Saerbeck: Small village with ambitious climate targets

Saerbeck, in the Münsterland district, was one of the first projects to qualify for the KlimaExpo.NRW project list. The inhabitants of Saerbeck have secured a pioneering position amongst climate protection campaigners in NRW through their huge commitment and comprehensive approach and have shown with their ambitious targets that they want to keep it that way.

Is energy transition as a system solution just a pipe dream? Not for Saerbeck! The village in the Münsterland district, with a population of 7,200, has been integrating the transformation of its energy systems with a strong commitment to energy and resource efficiency and environmentally friendly urban and neighbourhood development for a long time.

Engine for progress:

  • saerbeck can show a large climate protection effect within the municipal landscape
  • highly relevant to social change
  • good transferability

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Photo: Ulrich Gunka

With regard to financing, the people of Saerbeck have joined together and are now enjoying the view of the new energy landscape.

Three key projects demonstrate a systemic approach

Three comprehensive key projects outline the current approach being taken by the Saerbeck community towards its ambitious goal for 2030: to produce as much energy as it consumes. During a first key project in cooperation with a local comprehensive school, the community has analysed its existing buildings and implemented measures to increase the production of renewable energy and energy savings. In the meantime, the inhabitants of Saerbeck have installed more than 400 photovoltaic systems with a total capacity of 9 MW on their roof tops.

In a second key project, the community has built a "transparent heating system", which supplies heating to an adjacent school building and a sports hall in a visible manner based on renewable resources. The third and perhaps most spectacular key project is the development of a 90 hectare former army depot into a modern bioenergy park with wind, solar and biomass plants. The three key projects demonstrate that the Saerbeck community is a pioneer. Its ambitious commitment to achieving energy self-sufficiency by 2030 shows that it intends to remain a pioneer.

Citizen involvement increases acceptance and momentum

With their climate protection efforts, the community seeks to be closely in touch with the local people: 400 inhabitants are involved in the local bioenergy park. Climate education projects in schools and kindergartens as well as the "regulars energy table" make climate protection more tangible for young and old alike. The community involves inhabitants in their processes, increasing acceptance of climate protection and energy transition and as a result promotes the momentum of population.

70 jobs created in the bioenergy park

The involvement in climate protection of Saerbeck's inhabitants is rewarded by local added value: since 2011 several companies have become established at the former ammunition depot, where the bioenergy park now stands. Around 70 new jobs have been created here, including 35 places for people with disabilities. The climate protection measures of the community are also opening up new economic opportunities and strengthen independence: already the community generates two and a half times the electricity they consume themselves. One of the seven wind turbines is operated by the community itself.

"With its extensive and well-coordinated climate measures the Saerbeck community is having a ripple effect far beyond the rural areas," says Nicole Kronenberg, Project Manager at KlimaExpo.NRW. "Therefore, the total project fits perfectly into our list of eligible qualified climate protection projects." KlimaExpo.NRW is putting together a repertoire of projects up to 2022, which illustrate the "engine for progress on climate protection" in NRW in an exemplary manner both nationally and abroad.

A town on the way to a climate-friendly future project video

Video: KlimaExpo.NRW

Photo: KlimaExpo.NRW

“For us, Fukushima was grist to the mill. At that time, Germany’s decision to phase out nuclear power set the course for renewable energies to not only replace all fossil fuels, but nuclear energy, too. This was not only thought but really done in Saerbeck.”

Wilfried Roos,Mayor of Saerbeck Climate Community

Partners and sponsors

  • Klimakommune Saerbeck