District of Rhein-Hunsrück / Germany
The district of Rhein-Hunsrück is full of power
District of Rhein-Hunsrück
In the past, the Rhein-Hunsrück district had to import nearly all the energy required to meet its needs. Together with its 103,000 inhabitants it, therefore, set itself the task of moving to regional, renewable resources for energy supply. The district properties serve as models for others in this process. Apart from systematic energy management to control energy consumption, all schools and administration buildings have been gradually adapted to using renewable energy since 2002. These efforts were accompanied by a decision on an energy plan policy for local and regional waste management based on material and resource recovery of the local district council in 2006. The wind farms currently installed or being built will move the district to becoming an exporter of energy by 2012. It even aims to increase its annual renewable power generation to as much as 236 % by 2014 by making use of the local planning laws and speeding up planning permission for proposed developments. Solar power will be increasing steadily by the '1,000 roofs initiative', which is supported by the local German banks 'Volks- und Raiffeisenbanken' and the local crafts industry. Solar heating, heat pumps and biomass-based district heating systems form the basis to provide the district's heat demand. The use of bio wastes such as garden waste and wood is exemplary. The districts comprehensive set of measures adds considerably to the increase in regional economic prosperity, avoids the cost of importing energy and also creates new jobs. The exemplary concept shows that shifting to renewable energy can be accomplished only with the participation and commitment of towns.