a Feldheim that took a step into the future with courage, optimism, and readiness to engage in dialogue. A future not only for Feldheim, but for all. A future without nuclear power, coal, and oil. A future which is not at the cost of later generations”.

If you are curious about how much CO² reduction was made from all these renewable energies, Feldheim estimated a yearly reduction of around 208,000 tons of CO².

by Mr. Jun Piong (Philippines)

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SC 76: Excursion to the City of Chemnitz – A symbol of Renewable Energy Innovations and Energy Efficiency

By Enoch Bessah (Ghana)

The international short course of Renewable Energy Sources and Energy Efficiency [SC76], has been an exciting and insightful experience at CIPSEM for the 21 participants selected from 19 countries across five of the seven continents in the world. The first week was for familiarizing with the course content, Dresden, Germany and among participants. Through our various presentations (country report) and socialisation we shared about our culture and knowledge as well as resources for capacity building through one-on-one chats and lectures. After two weeks of lectures and field visits to German Environment Agency (UBA) at Dessau and German Biomass Research Centre (DBFZ) at Leipzig, it was an exciting moment to prepare early Monday morning to visit the Gold Municipality award winning city of Chemnitz. We were welcome at the City of Chemnitz Environment Agency by Dr. Thomas Scharbrodt, Head of the Environmental Authority in the city. As with other places we visited, the reception was “water, fruit drinks, coffee and tea” available on the table to energize us (keep us awake) throughout the presentations. I enjoyed this part of our excursion because it was an adaptation strategy to the weather by keeping the mouth busy and body warm.
The first presentation on energy transition in the City of Chemnitz was given by Ms. Carina Kühnel from their Environmental Authority. The energy and climate protection policy of the city is guided by three principles: environmental sustainability, social compatibility and economic efficiency and supply security. Chemnitz has a detailed integrated climate protection programme defined by the city council. Energy and climate change can be said to be intertwined. Solving the energy problem is addressing climate change according to my understanding of the climate protection programmes undertaken by the City of Chemnitz and the results achieved so far in their energy transition. The partners with various public and private institutions and organizations to implement defined programs. City of Chemnitz has exceeded the SEKo* 2020 target of 30% renewable electricity in the regional mix by 22% this year. The programmes of the city are worth emulating to tackle the global energy and climate problems at the municipal level.
The second presentation was on innovative heating solution at municipal kindergarten by Mr. Andreas Braumann. The concept of this innovation was to recover waste heat from data centre servers and use it at the municipal kindergarten in the City of Chemnitz. The first period of the implementation was 2011/2012, however, that of the kindergarten was on October 12, 2013. Recovered waste heat from servers is to be used in heating of buildings, domestic hot water and hot water systems. During the period of operation till November 15, 2013, the servers consumed 4.3 MWh of power and produced 10 MWh of heat. It is worth mentioning that useful heat from heating water during the same period was 2.85 MWh. Therefore, the waste recovery innovation from servers is the green way of increasing heat in buildings without direct consumption from electricity or other primary sources of energy. The Director of CIPSEM, Dr. Anna Goerner also made a presentation about solar construction work at FASA AG. Buildings are constructed with the architecture dimensions of solarthermal heating installations. This is another innovation to promote renewables in room heating. There are urban buildings with this design in the City of Chemnitz which we visited after the presentations.
IMG_6662After lunch, we visited three sites in the City of Chemnitz to see what was presented earlier at the Environment Agency. Our first stop was at the Solarthermal settlement developed by FASA AG. The solar systems are installed at an angle for maximum irradiation. Some of the buildings were still under construction which gave us an opportunity to see what is being done as presented in class. The completed solar residence (Solardomizil) and urban houses (Stadthäuser) were already occupied. This is an indication of the level of commitment of citizens to the energy transition plan. Although, Germany has not yet achieved national target in energy but there has been improvement towards the climate actions plan fulfilment. The second stop was at the battery storage system (eins) in the city of Chemnitz. The battery storage system has a rated capacity of 16 MWh. The response frequency of the battery system to changes on the grid is in split seconds. The battery in the system helps to prevent “blackout”, thus guaranteeing reliable power supply from the grid.  Our last site visit was to the municipal waste water treatment plant.
chThe plant incorporates energy efficiency in its operations as it recovers energy from the sludge through biogas generation. Waste water treatment is energy demanding. However, this plant has two of 36000 m3 tanks for biological treatment to generate biogas within 30 days. Electricity produced from the biogas generation covers two-thirds of the electricity demand in the facility. One thing that intrigued me at the waste water treatment plant was the information about the collection of rainwater from the city at the plant. This system although was not elaborated in the visit because it was not a focus, showed me, one practical and proven measure to mitigate urban flood in developing countries.

Our excursion to the city of Chemnitz enlightened us on energy transition at the municipal level which was aligned to the National energy targets and climate action plans. Our since appreciations goes to the CIPSEM team (lead on the trip: Dr. Anna Görner and Ms. Tamara Karp) for successfully organising this visit.

Terratec – 2017 and the Circular Economy: The Journey of many Colours

By Kabiito Bendicto

Life is a journey, right? But you cannot make it alone! On the 6th, March 2017 was yet another day for a journey to Leipzig and indeed, ‘I was’ because ‘we were’. Team CIPSEM -2017 hit the road to Leipzig, ably led by Dr. Andre Lindner with Mr. Bernd Kaute behind the steering wheel to the exhibition grounds (Leipziger Messe) for Terratec-2017. There, in the huge glass-domed exhibition hall was innovators and pioneers displaying and educating the public about their efforts towards making ‘closed-loop economy’ a reality. And thank God, we were welcome!
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Our journey to Terratec 2017 on 6th March, 2017 was directly related to the classes and excursions we had had with Dr. Dietmar Lohmann in January and February, 2017, in which we had interesting discussions about the anthropological footprint on nature and the need to do something about it–may be  the ‘cradle to cradle approach’!!?? By extension though, this journey can be situated in the larger context of the emerging conceptual discourse of the ‘circular economy’, which ought to provide a foundation for fast-pacing state-of-the art environmental management approaches in Germany. This is currently at the heart of the Dresden University of Technology and many other Germany academic and professional institutions such as Interessengemeinschaft KURIS. This development is being championed by the Institute of Environmental Management and Circular Economy under the Material Fluxes and Circular Economy Initiative, and other governmental, individual and corporate establishments.

By both necessity and design we had Dr. Lohmann Dietmar for our classes about waste management. A passionate educationalist deeply enthusiastic about ‘wealth management’ (sorry, ‘waste management’); for he believes, after all, that ‘waste is wealth’.  He stands squarely opposed to the old ‘cradle to grave’ economic system, thus an ardent supporter of the ‘cradle to cradle’ economic vision, widely popularized in the publications of Micheal Braungart and William McDonough since 2002. This need for change is enhanced by the approaching resource scarcity and the human ingenuity and willingness to get on top of the faults of the old economy system that fast turns resources into waste. May be Erol Ozan was right in his assertion that “some beautiful paths can’t be discovered without getting lost.” Now that we got lost, we hope here we arrive at the ‘right’ path; ‘the closed-loop economy’.

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The exhibition brought together 129 exhibitors between 5-7 March, 2017, who  included; Green Ventures, Energy World, the Saxony Federal Ministry of Environment, BAUER Resources GmbH , MTM Plastics –the Upcyclers, Multipet- Multiport Kunststoffe, Reluma International GmbH, Purus Plastics, Baufeld, Gutezeichen Kompost, Interessengemeinschaft KURIS, Veolia, Dresden University of Technology, Hochschule Nordhausen University of Applied Sciences, International Solid waste Association, and the list goes on… The 129 exhibitors were displaying technologies and techniques applicable to solid waste management, biomass decomposition and biogas generation, waste water treatment, wood, plastic, electronic and oil recycling, among others. Resource efficiency and renewable energy-related innovations were at display too, alongside water treatment and purification technologies all under one roof. The audience was both local and international, with provisions (in the upper chamber of the facility) for international networking and information sourcing. With the guidance of Dr. Lohmann, we visited quite a member of stales for brief inputs; including one presided over by a CIPSEM alumnus Dr. Uwe Schlenker of BAUER Resources GmbH.

Interestingly, this exhibition was regarded not just as small,but as ‘very small’ by ‘Germany measures’; especially in Leipzig, historically known as a city for trade fairs. By 1610, Leipzig was being referred to as “the famous trade fair city” by Friedrich Taumann.  Christian August Clodius in 1779 wrote about it as “the city where so many capable strangers arrived with a walking staff in their hand, and through talent, hard work and God’s blessings, acquired a ton of gold”. For big spenders, there awaits the mighty IFAT in Munich in May 2018.Iit is expected to be a mega ‘closed-loop economy’ exhibition.  Our reporter expects it to be really big, given his 2016 experience. The same kind attracted 3096 exhibitors in 2016, exhibiting in fields of water supply, waste water management and waste management, with a total of 137,000 visitors (only!). Bye for now, see you in Munich.

Berlin Adventure

By Gulnara Anapiiaeva (Kyrgyzstan)

It’s mostly known that capital city of each country has more options on each sector, as it concentrates governmental and non-governmental institutions. CIPSEM organized a study trip to Berlin between October 20 and 21, 2016 and we, the participants of SC69, could have this opportunity to visit several federal and non-governmental organizations. In addition to this, we could explore Berlin’s historical and cultural sites between courses.
Our first meeting was with Mrs. Königsberg, who took us to discover the nearby surroundings of the BMUB (Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety), since it is located in an area having historical traces of the border zones of Eastern and Western Berlin. Mrs. Königsberg was very enthusiastic to speak about the situation in Berlin during the 1962-1989 years. Participants were eager to listen and asked questions even though it was cold and cloudy outside in Berlin.

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The next meeting was followed after the lunch break, which helped everybody to warm up and restore energy! We were well surprised to discover a small, but important community grey-water recycling center in the down town of Berlin managed by Mr. Nolde. This meeting was concerned to energy and recycling. Mr. Nolde explained all aspects of grey-water recycling in it’s three steps. Personally, I was surprised that there is another view to recycling of water in Germany, as it’s also an energy source!!! Overall, Mr. Nolde explained also water recycling challenges and new water concepts and regulations in Germany. The other discover was that this facility was managed only by one person and it was well automated and organized.
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Afterwards we could go back to our hotel by sightseeing Potsdam Square, the Holocaust memorial, Brandenburg Gate, the German Parliament Building – “Bundestag” and the Chancellor’s office.

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The second day started with a visit to the German Energy Agency (DENA), where Mr. Schmidt presented this very institution. The expertise, consultancy as well as developing strategy and monitoring of renewable energy sector in Germany.
The final visit was at the German Association of Energy Cooperatives, which is located next to the Brandenburg Gate. The participants could learn projects, tasks and functions of more than 800 cooperatives in the renewable energy sector of Germany. Having finished our visit, we said each other ‘see you again at CIPSEM’, since the majority of participants rested in Berlin or went to other cities such as Amsterdam and Paris for the weekend.

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At last, I can say that we were warmly welcomed it was a very helpful visit at each organization during the two-day gateway in Berlin.