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Saerbeck: Small town with ambitious climate targets

Sikeli Qounadovu In Bonn, Germany
Wednesday, November 15, 2017

THE Saerbeck town municipality administration in Germany says its renewable energy project initiative will not have been successful without the support and creative minds of its people.

And the town administrators believe their concept can be easily integrated by other municipalities and communities if leaders and administrators engage the people.

A town of 7200 people, Saerbeck is a municipality in the district of Steinhart, in North Rhine-Westphalia.

Ever since deciding to switch to clean energy, the town administration has been engaging the people, adults and children, and it is their ideas that has helped shape the town in the global front and being recipient of a few international awards.

The town produces its own energy, the first being a 9.9 Mw solar power grid that supplies power and energy for 2000 families, farm houses and schools.

The town installed seven wind turbines and while they projected an annual output of six million kilowatts per annum the turbines actually produce 7.2 million kWh.

And together with its biogas plant, it produces enough energy to supply to schools, the church administration block and other buildings within the specified area.

The World War II ammunition bunkers were installed with a solar grid producing enough energy needed for 1700 households.

"Once a month we have an energy round table discussion with the adults and we ask them their ideas, opinions and advice on how we can improve with our clean energy project and their responses is what has shaped this town," said the town's Mayor, Wilfried Roos.

Guido Wallraven, the project manager for the Saerbeck Climate Community, said they were willing to share their knowledge with small island developing states like Fiji and was confident it could work in local towns and cities.

"I am convinced this can be done in other smaller municipalities. It may not be as big as we have here, but we need to start somewhere.

"My only piece of advice is to get the people in these projects, get as many people as possible. The people are the most important when it comes to decision making, because the people are our future.

"Our project has shown that it is working, this is no longer a history or just a hallucination."

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