Learning from ELE (Emscher Lippe Energie)

May 30, 2012 at 7:55 am 2 comments

After spending the day with the folks at ELE, I came away with much broader (though still limited) understanding of the German renewable energy industry, and a deeper appreciation for the challenges Germany faces in developing further renewable energy, and how that compares and contrasts to our situation in America and specifically Washington state. Without going into too much detail (I frantically took nearly 10 full pages of notes), I will give the quick highlights.

In the morning I was welcomed by Stephan Kudde a energy service engineer who works with residential and commercial customers to solve their problems and help them save energy. Stephan has worked at ELE for 22 years and was truly a fantastic host for the day. After a quick driving tour of their service territory, we stopped for a tour from a local farmer, who is using his livestock and crops (manure and corn) to produce biogas energy. He also has two cattle barns full of solar power units on the roofs. This farmer, a Mr. Friedrich Steinmann, was a total wealth of information. In addition to running one of the largest farms in the area, he also leads a local division of a farmers association which has 1,200 members. This position puts Mr. Steinmann directly across the table from Germany’s elected leaders of the region and in Berlin on a regular basis. He has been producing renewable biogas energy on his farm for over 10 years and is currently working to put together a private wind power turbine installation in conjunction with neighboring farmers and private citizens. Mr. Steinmann had incredible insight into the German political situation as it relates to renewable energy production, and it was my treat to share a few hours with him at his farm.

In the afternoon after a proper German lunch of bratwurst and sauerkraut, we toured an electric power substation and the ELE Operations Center. After that we drove to the top of a hill overlooking what seemed to be the entire Rhurgebiet region. This is the industrial heart of the country, with over 7 million inhabitants. From here you can see oil refineries, coal power plants and wind turbines in nearly every direction. Quite a view of industrial development.

All in all I count today as one of the most professionally informative day’s I have spent so far in Germany and as always it was filled with lots of fun. Enjoy the photos.

– Cory








Entry filed under: Team Blog.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Rob Martin  |  May 30, 2012 at 8:04 am

    Excellent Cory! Well done!

  • 2. Jonathan Ventura  |  May 30, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    Nice Job. Thanks for the photos.


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