Bioenergy Village Jühnde
Involved Regions: Juhnde
Involved RES Sectors: Biomass
The system contains a 700kW CHP generator that runs on biogas to produce electricity that is supplied to the public grid. A 550kW woodchip boiler is used in the winter to supply heating which circulates around the local district network. During summer time, the excess heat of the CHP-plant is used for drying of wood-chips or log-wood for the heating boiler to use in wintertime. The original aim of the project was for the village to be self-sufficient in terms of energy consumption, and the plants now produce 70% of the villages heating demand and double its electricity demand. The bioenergy facility is owned locally and collectively by the people of Jühnde. Residents are able to buy shares in the co-operative company that owns the facility – at present, nearly 75% of Jühnde’s inhabitants are members of this company.
Once they’ve bought shares and become a member, they are then able to purchase heating and electricity from the company– importantly, this means that the consumers of energy are also the producers of that energy. The system cost 5.2M Euro, of which 0.5M came from the investing citizens, 1.3M from a grant, and the remaining 3.4M from a bank loan. The original idea for the project was proposed in 2000 by researchers at the nearby University of Göttingen, who were looking for rural villages to take part in a competition, the winner of which would host a new bioenergy plant that could demonstrate an alternative to fossil fuels. Having received information and met with university researchers, a group of local residents were sold on the idea of making the village energy self-sufficient. They began to campaign and organised local support for the project, eventually winning the competition and working alongside the university in making the original vision a reality.
Eventually, after nearly 4 years of preparation, construction work and briefings, the Bioenergy Village Jühnde was completed. The development has resulted in a 60% reduction in the villages CO2 emissions because of a switch away from oil heating, and members are now provided with a comfortable, reliable and relatively cheap source of local energy. Villagers also believe that the development has contributed to the community spirit of the village. The majority of crops for the plants are harvested locally, with a small shortfall of 25% purchased from regions around the village.As a result of these achievements, the project was awarded the EuroSolar Prize in December2005.
The project is also catalysing other projects in the neighbouring region, and the Jühnde itself is investigating further sustainability initiatives, including electric cars and wind power.
- Jühnde is a small village in Lower Saxony, Germany, with a population of around 750 inhabitants.
- In 2005, a bioenergy plant running on biogas and woodchip opened to supply heat and power to the village. The plant is owned by local residents via a cooperative, providing low-cost energy to its members.
- The University of Göttingen played a key role in initiating the project and providing support throughout its development. Political support also provedvital, with the villages Mayor particularly important in motivating local participation.
- Co-operatives are relatively widespread in Germany, and village residents had an awareness of this business model and shared belief in its value.
- Interpersonal trust and social cohesion between residents in the village was strong, helping them to work together to development the project.