Community Energy Scotland’s Julia Guttierez has recently returned from Feldheim, Germany, where she led a study trip for 14 delegates from Scotland.
Representatives of Scottish community organisations, housing associations and from Local Energy Scotland saw at first-hand the benefits which renewable energy has made to a German locality.
The delegation spent a day with Werner Frohwitter and Jürgen Wendler from Energiequelle, the Mayor of Treuenbrietzen and his Energy Manager hearing about the ‘local energy economy’ which has been created in Feldheim.
Laura Nicolson, of Community Energy Scotland, who was part of the Scottish contingent, explained ‘Feldheim is a small village within the larger town of Treuenbrietzen which operates a microgrid and district heat network to supply their residents and businesses with electricity and heat from 100% renewable sources. In 2007 together with the local agricultural co-operative (which grows energy crops and supply waste) and local renewable energy developers, Energiequelle, they set up Feldheim Energie.
Feldheim Energie is now an independent local, utility company owned and managed by the citizens of Feldheim. It now supplies electricity at up to 40% cheaper than typical prices in Germany. The company is not for profit but they say ‘the profit is the cheap energy’.
Laura commented: ‘We saw various technologies from a large scale (in Scottish terms!) Wind Farm and PV to a large scale battery which was under construction (10MW). We were one of the first delegations to visit the newly-opened New Energy Forum, a centre in Feldheim to learn and share ideas about the energy transition in Germany
“It was a great opportunity to learn about how complex energy projects can be, that no one size fits all, to seize opportunities with multiple partners and share ideas.
“There is scope for potential future partnerships and developments both between Feldheim and Scotland and also between the delegates which the trip brought together. Ideas include bringing a local renewable energy developers and small scale private owners to Feldheim to encourage innovation and partnership working, and reviewing policy to see how the Feldheim model could be adapted for Scottish communities.’