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Green Economy and Research

The Environment as an Economic Factor

Solar expertise and renewable energy sources

Freiburg has achieved some of its greatest successes, both in an economic and environmental sense, in the research and marketing of renewable energy. This is evident simply by glancing at the cityscape. Solar installations as far as the eye can see: on the football stadium, exhibition centre and city hall, on the roofs of schools, churches and private houses, on façades and towers and yes, even on the former landfill site. After all, with over 1,800 hours of sunshine per year, Freiburg is one of the sunniest cities in Germany, a factor that is not just conducive to tourism. There are also hydroelectric systems on the River Dreisam and wind turbines on the heights of the Black Forest, as well as other technologies, like biomass plants.

The Freiburg mix

However, it is not just the favourable conditions provided by its geography and climate that have transformed Freiburg into the solar and environmental capital of Germany. It is also and above all factors such as the high level of environmental awareness among the population, political priorities and targeted promotion of business. Far earlier than elsewhere, people here recognised the opportunities presented by solar energy for climate protection, business and urban development. The much-visited and award-winning pioneering and model projects, like the world‘s first ‚solar‘ house to be self-sufficient in terms of energy, the rotatable „Heliotrope“ and the solar residential estate designed by the solar architect Rolf Disch, the passive houses in Vauban residential district, the world‘s first football stadium to have a solar system or the world‘s first passive high-rise building, are all testament to this approach.

What makes Freiburg so unique is what is known as the „Freiburg Mix“, a unique interplay of political, economic and geographic factors, as well as other historical factors that have shaped the people‘s mentality. Since 1986 the City of Freiburg has been supporting the expansion of renewable energies with targeted project funding, roof space for solar systems and information campaigns on issues such as climate protection and energy efficiency. In addition, partners from the world of business and science work together to produce technical innovations, qualified growth and a future-centric region.

Renewable Energy for All

The regional energy and environmental service provider, badenova, has been driving forward an alternative energy strategy for many years. The medium-sized firm relies on a mix of measures in its strategy and regards itself as the „region‘s Here are just a few examples: Regiostrom Fund, the regional alternative energy fund, promotes the expansion of renewable energy sources – since 1999, over 2,700 private solar systems, 37 hydropower plants and seven biomass systems have been supported.

The fund is financed by customers who buy „regiostrom aktiv“ power, electricity from renewable sources. badenova supplies all residential customers with green electricity as a matter of course. The company also uses its Innovation Fund for Climate and Water Protection to support pilot projects that could otherwise not be realised due to a lack of profitability. Since its inception, 3% of the company‘s profit (around 1.8 million) flows annually into this fund. badenova invests in the expansion of solar energy, wind energy and the biogas sector – because there can be no alternative energy strategy without a broad-based energy mix. www.badenova.de

More information (German)