Baden-Württemberg, the land of bioenergy villages
In Baden-Württemberg (Germany), one of the most innovative and economically strongest regions in Europe, with a very high energy demand, in the last 15 years lot of projects and initiatives have been implemented promoting an efficient and integrated RES supply, mainly in the heating sector.
Since 2005, when the first bioenergy village was built in Mauenheim, the number of bioenergy villages has increased up to 96 along with the one of DH networks with solar heat production in more recent years. In addition to the integration of solar heat into DHS, the first solar energy village was built in Büsingen in 2012. There are currently nine solar energy villages in Germany, three of them in Baden-Württemberg and others are being planned or in the process of being realised.
The development and diffusion of local RES supply in Baden-Württemberg has been and is being definitely supported by a very favourable regional energy regulatory and planning framework, strongly promoting energy efficiency and RES share in final energy consumptions.
The Climate Protection Act, updated in 2019, contains 8 key points, including the municipal heat planning, that aim at creating an efficient, decarbonised and sustainable heat supply in towns and cities. The Act is implemented through the Integrated Energy and Climate Protection Concept, containing strategies and measures as well as the conceptual basis of the energy and climate policy for Baden-Württemberg. Important measures include the supply of heat through biomass, solar heat and seasonal thermal storage with DH. Furthermore, the Renewable Heat Act Baden-Württemberg (2018) requires that a share of 15 % of the heat amount is covered by RES and that the connection to a DH network can be sufficient to meet the requirement.
The Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) founded IKENA - Integrated energy and climate protection concept - for Neckar-Alb region in 2012, to provide assistance and incentives for municipal concepts. In the IKENA report, 10 action areas were identified for the implementation of climate protection measures in the Neckar-Alb region and the focus was on energy saving, sustainable mobility, RES and energy storage. From this, 65 approaches and 90 model solutions, project proposals and pilot projects were derived, which can be implemented both by the districts and their climate protection agencies, the municipalities, the industry and its associations, the energy supply companies, the population and the regional association.
The public participation procedure for the regional plan of the Neckar-Alb region was initiated in July 2019. The regional plan amendment 2019 will provide more space for the expansion of RES in outdoor areas and municipal land-use planning will have greater scope for the implementation of open-space solar systems. To this end, the regional green areas designated as a priority area, areas for nature conservation and landscape management and areas for agriculture are moderately opened for open-space solar systems both PV and solar thermal.