Feldheim & Welzow: Two Visits, Two Different Approaches to Energy

At the end of February, our Master in Global Energy Transition and Governance students visited two sites in Germany with different approaches to energy.

On the first day, they visited Feldheim (Brandenburg), the first energy self-sufficient village that relies entirely on renewable energies - wind, solar, biogas and biomass - with its local heating network and a power station. Its energy transition began in the 1990s, well before discussions about energy began to emerge in Germany.

The next day, they headed to Welzow, one of the largest open-air coal mines in Europe, which has been exploiting coal since the 1920s and which will be affected by Germany’s decision to stop coal production by 2038.

These visits allowed our students to gain a real insight into the coexistence of clean energy projects and the still huge scale of coal production in Germany, as well as the significant challenges of a clean energy transition.

As one of our students put it: "Considering the energy needs to be satisfied, the environmental impact, the use of the land, the political choices, the energy price on citizens, the social impact, the re-employment of workers, the solution for the energy transition is not so obvious and not easily feasible everywhere."

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