Please activate JavaScript!
Please install Adobe Flash Player, click here for download

uni'wissen 1-2013_ENG

90 percent of the district’s electricity is produced from renewable sources of energy. The next projects include promoting e­mobility with a quick charge station and making electric cars available for rent as well as expanding the already existing local heating supply over the cen­ tral Hackschnitzel Heating Plant. Although an important goal of all of these activities is to reduce energy consumption in order to enable complete energy self­sufficiency, the fact is that they have not yet succeeded in achieving this goal. This gave the researchers the idea of considering people’s lifestyle as a further relevant criterion. Instead of buying a new car that runs on biogas, it might be better to ride a bicycle more often. People who live near a store do not need to get into the car every time they want to go shopping. The design of public space, building stock, and infrastructure also influence our energy consumption behavior. As a consequence, the municipality Morbach has drafted a new housing development policy to provide incentives for building in the old center of the town. Municipalities Set Priorities The guide, which was developed on the basis of research, does not offer ready­made solutions. An “energy wheel” shows various dimensions for making the switch to renewable energies – such as “designing space” and “creating value.” The guide leaves it to the municipalities themselves to weigh possibilities and set priorities. It is thus a versatile tool for helping municipalities to develop a strategy that fits their needs. The research was conducted by a team of forest and environmental scientists, sociologists, engineers, economists, geographers, and biolo­ gists. They divided up the project into five parts. In Freiburg, for example, a group led by Ruppert­ Dr. Chantal Ruppert- Winkel studied forest science at the University of Freiburg and earned her PhD in 2006. Since 2008 she has served as a junior research group leader at the Center for Renewable Energy of the University of Freiburg. She focuses on socioeconomic and inter- disciplinary research on regional development, socio-ecological research, the sustainable and effi- cient use of resources on the regional level, analysis of organizational structures, networks, and institutions, and bioenergy. She is cur- rently working on her habilitation thesis. In 2012 the Ministry of Science, Research, and the Arts of Baden-Württemberg appointed her to the expert group “Science for Sustain- ability.” Photo: private Further Reading Hauber, J./Ruppert­Winkel, C. (2012): Moving towards energy self­sufficiency based on renewables: Comparative case studies on the emergence of regional processes of socio­ technical change in Germany. In: Sustainability 4/4, pp. 491–530. Ruppert­Winkel, C./Hauber, J./Aretz, A./ Funcke, S./Kreß, M./Noz, S./Salecki, S./ Schlager, P./Stablo, J. (2013): Die Ener­ giewende gemeinsam vor Ort gestalten. Ein Wegweiser für eine sozial gerechte und naturverträgliche Selbstversorgung aus Erneuerbaren Energien – Schwerpunkt Bio­ energie (= ZEE­Forschung­Working Papers). Available online at­ “Materialien für die Praxis” Winkel was in charge of investigating the decision­ making and communication processes involved in switching to renewable resources on the regional level. The researchers always sought contact with their political partners and coordi­ nated every step with them. This is evident even in the writing style used in the guide. “Everyone has to be able to understand what we are say­ ing,” explains Ruppert­Winkel. Her team was rewarded for their efforts with great cooperative­ ness and interest on the part of the project part­ ners and other municipalities. But their products for practical usage, though “very time­consuming” to create, do not speak the language of scientific publications. “This makes things difficult for career planning, leading to conflicts for the junior researchers, who have to produce both products for practical usage and scientific publications. That was and still is a balancing act of sorts that accompanies our way of working” – a balancing act that, at least in the eyes of many interested municipalities and citizens, was well worth the effort. Creating electricity on one’s own roof: The regional energy transition is interesting for ecological as well as economical reasons. Photo: LianeM/ Fotolia “Everyone has to be able to understand what we are saying” 31