From the Rocky Mountain Institute blog. Feldheim, a small town in the corner of rural eastern Germany, 40 miles south of Berlin, may be one of the best examples of decentralized self-sufficiency. Feldheim was a communist collective farm back when Germany was still divided into East and West. Now it is a model renewable energy village putting into practice how a micro-grid can operate while generating jobs and reducing the bills.
Thanks to a joint venture between the town and a local renewable energy investor (Energiequelle Gmbh) that invested in 74 MW of wind turbines and a 700 kW biogass plant, by 2009 the community was powered 100% with renewable sources from their own production. In 2010 the town residents detached from the national grid operator (E.on) and went on to become the first German city with its own independent micro-grid.
The power in excess is fed into the high-voltage grid as a regular power plant, but the energy fed into the micro-grid costs 30% less than the average electricity cost for residents in the surrounding areas.
Sure, this is possible also because the self-produced electricity is not burdened by grid costs and overheads spread among all other grid-connected consumers. However the experiment proves that a decentralised generation is not only possible but also efficient and job-creating.
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