How can people in Lüneburg switch to using and producing renewable energy?
The world is hungry for energy and our resources are finite. Almost everything in our daily life depends on the supply of energy in the form of electricity, heat etc. In order to get an idea of how much energy is used by everyday actions, you can watch this video of an Olympic cyclist trying to toast a toast with the power of his legs.
We use different types of energy during our daily life: electricity, fuel for transportation, and heat among others. This article is focusing on electricity but you can find information regarding renewable heating and renewable transportation in the resources at the bottom, as well as the sources for this article.
Why does it matter
There is a hunger for more and more energy due to increasing population numbers and product purchases. Unfortunately, this hunger comes at a very high cost for the planet, as the power is often generated from oil, coal or gas, the so-called non-renewable energy sources. As there is a finite amount of these resources available on our planet, we need to think about alternative options that will sustain us in the long term. Non-renewable energy sources have a huge negative impact on the planet as well: Burning fossil fuels releases carbon dioxide, which is directly linked to climate change. Furthermore, the extraction of these resources often leads to environmental degradation, just think about oil spills.
- Click here for more scientific information on climate change by the government.
- Click here for an article about climate change by National Geographic.
The good news is, there are already a lot of solutions to the energy challenge out there! The United Nations has set the global goal to increase the share of renewable energy by 2030 to conserve fossil fuel as useful resources for future generations and to prevent climate change. Renewable energy sources are promising opportunities to guide us to a more sustainable energy production. Energy that is produced from sources that do not deplete or can be replenished within a human’s lifetime is called renewable energy. The most common examples include wind, solar, geothermal, biomass, and hydro power. You can go to the Informationsportal Erneuerbare Energie for more information.
Reduce your energy consumption
It is important to know that reducing energy consumption is the first and important step to save money and the environment. Find a list with ideas for saving energy here and additional resources by the city of Lüneburg here. A good place to continue is your home: Just invite an expert to conduct an energy efficiency audit. For a small fee, sometimes even for free, you can learn how to save a lot of energy. The remaining energy you use can come from renewable sources.
Renewable energy in Lüneburg
We already produce a lot of renewable energy in Lüneburg and its surroundings (see map and click to add “Bestand Energieerzeugung”). However, only 48% of our electricity and 10% of heat come from renewable sources today. We have the possibility to switch our energy supply in Lüneburg to 100% renewable energy sources.
You can decide how high the demand for renewable energy is today and whether we will build more capacity in the near future. Whether you rent or own your home, every household and business has the freedom to choose their energy provider as well as their energy products. If you have funding to invest in renewable energy, there are opportunities to benefit financially and to protect planet earth, our one and only home.
What can you do? Be an Energy Hero!
Now it is your turn! As a citizen of Lüneburg, you have a right and a responsibility to contribute to a more sustainable energy production and consumption, one household at a time. You can take many small and big actions and choose the right level of action that suits you.
It is time for new heroes. It’s time for Energy Heroes! How can you be a hero? To become a new hero you might need to think about changing your habits and patterns of how you consume energy in your everyday life!
We broke it down into three easy levels. Maybe you can advance to level 3 or beyond?
Energy Hero Level 1: Consider renewable energy
At level 1, you will explore renewable energy options for your household.
- Check your electricity bill: Who is your electricity provider? What is the share of renewable energy your household consumes? If some of your electricity comes from coal or gas, you can upgrade to renewable sources.
- Find out about the reasons for using renewable energy and the options in Lüneburg. There are local providers as well as national options (more here). You can also ask your existing energy provider if they offer 100% renewable electricity.
- Renewable energy does not have to be more expensive in your electricity bill (more here). Use a calculator to find out what it would cost to switch to renewable energy (link).
- Consider talking to an expert from Klimaschutzleitstelle Lüneburg, they can advise you on your options in Lüneburg and how to get started on your renewable energy project (link).
At the end of this level, you are ready to decide whether you can switch to a renewable option.
Energy Hero Level 2: Switch to renewable energy
Once you explored options in order to switch to renewables, it is time to go one step further!
- Switch to 100% renewable energy, either ask your current provider for this option or change your energy provider to get a 100% renewable option – it’s easy, takes about 20 minutes. Here is a local manual: (link). Utopia provides a handy manual for you: (link).
- Tell one friend or family member about your switching experience. Can you convince them as well? Maybe you can even organize a solar party (e.g. via video conferencing) where you can meet to switch to a renewable energy provider together. Here is a guideline for convincing friends and family members: (link).
- Check the Klimasparbuch Lüneburg: (link).
- Call your bank and check your retirement investments, do they contain investments in fossil fuels? Can you switch to a CO2-neutral investment or do they have options for investing in renewable energy? (more here).
Energy Hero Level 3: Produce renewable energy
Once you have implemented all the energy saving options from Level 2, it is time to go one step further. This depends on your resources and living situation.
If you have the funds to do so, you can invest in renewable energy production:
- Small budget: Rent or buy a solar electricity panel for your balcony if you have one. It costs only a few Euros, and you can save between 50-90 Euros a year. Here is a co-op to do so: (link).
- Larger budget: Join a co-op for wind energy, such as this local one: (link).
If you rent your home, convince your landlord to jointly produce electricity:
- There is already a pilot project in Lüneburg (more here).
- Further information on Mieterstrom Ökostrom (link).
If you own your property, you can find out if it is suitable for solar panels or even renewable heat:
- Klimawerk offers a one hour consulting appointment for your property for 10 Euros (link).
- Solar Check Landkreis Lüneburg offers consulting as well (link).
- Switch from oil or gas to renewable heat. There is a public subsidy available (link).
Information applicable to everyone:
- Check out this helpful brochure for additional ideas: (link)
- Consider joining a local organization or taking political action: (link).
Energy Hero Level +
Find out what else you can do and who else you can connect with. 🙂
- By using “Geoportal” Landkreis Lüneburg you can explore even more about energy infrastructure (PICs & RICs) around Lüneburg and many more interesting infrastructural circumstances (building, environment, tourism, education) – this interactive map can show an individually created map: (link).
- Change to a bank that invests in renewable energy (such as GLS Bank or Tomorrow Bank)
- Consider generating your own energy:
- The EEG (Erneuerbare Energien Gesetz) is an important legal foundation when considering the switch to renewables in Germany. You can find help and information here: (link).
- Landkreis Lüneburg. (2020). Klimaschutzleitstelle. (link)
- Agentur für erneuerbare Energien. (2020). Gute Gründe. https://www.unendlich-viel-energie.de/themen/gute-gr%C3%BCnde
- Fischedick, M. (2010). Potenziell treibende Kräfte und potenzielle Barrieren für den Ausbau erneuerbarer Energien aus integrativer Sichtweise: Endbericht. https://epub.wupperinst.org/frontdoor/deliver/index/docId/3921/file/3921_Treibende_Kraefte.pdf
- Hansestadt Lüneburg. (2020). Studie: Erneuerbare Energien. https://www.hansestadtlueneburg.de/Home-Hansestadt-Lueneburg/Bauen-Umwelt-und-Energie-hansestadt-lueneburg/Klimaschutz/Erneuerbare-Energien/Studie-Erneuerbare-Energien.aspx
- Lutzenberger, A. K., Dr. (2019). Landkreis Lüneburg: 100% Erneuerbare Energie Region für Klima- und Ressourcenschutz. Leuphana Universität Lüneburg – Fakultät Nachhaltigkeit. https://docplayer.org/107530497-Landkreis-lueneburg-100-erneuerbare-energie-region-fuer-klima-und-ressourcenschutz.html
- Michelsen, C. C., & Madlener, R. (2016). Switching from fossil fuel to renewables in residential heating systems: An empirical study of homeowners’ decisions in Germany. Energy Policy, 89, 95–105. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2015.11.018
- United Nations. (2020). Global indicator framework for the Sustainable Development Goalsand targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. https://unstats.un.org/sdgs/indicators/Global%20Indicator%20Framework%20after%202020%20review_Eng.pdf