Half of Germany’s 63,000 Megawatts of Renewable Energy is Locally Owned

Date: 15 May 2013 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 4 Facebooktwitterredditmail

placeholderCourtesy of Craig Morris and the Germany Renewable Energy industry, evidence that Germany’s renewable energy program remains people powered.  Total megawatts represent wind and solar only.

germany people powered 2012.003

John Farrell
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John Farrell

John Farrell directs the Energy Democracy initiative at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and he develops tools that allow communities to take charge of their energy future, and pursue the maximum economic benefits of the transition to 100% renewable power.

John Farrell
Follow John Farrell:
John Farrell directs the Energy Democracy initiative at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and he develops tools that allow communities to take charge of their energy future, and pursue the maximum economic benefits of the transition to 100% renewable power.

4 Responses

  1. Tam Hunt
    | Reply

    Great data, John. I’m curious why biomass isn’t included? This is as big as wind and solar in Germany. Do you have data on this?

    • John Farrell
      | Reply

      A great question for Paul Gipe or Craig Morris, methinks

  2. Anumakonda Jagadeesh
    | Reply

    Excellent article on Locally owned Renewable energy in Germany which is a fine example.

    In India most of the Renewable Installations are owned by big business houses and Industries. That is why I have had been suggesting starting RENEWABLE ENERGY CO-OPERATIVES better Wind Farm Co-operatives and Solar Co-operatives on the lines of the ones in Denmark,Germany etc.


    The Hepburn Wind Project is a wind farm at Leonards Hill near Daylesford, Victoria, north-west of Melbourne, Victoria. It comprises two 2MW wind turbines which produce enough power for 2,300 households. This is the first Australian community-owned wind farm. The initiative has emerged because the community felt that the state and federal governments were not doing enough to address climate change.


    Community wind power is in its infancy in Canada but there are reasons for optimism. One
    such reason is the launch of a new Feed-in Tariff (FIT) program in the Province of Ontario . A number of community wind projects are in development in Ontario but the first project that is likely to obtain a FIT contract and connect to the grid is the Pukwis Community Wind Park. Pukwis
    will be unique in that it is a joint Aboriginal/Community wind project that will be majority-owned by the Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation, with a local renewable energy co-operative (the Pukwis Energy Co-operative) owning the remainder of the project.


    In Denmark, families were offered a tax exemption for generating their own electricity within their own or an adjoining commune. By 2001 over 100,000 families belonged to wind turbine cooperatives, which had installed 86% of all the wind turbines in Denmark, a world leader in wind power. Wind
    power has gained very high social acceptance in Denmark, with the development
    of community wind farms playing a major role. In 1997, Samsø won a government competition to become a model renewable energy community. An offshore wind farm comprising 10 turbines (making a total of 21 altogether including land-based windmills), was completed, funded by the islanders. Now 100% of its electricity comes from wind power and 75% of its heat comes from solar power and biomass energy. An Energy Academy has opened in Ballen, with a visitor education center.


    In Germany, hundreds of thousands of people have invested in citizens’ wind farms across the country and thousands of small and medium sized enterprises are running successful businesses in a new sector that in 2008 employed 90,000 people and generated 8 percent of Germany’s electricity. Wind power has gained very high social acceptance in Germany, with the development
    of community wind farms playing a major role.

    In the German district of North Frisia there are more than 60 wind farms with a capacity of about 700 MW, and 90 percent are community-owned. North Frisia is seen to be a model location for community wind, leading the way for other regions, especially in southern Germany.

    The Netherlands

    Sixty-three farmers in De Zuidlob, the southern part of the municipality of Zeewolde, have entered into a cooperative agreement that aims to develop a wind farm of at least 108 MW. The project will include the installation of three phases of 12 wind turbines with capacities of 3 to 4.5 MW each. The aim is to put the wind farm into service in 2012.

    United Kingdom

    As of 2012, there are 43 communities who are in the process of or already producing renewable energy through co-operative structures in the UK. They are set up and run by everyday people, mostly local residents, who are investing their time and money and together installing large wind turbines, solar panels, or hydro-electric power for their local communities.

    United States

    National Wind is a large-scale community wind project developer, with thirteen families of
    projects in development or operation. These projects have an aggregate capacity of over 4,000 MW. The vision of the company is to revitalize rural economies by promoting investment in domestic renewable energy resources. National Wind creates shared ownership with communities and allows them participation in decisions which are made. In March 2009, National Wind formed Little Rock Wind LLC, its 7th Minnesota-based, community-owned wind energy company. The company will develop up to 150 MW of wind power within Big Stone County, Minnesota, over the next 5 to 7 years.

    Business models

    Community shared ownership

    In a community-based model, the developer/manager of a wind farm shares ownership of the project with area landowners and other community members. Property owners whose land was used for
    the wind farm are generally given a choice between a monthly cash lease and ownership units in the development. While some community wind projects, such as High Country Energy in southern Minnesota, issued public shares after the project’s formation, investment opportunities are usually offered to local citizens before the wind development is officially created.


    A wind turbine cooperative, also known as a wind energy cooperative, is a jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprise that follows the cooperative model, investing in wind turbines or wind farms. The cooperative model was developed in Denmark. The model has also spread to Germany, the Netherlands and Australia, with isolated examples elsewhere.


    Some places have enacted policies to encourage development of municipally owned and operated wind turbines on town land. These projects are publicly owned and tax exempt. An example is the Hull
    Wind One project in Massachusetts’ Boston Harbor in 2001. A 660 kW wind turbine was installed, and is still a great example of small scale commercial wind.

    In India Incentives and Depreciation benefits are provided to big industries setting up renewable energy projects. I suggest Government of India can float a RENEWABLE ENERGY FUND where in contributions by individual income tax payers up to Rs 1 lakh(1 US$ = about Rs 60)can be exempted from tax under Section 80C. In this way mass participation is there in Renewable Energy Projects.

    Another area that needs immediate attention in India is Offshore Wind Farms. In Europe there are large offshore wind farms in operation. Roughness of the sea being zero the wind speeds on sea are about 30% more than nearby land (because of no obstacles and free flow of wind towards the Wind Turbine). US,.China,Taiwan,Korea etc. have ambitious plans to set up Offshore Wind Farms with large sized Wind Turbines.

    India has vast coast. Already India occupies 5th position in the wind in the world. It is high time the New Government will encourage Offshore Wind Farms in the country.

    Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore(AP),India

    Wind Energy Expert

    E-mail: anumakonda.jagadeesh@gmail.com

  3. Nancy L
    | Reply

    thx John

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