September 28, 2022

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The small village facing the electricity crisis alone

The small village facing the electricity crisis alone

If you drive 1 hour southwest of Berlin, you will reach a small village called Feldheim. It is easy to recognize him, as he bathes in windmills.

Visitors from all over the world come here to learn about what the residents have managed.

– That’s because we use the resources we have locally and don’t rely on oil or gas from Russia or the Arab world, Mayor Michael Knapp tells Deutsche Welle.

Feldheim does not buy electricity. Electricity is produced there, in a small village with too few residents to even have a Wikipedia page.

Already started in 1995

However, she has a page for the electric company set up by the village. There we can read that the Neue Energien Forum Feldheim has 55 wind turbines and 9,844 solar park units.

It started with four, in 1995.

Engineering student Michael Rachiman and his wife Doreen were looking for a place where they could invest in renewable energy. The flat and often windy terrain of Feldheim was ideal.

– We were looking for an indoor place with good winds. We found it here, says Doreen Rachman.

Although some of the 130 residents were skeptical, both about the level of noise and its effect on nature, they allowed themselves to be persuaded.

– We talked together and were able to find a compromise that everyone agreed on, says the mayor.

Doubts vanished

Four windmills were built with funding from the Raschemann couple. Then the citizens together paid for the Fifth Mill.

– As soon as people here began reaping the benefits of these windmills, which are not that beautiful after all, the talk about the annoying aspects of them ended, says resident Joachim Schmidt to Deutsche Welle.

Solar cells: The village has installed nearly 10,000 solar modules, in addition to windmills. Photo: Michael Sohn/AP/NTB

A few years later, the village expanded the investment to include biogas, so that the residents are now self-sufficient in the heat.

The biggest obstacle along the way was the refusal of electricity company E.ON to sell or lease its electricity grid. With an investment of €3,000 from each household, and support from the European Union and other sources, Feldheim was able to build his own power grid. It was launched in 2010.

Thanks to its own heating network and its own electricity network, today Feldheim is completely self-sufficient.

– Doreen Rachmann says it is completely unique in Germany.

earn money

Already in 2015, the production of the power company in Feldheim was at such a level that 99 percent of the electricity could be sold. The village currently produces enough electricity for 55,000 residents.

Germany, like many other countries in Europe, is largely dependent on Russian energy.

Vladimir Putin’s decision to attack Ukraine, completely unjustified, with sanctions against Russia and the Russians’ reaction to the sanctions, combined with climate change, have contributed to a significant increase in the cost of electricity in Europe in the past year.

Feldheim survived this. According to Deutsche Welle, their electricity costs are only a third of what the rest of Germany pays.

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