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In the German state of Bavaria, in 1977 the village of Wildpoldsried (population 2,600) began a green initiative when the village council decided that it should build new industries, keep initiatives local, bring in new revenue, and create no debt. Over the past 14 years, the community has equipped nine new community buildings with solar panels, built four biogas digesters (with a fifth in construction now) and installed seven windmills with two more on the way. In the village itself, 190 private households have solar panels while the district also benefits from three small hydro power plants, ecological flood control, and a natural waste water system.
All of these green systems means Wildpoldsried produces 321 percent more energy than it needs – and it’s generating $5.7 million in annual revenue by selling it back to the national grid. It is no surprise that small businesses have developed in the village specifically to provide services to the renewable energy installations.
Over the years the village’s green goals have been so successful that they have even crafted a mission statement — WIR–2020, Wildpoldsried Innovativ Richtungsweisend (Wildpoldsried Innovative Leadership). The village council hopes that it will inspire citizens to do their part for the environment and create green jobs and businesses for the local area.
As a result of the village’s success, Wildpoldsried has received numerous national and international awards for its conservation and renewable energy initiatives known as Klimaschutz (climate protection). The council even hosts tours for other village councils on how to start their own Klimaschutz program. The Mayor has even been doing global tours ever since the Fukushima disaster.
Wildpoldsried is a model for future developments around the world in communities where leaders and the people have the will.Click here for reuse options!