Feldheim, a German village south of Berlin with all of 150 residents, isnt all that unusual. It has nothing in the way of stunning landmarks or historic wonders except for one thing. Its residents built their own smart grid. Tired of buying 40,000 gallons of heating oil every year, the community now has so much power that most of the wind power it generates, roughly 99% of it, is sold to the grid, according to an article in Business Insider.
A wind farm, built in partnership with wind farm developer Energiequelle, is augmented with a solar park, and in winter a biogas plant fueled with pig and cattle manure and shredded corn provides heat. A woodchip plant that burns forestry waste adds to the mix when the days are coldest. All of which is coordinated by a local energy cooperative.
An EV charging station has been added since and 10 MW lithium-ion storage battery has been ordered from Korea. The battery will give residents a 48-hour supply of backup power but most of the time it will be rented to a local utility to help balance grid fluctuations.
As the Business Insider story says, it wasnt easy for the village to achieve energy independence. Residents took out bank loans and subsidies to finance their smart grid.
Theres seems to be no debate in Feldheim about whether the switch was a good idea, as there is in Germany overall where arguments continue over the massive changes the countrys shift to renewables has brought.
As Germans and others generally fret over the positives and negatives of its ambitious green energy program and the delays, unexpected costs and equally unexpected consequences, the proud residents of tiny Feldheim show off their work to a steady stream of curious visitors. That alone seems noteworthy.
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14 June 2017