Solar Freiburg

Gelezen op van 31 mei 2009:

Terwijl de Amsterdamse politiek haar wethouder van milieu, Marijke Vos, het leven zuur maakt, maakt de stad Freiburg in Baden Württemberg furore met de uitvoering van plannen die ook Vos op haar lijstje heeft staan. Door de onrust rond de opwarming van de aarde is het ruim 200.000 inwoners tellende Freiburg ineens in de internationale belangstelling komen te staan. Zelfs de Amerikanen hebben de Zuidduitse stad ontdekt. Waarom lukt het daar wel en in Amsterdam niet? Omdat de bewoners van Freiburg in de jaren zeventig zich met succes hebben verweerd tegen de komst van een kerncentrale. "Even after the plant was cancelled, they stuck together, agreeing it wasn’t enough to say what they opposed — they had to explore where they would get their future electricity, power, heat. Would it be solar, or wind, or geothermal? Could it happen with no nuclear power, with radically less oil and coal?" Aldus de Amerikaanse journalist Neil Pearce op zijn blog, "It was an open debate. Professors came to the town plaza to discuss arrays of energy strategies. Special research institutes were founded — among them an EcoInstitute to look into such issues as reduced household consumption through energy-efficient construction and appliances. Also founded in Freiburg: the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems, now Europe’s largest solar research energy body with a 500-person staff. A visitor is exposed to exciting solar razzle-dazzle in Freiburg today — some 1,000 solar panels on building rooftops and facades, 2,400 square meters of solar cells atop a city stadium, and a solar tower at the railway station, its mixture of glass and 240 embedded solar panels glistening in the sun. It’s taking time for solar to satisfy more than a fraction of Freiburg’s city energy demands. But it keeps growing because of a crucial incentive — the legal right of homeowners and businesses to feed excess power back into the local power grid, at an attractive rate of return, on a multi-year basis. Germany as a whole is following the Freiburg lead, investing billions in photovoltaic research to become one of the world leaders in solar panel production and installation."

“We do trips into the future,” says Juergen Hartwig, a founding partner of “Freiburg Futour” which explain’s Freiburg’s breakthroughs to visitors. Environmentalists like himself, he notes, are no longer scoffed at as impractical idealists who wear two sweaters in winter; today not only Germany’s “Greens” but the main political parties have come around to support solar and other energy alternatives, because they’re profitable, and because they provide the county with some 250,000 jobs. Freiburg keeps expanding its energy saving alternatives. Town center is an expansive vehicle-free pedestrian zone, one of Germany’s first, with refreshing foot-wide fresh water canals running along the streets to provide natural cooling and add ambiance. There’s a robust, growing public transit system of electric trams and buses. The city’s advanced water systems include grassy swales to percolate rain water into the aquifer while sewage waste is collected in a biogas plant together with organic household waste for electric power generation." Volgens Pearce is de woonwijk Vauban het meest radicale voorbeeld van een ecologisch verantwoorde inrichting. De wijk – een naoorlogs barakkenkamp van de Franse bezettingsmacht – kent geen parkeren op straat, wordt doorsneden door fietspaden, kent een gavanceerd systeem van regenwaterafvoer, wordt voorzien van energie uit fotovoltaische cellen. "Seventy percent of Vauban’s 5,000 residents don’t own an automobile at all; many sold a car to move into the neighborhood and now rely on a car-sharing scheme (like ZipCar in the United States) for excursions." Zeg maar, het is een soort Utrechtse Houten, maar dan ambitieuzer, meer bij de tijd.

Als het goed is, komt de burgemeester van Freiburg dit najaar naar Amsterdam. Om te spreken op het Wibaut-congres, op 1 & 2 oktober, in de Westergasfabriek. Dan eens kijken hoeveel Wibauten de Amsterdamse politiek nog kent.





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