Alheim is a small town of 4,985 (2015) inhabitants located in northern Hesse. Back in 1994, it’s municipal council decided strict environmental impact guidelines for construction that all construction projects bust be subjected to environmental impact assessment. 10 years later, the town defined clear targets concerning the energy supply renewable sources.
The long-term target is to power Alheim entirely from renewable energy. The intermediate goals include raising the current share of 75 % of electricity supply to 100 % until 2030. Currently, 15 % of heat comes from renewable energy. The overall energy need shall be covered by renewables by 2050. Out of 12.2 Mio kWh produced from renewable energy, solar photovoltaic produces 6.9 Mio kWh, solar thermal energy 1.1 Mio kWh, biogas technology 4,1 Mio kWh and hydro 4.294 kWh.
Alheim has profited greatly from the policy framework advancing renewable energy as it has promoted the local economy and created jobs in the region. Further added value was created by using the heat generated in biogas plants for heating in industry buildings, thus strengthening the local industry.
The advancement of renewable energy is part of a broader strategy to promote a lifestyle that is compatible with social and ecological ideals. Ever since Alheim joined the decentralized energy revolution, children were taught about renewable energy in the local schools and kindergardens. Solar panels do not only produce energy but also provide shadow to protect organically farmed chicken living on the fields. At night, Alheim’s streets are illuminated with energy-efficient LED lightning and strict ecological guidelines for construction and renovations have been in place since 1994. Alheim’s website is yet another indicator of the town’s comprehensive approach: it features “Climate Protection To Go” including tips on energy-efficient driving and cooking.
One of the decisive factors for Alheim’s policy on renewable energy has been the political leadership of Mayor Georg Lüdtke who came into office in 1996 and has been committed to the idea ever since.
Currently, Alheim is deepening its cooperation with the neighboring regions Bebra and Rotenburg, acting as a role model and strengthening the alliance for the transformation towards decentralized energy supply. Let’s jointly support Alheim to inspire many more regions to secure a 100% renewable energy supply!
Thursday, June 26th, 2015