Taking them by storm

Wind power – even when the wind is not blowing. That was Jan Martin Hansen’s dream. Together with Bosch and a group of people who shared his vision, this native of North Frisia made his dream come true.

They all know him in Braderup: Jan Martin Hansen, the salt-of-the-earth farmer with the stubbly beard and the big mouth. Hansen is a fixture of this windswept village of 700 located in the northernmost corner of Germany. But today, even people who live far away from Braderup know him. That’s because he’s a wind-power pioneer. Hansen always had a dream. That dream was to harness the commodity his home region offers in abundance: a stiff breeze. The farmers up in northern Germany were desperately seeking a second source of income. Hansen’s vision? To build a community wind park complete with an energy storage facility to allow the citizens of Braderup to harvest wind – no matter what the weather. Hansen and his allies demonstrated such passion for the project that eventually they won over their fellow citizens, banks, and politicians. “A lot of them thought we were nuts at first,” he chuckles. “But we sure showed them!” The breakthrough came when Bosch contributed the battery technology for the storage facility. In July 2014, the wind park was ready to go, and Braderup celebrated its grand opening with a party to remember. As Hansen remarked, “I hope Braderup becomes a role model for all of Europe.”


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