Energy-smart village: Climate protection management for villages

In South Westphalia, the “Energy-smart village” practical study is bringing a new dynamic to the development of renewable energy provision and usage. Selected villages are being supported with the implementation of their ideas. Regional competence teams create the foundation by developing project development and management, public relations and networking for optimal climate protection management.

How can civic involvement further rural development and the Energiewende? This question is the focus of the project, which is running from 2014 until the end of 2016. “Energy-smart village” is a joint development of two projects from the REGIONALE 2013 regional structural development programme: “TalentE in South Westphalia” and “Future of the villages in South Westphalia”. Villages from South Westphalia were able to apply with their community project ideas. Burbach-Lippe, Netphen-Sohlbach, Medebach-Dreislar, Soest-Ostönnen and Warstein-Hirschberg were selected, and a couple of others qualified via moderated ideas workshops: Freudenberg-Oberfischbach, Hilchenbach-Grund and Medebach-Referinghausen.

Engine for progress:

  • new dynamic for renewable energies
  • structural development and qualification of dedicated stakeholders
  • successful implementation of ideas
  • regional added value and sustainability of the villages

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Foto: Milena Schloesser

Professional advisory service and support generates various local climate protection activities.

In the villages, members of the public will now receive advice from the project management team of the Südwestfalen Agentur, and support from the respective municipal administrations, the regional KlimaNetz members, EnergieAgentur.NRW and experts. These groups are creating the foundation: project development and management, public relations and networking. The transfer of knowledge between the various stakeholders has to be organised, good examples disseminated, activities pooled and voluntary work activated. This has resulted in “climate protection management for villages”.

The project ideas were and are diverse, ranging from local heating projects, an energy association that operates its own E-village car, building renovation campaigns, small hydropower stations and E-bike charging stations, to social innovations such as climate coaches or educational activities for children and young people. The practical study focuses mainly on civic involvement and the support received during the project work.

Project makes experience transparent and improves networking among local stakeholders

Many ideas have already been successfully implemented or trialled. Activities involving a long planning phase are now soon to be implemented as well – e.g. the energy-efficiency upgrade of the village community hall and the use of hydropower in Sohlbach, or the “KlimaKids” project in Oberfischbach.

This regional added value and participation not only offer economic opportunities to the participating villages. The project has also improved networking among the supporting stakeholders and organisations. Furthermore, the project makes its experience transparent so that other villages in South Westphalia and North Rhine-Westphalia can learn from them. At the end of a project, a self-evaluation tool will be made available as a guide for all stakeholders and interested parties who want to plan and support voluntary projects. The overall process is also being scientifically analysed and evaluated.

Photo: Südwestfalen Agentur

“Public acceptance, participation and above all awareness of one’s own behaviour are key for the success of the energy and mobility reform and the active shaping of climate protection. We demonstrate potential, generate examples and network the opportunities and stakeholders – thus providing local support where it’s needed.”

Lars Ole Daub, Project Manager

Partners and sponsors

  • Südwestfalen Agentur
  • Die 5 Kreise in Südwestfalen
  • Volksbanken in Südwestfalen
  • EnergieAgentur.NRW
  • Verbraucherzentrale NRW
  • Ministerium für Klimaschutz, Umwelt, Landwirtschaft, Natur- und Verbraucherschutz (MKULNV)