Sat 29 May 2021 10:05AM

PROPOSAL, seeking advice - POWER - How can we do electricity better?

AK Alex Kaos Public Seen by 46

Traditionally Kiez Burn has provided power by renting large generators from a company and laying thick cables all over the gelände to provide power for the camps.

Now the amount of power those gennys provide greatly exceeds that which we use. It is also a large chunk of the costs of running the event (about 10% of all ticket sales = 8000€).

I am eager to explore alternative opportunities which would include some things like:

  • Investing in self-contained off-grid systems (here's 500W wind/solar combi for ~400€). One would also need a battery and inverter (+200€ minimum).

    • Advantages = Green energy, long-term investment/saving, usable in other contexts, less cables over all.

    • Disadvantages = requires knowledge to install and operate, 'large' upfront cost, only works for non-sound-camps, might be tricky with fridges and some appliances, bulky storage, the windmill is awkward.

  • Having a hybrid system of solar, batteries and smaller generators.

    • Solar and batteries provide the consistent basic power

    • Gennies provide backup and boosts when needed

    • Gennies can power the sound-camps

I have limited knowledge on this, but I did run an immersive art installation outdoors last summer for only 500W, which we did on a larger solar/battery set-up. So I know magic can be done with little power.

I am curious:

  • Do any of the camps feel they have enough resources in people and materials to take themselves off-grid? Especially if KB redirected some of the power costs to support/subsidize a part of the investment? @Annette @Andreas Noack @Eyal @Quentin @Holger Wessels @Sven Dudink @Jan-Christian Kaspareit @CJ Yetman @Mareike (please add any other camp leads/experts that may be interested in this topic)

  • Is this a topic you would like to see a move forward on?

  • Do you have any information or resources (or know anyone with such information or resources) that can move this discussion further towards an interesting resolution?

Thank you for your time.

Even if we don't come to a clean and clear solution by KB21, I hope to start the discussion and potentially plan for a greener KB in 2022!!!!


CJ Yetman Sat 29 May 2021 11:58AM

I have definitely given thought to this... how to get our camp to run "off grid" with no dependency on the site's generators. The expense has been the only reason I haven't done it already. I don't think a 500W system will cut it for a camp with a refrigerator, which we have always relied on. It needs to cover peak usage, and refrigerators usually kick off with at least 1000W. I have looked at systems that would work for our needs (solar charging, high capacity battery to get through the night) but it would be a ~2000€ minimum I think.


Steffen Lepa Tue 1 Jun 2021 12:45PM

great initiative that I cannot applaud enough for. However, I dont see it coming this year. Because, as @CJ Yetman correctly said, you have to make an investment for several years.


Sven Dudink Tue 8 Jun 2021 12:36PM

@The Lord of Fire (Schatzmeister) as i still very much like to improve the power situation on kiez burn, I would like to still keep this topic alive, there are things what could be done, we can decrease our carbon footprint, and we can go further of grid, when I started my proposal this year I had the off grid system in mind, after being nearly finished, I realize the on site task will be huge and I am for this year not willing to support that (besides it would need a driver license)
here is a link to my original proposal:

{{{i did however request a quote for a portable solar-plant, I don't think this will be a cost reducer, but I would love to see one of these on kiez burn: we already rent our diesel generators from this business so swapping out 1 or more could be doable, as soon as i receive the quota i will update this, but i was to impatient not to share this with you guys, since this thing is just awesome}}}

Quote requested, costs are 5000 per solar panel, full solar will be around 20.000 ,at this point the price for going green through solar panels does not seem to be in our budget yet, at leat not in this construction


Jan-Christian Kaspareit Wed 9 Jun 2021 8:54AM

Batteries and inverters for the size and quality we need are actually pretty expensive. There are more specific inverter needs for electronics like laptops and amplifiers and stuff.

I think this would be more viable, if every camps considers there own electricity. With the new sound guidelines in place, I think that we could make the "solar saloon" a thing. But probably not this year.


Kaliope Wed 25 Aug 2021 3:26PM

Very exciting considerations and thought processes! Thanks for this important initiative to make KB a little greener 🌿Burners of the Anthropocene, this could actually make a good theme for 2022... Depending on what scale we're talking about: Aren't solar or photovoltaic systems more worthwhile and sustainable in the long run – and wouldn't we benefit more by talking to Freiland and possibly investing in something long term together (if we stick to this location)? The unused electricity could be fed into the grid over the year and generate some constant money. Sure, that's an investment first and obviously not in our budget (maybe in a few years) – but wouldn't something come back in the process? After all, the nationwide power grid should also become more decentralized! Power to the Kieze 🙌

This is also connected with build & strike. Maybe I just have the wrong picture in my head now, and it's not such an effort with e.g. the smaller solar/wind panel you linked above? In general, the construction as well as dismantling of these systems is very labor-intensive. That would be a real bunch of additional work if we have it only for KB (strike was a shitshow this year anyway...) If you're interested in how this works and want to go deeper into this topic, talk to Stefan – he's doing this professionally... Some more thoughts on the weather situation: We're actually used to being sun-kissed at KB, but if it gets very cloudy (or not windy) over a few days, wouldn't everyone have to resort to the genny solution as a backup?

It's also interesting for UnderWorld as probably the most dirty and energy-intensive camp. We had already considered powering our sound system with a bicycle – no way... this year, we consumed and paid for about one-eighth of the total electricity used at KB, while everyone who enjoys the light show and the music benefits from that in a certain sense. If we're talking about distributing our power needs over different energy sources and giving funding to greener solutions, what about spreading the burden of cost a little more centrally, like Borderland does? Maybe it works for one small open air around Berlin, but if we keep the same production standard, a simple car battery won't help much (we even had problems running one single chop saw with our build generator...) It's way easier for smaller, "non-fridgerated" camps to go off grid and we should definitely check it out, but not everyone can do it. So I guess that leaves the big generator with the peak cost. The "greener" alternative would be to pull a lot of plugs and just do simple art without electricity and fuss 😌


Kaliope Tue 31 Aug 2021 8:57AM

It's a big dream and Freiland doesn't have much money to spend atm – but some of these projects are supported by the government and e.g. Sternberg and Demmin have received several thousand euros for sustainable energy projects: I would suggest, let's spend our energy on the most necessary and then talk about it again when the topic comes up – something like this can't happen overnight anyway.


CJ Yetman Fri 27 Aug 2021 8:52AM

A solar farm like that would likely cost 10s of thousands of euros and requires frequent maintenance. Philosophically, I love the idea, but practically I think it’s infeasible.


Purzel Fri 27 Aug 2021 8:39AM

I love this initiative.

If we stay at freiland we could pitch the idea to install fixed solar panels that feed power into the Germanwide grid during the time of no event (location for the panels could be on the steep sunny side of the Playa, since it's "dead space").

If we end up moving somewhere else, we still have some form of steady income to invest into KB.

This way, we earn money (likely to be shared with freiland) during the year and since it needs to be connected to the power grid, we get access to the power grid throughout the event. (Hoping that Germany manages to get greener energy in the future)

That would eliminate our power problems for big sound camps, cloudy days and peak times.

Would love @Professor Kaos and @Kate feedback on this, concerning KB budget and Site liason.


Jan-Christian Kaspareit Wed 9 Jun 2021 8:57AM

Just to add: I did some raves in Berlin parks powered by a cheapish car battery and could play >10 hours on decent volumes.

So with a big enough solar panel (300 Watt?), you will probably be able to power a smaller soundcamp full time, if you have at least a few hours of sunshine a day.