Saturday Feb 04, 2023

Russian gas? Nein danke, says energy self-sufficient German district – Reuters

Pipes are pictured at a gas compressor station in Mallnow, Germany, November 1, 2021. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke//File Photo

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BERLIN, July 25 (Reuters) – As Germany scrambles to avert a fuel crisis this winter, one rural district has become a role model for how the country might wean itself off dwindling imports of Russian gas – by producing all the energy that it consumes itself.

The western district of Rhein-Hunsrueck uses a combination of solar, wind and biofuel to generate enough power to run its homes, public buildings and businesses, with enough left over to contribute to an electric car-sharing service and e-bikes.

The area’s energy transition has also been a relatively rapid one.

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“Up until 1995, not a single kilowatt hour of energy used in our district was produced by us. Everything had to be imported,” said Frank-Michael Uhle, the district’s climate protection manager.

“Then some visionaries said that wars were being fought about oil and gas and decided that we needed to do something about it.”

Now, more than three years after it turned climate-neutral, Rhein-Hunsrueck boasts 279 wind turbines plus biofuel plants, and its towns and villages are dotted with solar panel arrays.

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