Case Studies and Inspiration

Feldheim, Germany

Feldheim is a small agricultural village with around 130 inhabitants located 80 km southwest of Berlin. It owns and manages its own heat and electricity networks through an independent local utility company established in partnership with a local private developer (Energiequelle ltd.), local agricultural cooperatives, the local government and the citizens of Feldheim. Feldheim hosts a number of wind turbines (74.1 MW) which were developed by Energiequelle, some of which feed into Feldheim’s community-owned electricity network. The community owns a biogas plant (500 kW) which runs on the by-products of pig and cattle farming and feed into Feldheim’s community-owned district heating network. The output of the plant is in turn used as agricultural fertilizer. The town has a woodchip boiler and an electric battery in planning stage for back-up of heating and electricity respectively. 

Among the many benefits of Feldheim’s approach is the considerable lower cost of energy compared to normal private utility rates (17€ct/kWh vs. 28€ct/kWh - a 40% saving) increasing local value to the region in the form of local tax revenue,  job creation, and long-term security of energy supply.


Summerside, Prince Edward Island, Canada

Summerside is the second largest city in Prince Edward Island off the south east of Canada. The city operates a municipally owned Electric Utility (Summerside Electric) serving around seven thousand customers (approximately one third of the population of Orkney). The utility owns 12 MW of wind capacity and has an additional 9 MW of wind from a private developer. Using diesel generation as a back-up, the utility claims to be able to run fully on wind for up to 40% of the time during the year. To maximise wind utilisation, the utility has put in place an innovative Smart Grid Pilot programme, using  remotely controlled domestic hot water and space heating systems. The smart grid communications system uses optic fibre and the utility is therefore also able to offer high-speed broadband services to their customers. Summerside Electric provides low cost electricity services ( c. 5p/kWh for heat and 9p/kWh for electricity) which are guaranteed for 5 years, and claims to have reduced local greenhouse gas emissions by 50%.  As a municipally-owned organisation, a proportion of profits from the utility are reinvested in local community projects through a grants scheme.  Summerside is widely regarded as the greenest community in North America and Canada.



The Abernethy Trust

The Abernethy Trust have been supported through both SCHRI and CARES IIF to provide a renewable source of energy for their outdoor centre at Ardgour. The project involved the installation of a 89kW run-of-river hydro electrification scheme. This is principally for on-site use at their School of Adventure Leadership at Ardgour. Revenue will be specifically directed at improving the energy efficiency status of their buildings and upgrading/replacing their aged, existing oil-fired heating system with an electric heating system powered by their own hydro scheme. The efficient integration of the hydro scheme and the on-site demand requires new thermal storage capacity and smart controls, which have been funded by the CARES IIF grant.  Over time, the aim is to provide electricity to all the Abernethy Trust buildings on the site.