My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Energiequelle gets German Village Feldheim off the Grid - How Wind, Solar and BioGas powered Feldheim shows how Renewables can help Jamaica

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Energiequelle gets German Village Feldheim off the Grid - How Wind, Solar and BioGas powered Feldheim shows how Renewables can help Jamaica

“There wasn't much headwind ... the project was done in open discussions at resident's meetings. Everyone was allowed to voice his or her opinion”

Long time resident of the German village Feldheim Joachim Gluck commenting on the Private Power company Energiequelle that runs the village off-grid

Jamaica’s 381 MW Plans seem to be in suspended animation, with the last word being that the deadline has been set for 2017 as reported in my blog article entitled “Dr. Vincent Lawrence ESET sets 2017 for 381 MW Project - Why JPS Co says LNG even though Ethane and Propane cheaper as Hydrogen Economy possible”.

Now comes word that the JPS Co, has yet again asked for a Rate increase of 21% only to have it rejected by the OUR (Office of Utilities Regulation) as stated in the article “OUR Weighing Rate Cut For JPS”, Published Wednesday November 12, 2014, The Jamaica Gleaner. Good to note that JPS Co are a part of the 381 MW LNG Plant Project that Dr. Vincent Lawrence led six-member ESET (Electricity Sector Enterprise Team) is trying to get off the ground!

Instead, they’ll be getting a little over 19% Rate Increase, probably about 20%, meaning our electricity bills will be higher come December 2014, just off by 1% and just in time for Christmas!

So note, Jamaican, you WILL be getting a 8.4% decrease in your what November 2014 bills should have been as JPS had promised as stated in the article “JPS promises decrease on November bills”, published Monday, November 10, 2014 8:51 PM, The Jamaica Observer.

However, that’ll be reflected in the Fuel & IPP Charge, thanks to the drop in the prices of Fuel Oil on the world market and will be as follows:

1.      JA$26.812/ kWh in October 2014
2.      JA$23.365/ kWh in November 2014

But your overall bill in December 2014 will be 19% higher!

The German Village Feldheim - Off the Grid and self-sufficient in a country that’s 50% Solar

It’s time like this that alternative Energy begins to look bright again.

Germany a country that recently clocked 50% of its Private Residential Power from Solar on Monday June 9th 2014 as reported in my blog article entitled “High Noon on the Rhine as Germany produces 50% Electricity by Solar – How Solar Power in Africa and Undersea Power Cables can Power the World” has done it yet again.

This time it’s the German village of Feldheim, just 80 km South of Berlin, Germany, who’ve gone completely off the Grid using a combination of Solar, Wind, Biogas and Biomass to generate all the electricity needs of the village as noted in the article “German village Feldheim the country's first community to become energy self-sufficient”, published Mon at 7:15pm, By Emily Stewart, ABC News and “Off-grid German village banks on wind, sun, pig manure”, published OCT. 26, 2014, 9:32 AM by FRANK ZELLER, AFB via Business Insider.

It all started back in 1995 when a student, Michael Raschemann, decided that going off the grid was a sound investment opportunity. So he floated the idea of a Wind Farm to the 145 strong Feldheim Local Council and they pretty much said, “Yeah, why not”!

If that sounds a tad too easy, they're progress since then over the past 20 years is quite impressive and blends into Germany in the Second Decade of the 21st Century trying to move away from Nuclear Power under Germany's “Energiewende” or “energy shift”.

Apparently the Fukushima Nuclear Reactor meltdown after an Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan on Friday March 11 2011 as stated in my Geezam blog article entitled “Japan Nuclear Reactor Meltdown is the Asian Tiger Chernobyl” was a deciding factor.

The company that Mr. Michael Raschemann formed called Energiequelle then invested in some 47 Turbines.  Additionally, they’ve invested in 10,000 Solar Panels Modules which produce some 3,000 MW of power. They’re now looking at investing some 13 million euros on battery storage to makes their Private Power Grid a little more stable and possibly turn more profit but selling electricity to the German Electricity Grid.

They’ve even gone the extra mile and converted the manure from their farm and silage to Biogas via a Bio-Digester in their very own Biogas plant, costing roughly 2 million euros with the German Government chipping in with some well-deserved subsidies.

In essence, this town wastes nothing; even the woodchip waste from logging in the nearby forest is used in a Heating Plant. And all this started with each resident agreeing through a series of Open Feldheim Local Council Meetings to each throw EU$3,000 per resident to jump-start this initiative some 20 years ago!

Energiequelle brings Feldheim benefits - Reduce Gas Usage and the cost of Electricity

From early on the people of Feldheim began experiencing the benefits of these Alternative Energy initiatives. The 47 Turbines produces some 175 million KWh of electricity annually, which translates to 16.5 EU Cents per KWh, a third of the rest of Germany!

The Heating Plant saves them from the importation of some 160,000 litres (40,000 gallons) of heating oil for heating purposes each year. Combined with the manure and silage from their agricultural cooperative which produces milk, pig meat and grains, the town of Feldheim basically has a sustainable source of Natural Gas for heating purposes for now into the foreseeable future.

Good to not it wasn't all smooth sailing, as they faced resistance from the Big German Power companies who were against it from the very start, to quote 73-year-old Joachim Gluck, a permanent resident of the village: “The permit process took longer than the actual building process”.

The Story of how Feldheim got off the grid sets a template many small towns and villages here in Jamaica can follow.

It lays the foundation of what is possible here now that we’ve had Net Billing since May 2012, which Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Phillip Paulwell has been taking advantage of to make money from his own personal Solar Installation at home as reported in my blog article entitled “Phillip Paulwell makes Net Billing official with 11 licenses issued - JPS Co invited via Mavado's Come Round a Mi Yard”.

Possibly such a Private Power Co-Operative is possible in Jamaica if residents of a farming Community pool their resources together. They'll face opposition from the Government but they'll also reap the benefits to having the price of Electricity not fluctuate because of Oil Prices and Cooking Gas for their Stoves at a cheaper Price.

Thoughts to ponder as JPS Co Sticks us up again for a 19% increase in Electricity overall this Christmas 2014 after declaring we’d get 8.4% off the cost of Imported Fuel on our IPP Charges.

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