The solar project will show that an integral approach of carbon free energy supply can boost effective ecosystem development, essential for climate protection.
The project tackles several problems
- In the historical city of Stadthagen many buildings are under preservation order, legally prohibiting solar roof panels. Hence, the nearby stockpile of the former coal mine area will turn into “the rooftop of Stadthagen”.
- After mine closure in 1960 an indigenous biotope structure evolved with a quite high biodiversity: natterjack toad, classified "endangered" in the Red List of Lower Saxony (2013) and other endangered open-country-bird types like skylarks, nine-killers, blood-linnet.
- Installation of solar panels, rainwater management can support natterjack toad biotopes of shallow, newly designed spawning pools. More solutions will be developed to keep the biodiversity high.
- An extended public participation process will help to improve acceptance. Due to Covid-19, monthly online meetings inform the public of the current status.
- Historical monuments of the colliery site will be integrated and reused to demonstrate the development of energy supply. An information centre will be built here; the new stockpile will in parts be open for public as a local recreation area to share the perception of the integral approach.
The environment in general will benefit from the project. Integrating water electrolyses units to produce Hydrogen gas “green energy” from solar panels will be storable from summer to winter times.
The project is calculated at an investment cost of initially (2016) eleven million euros, financed by investors (a public utility company). Federal, State of Lower Saxony funds for regional development and EU structural support programs are being planned.
Evidence of success
The project has already started the urban land use planning procedure with a decision on the principle and layout affirmed by City Council and administration. Many regionally relevant stakeholders are involved and on board.
Potential for learning or transfer
The project shows that an integral management to implement renewable energy hardware does not exclude respecting and facilitating natural conditions on the site. Nature conservation issues can be integrated into the energy transition. Furthermore, the project sets new incentives to better i.e. less formally citizen participation integrating and involving citizens timely ahead the formal official directive and extending the impact of a measure even beyond the city borders.