Our team has just returned from an exciting and inspiring journey. A journey that has given us much to think about. Our crew spent nine days filming in Kiev and in eastern Ukraine.
Why in Ukraine of all places?
The current conflict there has more to do with the energy revolution than meets the eye. Our thesis is that the situation in Ukraine could be significantly improved if the country had more renewable energy at its disposal. Ukraine would be less dependent on natural gas and could not be pressured as much by supply shortages. With electrical power and heating from renewable sources Ukraine could become self-reliant.
In recent years the people of Ukraine have repeatedly suffered the effects of politically motivated energy supply cuts — these days they are suffering under what has turned into a political and military standoff. We have met people who are torn as to whether they should stay and risk falling victim to this conflict or whether to pack up their belongings and flee their country.
These encounters have touched us. We see renewable energy as an opportunity to bring peace to this country and to give it more stability. This is why we felt the need to film here and to address Ukraine’s current crisis in the context of this film.
Our dedicated local producer put us in touch with inspiring visionaries who are passionately supporting the development of renewable energy in Ukraine, despite the difficult political situation there. Our producer found the perfect filming locations for us.
The bulldozers plough their way through tons of concrete and steel. The power plant has been reduced to a huge mountain of rubble. 10 percent of it is radioactive and must be discarded of separately. Some 60.000 tons are safe enough to reuse. The question is what for? The answer is simple. The rubble from the old power station must be used sustainably in a way that will facilitate the production of renewable energy. This new form of energy is plentiful and on particularly sunny or windy days it can provide more energy than is needed , but it also means greater fluctuation. Therefore new energy storage solutions are needed to capture the surplus at peak times in order to ensure a constant and reliable supply. The development of new pumped-storage power plants is one solution and marks a milestone in the development of renewables. How the rubble of former nuclear power plants may be used to the same effect will be revealed in our film POWER TO CHANGE – The EnergyRebellion.
A young helper on our set, living in a small community that’s the largest passive house estate in the world
On our first day of shooting we met André and his parents and were able to document their move into their new home. The 7-year old André was at first shy but then watched the work of our film team with great interest. He had plenty of questions for our cameraman and listened carefully to our sound recordist. We in turn had our own questions for the new residents of Bahnstadt: 10.000 people will live here in future and some 7.000 will work here. And all of this in passive houses. It’s an example of innovative urban planning, as these homes consume just 10 to 15 percent of the energy needed to heat conventional homes. The architectural concept of this estate is also a good example for modern living. Green courtyards connect the houses and create common spaces. Children can play safely in front of their homes on bicycles, skateboards and scooters, as there are hardly any cars in Bahnstadt. A communal atmosphere to replace the anonymity of the big city.
However, André was able to drive quite a special vehicle, our camera dolly. His parents showed us their new home, which is close to the city centre, energy efficient and green. With perfect sunshine we were able to capture this community in the best possible light. Soon it was time for our assistant director to shout “cut”. For our team it was a wrap and for André a great experience!