Back in 2012, an energy cooperative was founded in Hallerndorf (Upper Franconia) to use waste heat from local biogas plants for heating. The bioenergy village of Willersdorf, a district in Hallerndorf, now heats more than 80 subscribers, including a large hotel, via a local heating network. In total, 250,000 liters of heating oil are avoided each year. One of the biogas plants is the joint project of NATURSTROM and four organic farmers. The subsidies come in part from the Green Electricity certification.
The biogas is produced primarily from clover grass, which is planted as part of the rotational cultivation of various crops in organic farming for soil care. Part of the electricity required by the biogas plant is produced and consumed directly on site via the in-house photovoltaic system. This plant was implemented by NATURSTROM AG through the Green Electricity Certification.
For every kilowatt hour of Green Electricity-certified green electricity sold, energy suppliers are obliged to invest a fixed subsidy amount in new energy transition projects. This includes renewable energy plants such as wind and PV systems, but also investments in the heating sector or electromobility.
Currently, around 13 percent of heating and cooling consumption in Germany is covered by renewable energies. This is clearly too little, Hallerndorf citizens thought, and founded the "Generation Erde" association to strengthen the local energy transition. This is how the idea for a local district heating network came about. In the meantime, the local heating network has been realized and supplies more than 80 customers. Hallerndorf has now been named Energy Community of the Month for October 2018 by the Renewable Energy Agency. The community is a pioneer in the use of ecologically generated heat.
A positive side effect of the expansion was the simultaneous laying of fiber optic cables for faster Internet access. Here it has been shown that transparent planning, early and cross-departmental involvement of stakeholders bring positive effects for all involved. As a result, the people of Hallerndorf benefit not only from clean energy, but also from a modern, digital infrastructure.