Projektinfo – Detailed information on energy research
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On route to renewable energy regions
There are already more than 100 regions and many rural communities that are promoting sustainable development based on renewable energies. After developing individual concepts and strategies, the lengthy and often very complex implementation begins. A research project organised by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment has been supporting these regions in conceptual and technical terms since 2007. This project is being conducted by the deENet competence network and the University of Kassel, and is being advised by the German Federal Environment Agency. In a second project phase, it is planned to create a national network by 2013.
Regional players are transforming the energy systems in their respective regions or local communities and are beginning to act independently. That is necessary, since Germany’s climate protection goals aim to reduce greenhouse gases by 40% by the year 2020, whereby 18% of the gross final energy consumption shall be provided by renewable energies. The proportion of renewable energies used for producing electricity is planned to be even higher. In particular, the transformation of energy systems can provide an important impetus for rural regions and economically weaker communities. For example, it offers greater independence in respect to increasing fossil fuel prices and strengthens the planning autonomy of the regions. In addition, it can also create revenues through the self-operation of plants as well as local jobs. This often improves the image of a region, since innovative projects with close participation provide extra publicity while helping to keep people there and attracting new citizens.
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In addition to efficiency measures, a decisive element for the transformation is decentralised energy generation that combines different technologies such as wind and solar energy, biomass, hydroelectric power and geothermal power. Energy-based stand-alone solutions remote from the main grid are not generally being pursued. Instead, through using existing structures, intelligent networks (smart grids) and suitable storage systems, it is intended that these regions should be able to achieve the increasingly complex balancing of supply and demand.