German Village Produces 321% in Surplus Energy
The farming village of Wildpoldsried is outdoing itself. By producing 321% of its needed energy, the village of 2,600 citizens is generating a not-so-modest annual revenue of $5.7 million. Because of this, they have been able to invest in new municipal infrastructure without going into debt, according to a recent article in Wake Up World.
In 1997, a newly elected mayor and village council set lofty goals for Wildpoldsried to create industry, keep initiatives local, and bring in new revenue without creating debt. These goals included a new retirement home, theater stage, pub and a sports hall. Mayor Arno Zengerle believed it would take about ten years to achieve their goals while remaining debt-free.
By 2011, fourteen years later, Zengerle announced to his community that not only had they met their expectations, they exceeded them. The list of accomplishments included:
"nine new community buildings (including the school, gym and community hall) complete with solar panels, four biogas digesters with a fifth in construction, seven windmills with two more on the way, 190 private households equipped with solar panels, a district heating network with 42 connections, three small hydro power plants, ecological flood control and a natural wastewater system." -Christie Allen, Wake Up World
In 1999, the Village Council crafted a mission statement, WIR 2020 "Wildpoldsried Innovativ Richtungsweisend" (Wildpoldsried Innovative Leadership). Its focus was divided into three main themes: 1) Renewable Energy and Saving Energy; 2) Ecological Construction of Buildings Using Ecological Building Materials (mainly wood-based); and 3) Protection of Water and Water Resources (both above and below ground) and Ecological Disposal of Wastewater. This would be a blueprint to help the council address citizen demands, inspire people to get involved by thinking and living greener, and to create jobs and businesses.
It proved effective as several successful projects were born out of citizen action. One citizen, Wendelin Einsiedler, began discussing Wildpoldsried's new plans and over time the discussions evolved into the creation of two companies. One company produces windmills and another produces biogas plants. The windmill projects have been receiving a minimum of an 8 to 10 percent return on their investments, and the biogas companies are producing 320,000 kWh (kilowatt hours) per year. “One-by-one, individuals came forward with ideas and plans to become energy independent,” says Susi Vogl, council administrator.
Read the full story here to learn more about a small villaged achieved gargantuan success.