Martin Frey’s Baedeker Guide to Renewable Energy in Germany (Erneuerbare Energien Entdecken)-A review

By Paul Gipe

Renewable energy has indeed come of age: It now has its on Baedeker Reiseführer or travel guide.

Baedeker has been publishing travel guides since the early 19th century and in Deutschland-Erneuerbare Energien entdecken (Discovering renewable in Germany), the publisher has determined that renewable deserves its own travel guide.

Update: Frey and Baedeker have published an English language version. See Martin Frey’s English Language Version of Baedeker Guide to Renewable Energy in Germany.

I couldn’t agree more.

We’re not your typical tourists, that’s for sure. We enjoy exploring the word as part of my work writing and lecturing about renewable energy. As a consequence, we seek out renewable energy installations worldwide both to photograph and to chronicle. I’ve often lamented that there should be a travel book just devoted to renewable energy. Now we have one.

Deutschland-Erneuerbare Energien entdecken is an easily portable little book jam-packed cover to cover with photos, maps, diagrams. It’s the DK (Dorling Kindersley) book of travel books-and it’s all about renewable energy.

When I first saw this book mentioned in a German trade magazine, I said, “I have to have that”. Granted, I am book geek, a geography geek, and a renewable energy geek. This book struck my fancy on so many levels. And I put it to the test too. I used it to map a trip through Rheinland-Pfalz (Rhineland-Palatinate), the German state near where we planned a visit. And this guidebook did just what any good guidebook should do-it delivered us to some wonderful and productive engagement with the people and places where renewable energy is coming alive.

Anyone traveling to Germany to see renewable energy in action, should take a copy of this book with them. It’s an indispensable guide. Literally, it’s a Baedeker guide to the landscape of renewable energy.

This book is real work of art. It is beautiful in concept, execution, and what it says about the renewable energy revolution sweeping Germany.

I am hard pressed to find enough superlatives. This is my kind of book, one written by a skilled technical writer and a geographer no less.

I can’t imagine the hours invested in this project or the amount spent in artwork and composition. This book represents a serious undertaking by both Martin Frey and his publisher, Baedeker.

Ok, it is in German. But the maps, diagrams, and location information are understandable for non-German speakers. And it’s plethora of pictures makes it easy to pick what you want to see-whether wind turbines, solar arrays, or biogas plants.

The German government should give copies out to visitors of international conferences held in Germany. There’s no better way to illustrate the “energiewende” or energy revolution than this beautiful guide book.

Deutschland – Erneuerbare Energien entdecken by Martin Frey 192 pages, paper, MAIRDUMONT-Verlag, December 2010, ISBN 978-3-8297-1290-3, €14.95.

The book can be ordered from the author’s web site: