Between June 26th and July 1st, Dirk Ketelsen will be a guest speaker at the Midwest Renewable Energy Tour. While traveling across Minnesota, South Dakota and Wisconsin, the German farmer and self-made businessman will share personal experiences of building a business in the renewable energy industry. Originally an organic farmer, Dirk is now the Executive Director of the Dirkshof, a multi-functional and energy-focused company, working with a staff of ten on production, consultation and project development of electricity generation from biogas, biomass, sun and wind. Dirk is one of 200,000 German farmers who have become energy producers, actively generating local added value, rural development and green jobs.
Dirk is a strong advocate of bottom-up business and policy development. As a farmer in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein, Dirk was among the first to install a 200kw wind generator on his 140 hectares farm in 1990 when financial and political capacity for renewable energy deployment was still scarce. By actively engaging with other farmers and local residents to overcome barriers of planning, siting and grid access, Dirk contributed to the successful growth of renewable energies in Schleswig-Holstein. The state currently generates about 60% of its electricity from renewable energies such as biomass and wind, showcasing the success of the German Clean Contracts (aka feed-in tariffs), a financial support scheme introduced in the early ‘90s, which provides renewable facilities with guaranteed long-term priority connection to the grid.