Mayor of Rethem gives insights into success factors of the regional energy transformation
The Region Aller-Leine-Valley is the German experienced territory in the 100%RES Communities project. Twinning partner is the Belgium Province of Luxembourg. Mr. Voige, mayor of Rethem talks in an interview about key drivers and structures behind the success story of the pioneering region from Lower Saxony.
Interviewee: Cort-Brün Voige, Mayor of Rethem Municipality, contact person EnergieRegion Aller-Leine-Valley, Lower Saxony, Germany
The Energy Region Aller-Leine-Valley is rooted in cooperation between a group of eight municipalities that exceeds administrative and political boundaries. How did it come to this unconventional cooperation?
Mr. Voige: Well, there is a set of central drivers that have stimulated the formation of Energy Region Aller-Leine-Valley. Originally the Aller-Leine-Valley was created with the intention to strengthen regional marketing and cooperation between the eight communities Ahlden, Rethem, Schwarmstedt, Hambühren, Wietze, Winsen, Dörverden and Kirchlinteln. All together these municipalities stretch across three districts, being unified by the beautiful river landscape of the rivers Aller and Leine. It did not take long until renewable energies became a key issue on the agenda of this regional cooperation. The political leaders soon realized that the natural resource potential for developing renewable energies in the region was massive. But this was not enough: I think, it was most important that everyone quickly understood that renewable energies represented a core area to maximize regional added value. Seeing these advantages clearly, mayors agreed that we all had to act in concert if we wanted to become self-sufficient in our regional energy production.
Which cooperation structures came into being through renewable energy activities undertaken in Aller-Leine-Valley?
Mr. Voige: Based on the activities of our LEADER-project, we have developed a sophisticated governance structure for guiding action in the field of renewable energies. The most important working groups are the Steering Group, hosting quarterly the mayors of the eight communities, and the project group “Renewable Energies” – a working platform for a broad range of stakeholders and even private persons in the Aller-Leine-Valley. In these groups decisions on upcoming technical and social measures in the realm of the region’s energy transition are being discussed and pushed forward.
What are the next steps taken on the Aller-Leine-Valley’s way toward energy self-sufficiency?
Mr. Voige: Currently, we are elaborating strategies on measures in the realm of heat generation from rivers, geothermal energy applications and PV-storage systems. In some cases feasibility studies have already been conducted and potential sites for implementing the measures have been discussed. Besides these rather technical and legal aspects we intensively work on strategies to uncover financing possibilities and to get citizens on board.