The small energy cooperatives, Freiburg, Magdeburg
Having met the big energy players in Freiburg, it was time to meet the smaller players, the community activists and enthusiasts, determined to help the people in their communities to have a share (and a say) in the renewables sector for a fraction of the price.
I met with Dr Burghard Flieger who has over 30 years in the the social, cooperative and renewables sector and makes a point of representing the voice of the people when it comes to energy development. He explained the differences in the cooperative laws in Germany and how they have changed more recently and his ambitions to raise 100,000,000 Euros worth of community shares in order to buy into "Toöga", the State energy company (owned by E:ON). If successful, the people of Freiburg would start to have a say as well as a financial stake in energy production throughout the region.
Moving north of Germany (Magdeburg) the next day, I met with two ambitious young men who had just set up their first solar cooperative, working with a school, local investors, and people as far away as the Czech republic. Jorg Dalke, the founder of "Nature Power" and "Solar-MD" explained the saturation of wind power in the region over the last 15 years and the desparate need to get the solar power out of the factories and on to roof tops! The big hurdle they were having was trying to strenghen the awareness and understanding of the cooperative approach to renewables amongst the community and public sector.
Right, Jorg Dalke and colleague in front of Magdeburgs first small scale Solar cooperative.
Right, wall to wall wind farms travelling through northern Germany.