A Visit with EWS Schönau, Germany’s „Electricity Rebels“

Together with Priya I went up to Schönau. Not only a intresting and cute Blackforrest village but also one of the centers of Germany’s energy revolution.
Pria vote a long article on her blog.

Priya's Watson Fellowship

On Wednesday (August 5), Sebastian and I went to visit EWS Schönau, an extremely successful German energy cooperative. EWS was founded after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster of 1986, when the town of Schönau’s provider KWR refused to phase out nuclear or move towards environmentally friendly energy. Schönau’s citizens realized the only way to change the status quo was to own the grid themselves, and after many negotiations, multiple citizens‘ referenda, and a large fundraising effort, EWS was finally established (1994), allowed to operate Schönau’s electricity grid (1996), and allowed to buy and own this electricity grid (1997).

We were greeted at EWS by Tanja Gaudian. EWS currently sits in its own office building, with additional buildings for a workshop and a small entertainment center. The EWS office also has a co-generation plant, a fuel cell, and rooftop solar. With 100 employees, it’s the biggest company in Schönau (and incidentally, Schönau’s biggest taxpayer).

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