A31 Hohe Mark citizens’ wind farm: Experiencing the energy transition

Wind energy plays a key role in terms of the energy transition and climate protection. As a result, increasing numbers of municipalities and initiatives are backing the successful concept of citizens’ wind farms. In Heiden, too, they hope to strengthen the region in this way, but the venture has a special feature here: the civic organisation is not just committed to supplying energy in a climate-friendly way. They have also made it possible for the public to experience the transformation of the energy system by means of a permanent exhibition in one of the wind turbines, thus contributing to climate education and helping to gain broader public acceptance of wind farms.

Back in 2004, the citizens of this municipality in the Münsterland region initiated operation at the Heiden citizens’ wind farm. As a result of the success of this venture, the climate-friendly power generation system was expanded in 2017 by setting up the A31 Hohe Mark citizens’ wind farm. Now the organisation, of which around 200 citizens are members, is going a step further: an exhibition inside one of the wind turbines is intended to give visitors first-hand experience of the energy transition. Under the title “360° Energiewelten” (a 360° view of the world of energy), projections on the interior walls of the turbine allow visitors to immerse themselves in the subject of the energy transition and provide information on the future of energy supply.

Engine for progress:

  • Exhibition at the citizens’ wind farm gives visitors first-hand experience of climate change
  • Citizens benefit from the eco-friendly energy production
  • Added value for the region provided by the wind farm

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Photo: Dorsten Zeitung, Verlag Lensing-Wolff GmbH & Co. KG

The A31 Hohe Mark citizens’ wind farm is situated in the middle of the Hohe Mark-Westmünsterland Nature Park on the planes of the communities of Heiden and Lembeck (town of Dorsten). It was brought into operation in September with nine Enercon E115 wind turbines.

360-degree exhibition in the wind turbine

Not only is the setting of the exhibition inside the wind turbine very unusual; the mode of presentation also exploits the environment in a special way. The visitor is inside the wind turbine surrounded by the exhibition on the interior walls. Videos as well as images are projected onto the walls on all sides, so that the viewers have the impression, particularly in the case of the films, that they are right at the heart of the action. One video focuses on the subject of climate change and the energy transition and provides information on the impacts of climate change. It shows what a climate-friendly future could look like. Another video allows visitors to make a “virtual ascent” of the wind turbine, whereby the video acts as a kind of glass elevator that goes up to a height of 150 metres. From here, key locations and events related to the energy transition in the region are pointed out and explained. After these two videos, a “static” exhibition is projected onto the walls. The images provide information on the history of the use of wind energy in the region, on the construction and operation of the citizens’ wind farm and on general aspects of the energy transition.

Renewable energy for the region

The exhibition helps to underline the significance of the new wind farm and increase public acceptance of it. A total of nine wind turbines, each with a nominal capacity of three megawatts, were brought into operation by three civic organisations at the end of 2017. It is expected that approximately 72 gigawatt-hours of electricity will be produced here on an annual basis. That is equivalent to the electricity consumption of about 20,500 two-person households and will lead to a reduction in CO2 emissions of around 38,000 tonnes per year.

Video: B&W Energy

Photo: privat

“I have been promoting the energy transition for 20 years. Wind energy and photovoltaics will supply 80 per cent of our demand for electricity, heating and transport in the future. The “360° Energiewelten” exhibition is intended to raise visitors’ awareness and give them inspiration.”

Anton Wissing, Managing Director of Bürgerenergie A31 Hohe Mark Projekt GmbH & Co.KG

Partners and sponsors

  • Bürgerwindpark A31 Hohe Mark GmbH & Co. KG
  • Windkraft Heiden GmbH & Co. KG
  • Windenergie Marbeck GmbH & Co. BWK Betriebs KG