We've seen one UK town aim for 30% renewables by 2015, and the United Arab Emirates' Masdar is often touted as the world's first clean energy city. But few communities could beat the huge push for renewables seen in Wildpoldsried, Germany, a town which has grown a clean energy industry bringing in $5.7m in annual revenue in just over a decade. And they've done it debt free. BioCycle has a fascinating report on this German village that produces 321% more clean energy than it needs:
In May 2011, 14 years later, Mayor Arno Zengerle announced at a town hall meeting that it's "half time" of his third term. He walked the community through a massive list of accomplishments that include nine new community buildings (including the school, gym and community hall) complete with solar panels, four biogas digesters with a fifth in construction, seven windmills with two more on the way, 190 private households equipped with solar, a district heating network with 42 connections, three small hydro power plants, ecological flood control and a natural wastewater system. Wildpoldsried (pop. <2,600) now produces 321 percent more energy than it needs and is generating 4.0 million Euro (US $5.7 million) in annual revenue. This is a remarkable accomplishment for a modest farming community that turned a village with no industry into an industry of renewable energy with the help of local entrepreneurs and pioneers.