The energy educational trail "Water, Wind and Sun" runs through the Rehbach Valley from the Krombach dam to the bus station in Herborn.
There was the fear of tearing down the power plants chain (valuable industrial heritage) and an idea of how to reuse this and preserve it needed to be born. The trail was designed in order to make an industrial heritage more visible and to provide information of "green" energy production along an interesting chain of five hydroelectric power stations. As early as the 1930s, the Rehbach was, in terms of length, gradient and quantity of water, one of the best-used stream systems in Germany for energy generation.
The trail has a length of approx. 20 km, with a walking time of approx. 4–5 hours. It has 3 main components of educational interest: energy won by water, wind and sun. On the numerous information boards, people will learn more about how energy is generated from natural resources. An information centre was set up at the Merkenbach hydroelectric power station in 1989 (currently closed). There is a bus connection from both sides back to the respective starting point.
The path was funded with 10,000 euros by LEADER (co-funding: Driedorf, Herborn, 70 % of the funding was provided). Benches along the trail were sponsored by companies and a local bank. A private person collected all the information, supported by the energy provider EAM.
Evidence of success
A good combination of historical/industrial sites of an active company with municipal interests of attracting tourists and is also promoted via the Geopark Westerwald-Lahn-Taunus. The decision by the politicians to implement the path was strengthened by the LEADER funding.
The implementation period was tightly timed due to the support/funding. So that the agreement with the companies for sign replacement was very close. In addition, many processes had to be completed in the short time window.
Potential for learning or transfer
The energy education trail is the first hiking trail that provides information about wind, water and sun at the same time. The idea of renewable energies and the excellent historical hydrogenetic power plant can be experienced very easily reading the information - it is well made up and easy to understand.