The city council group Freie Wähler and FÜR Karlsruhe has spoken out in the municipal council for the abandonment of the Festival of Lights 2023. City, state and federal governments are promoting energy conservation in times of war in Ukraine and rising electricity and gas prices:
“We have to realize that the traditional light bulbs used so far in the Festival of Lights consume a lot of electricity and the necessary conversion to energy-saving LED bulbs would be quite a burden on the city budget, as well as the increased cost of electricity – both of which are not feasible in view of the energy crisis and the city’s budget situation. The city has a role model function. If all citizens are called upon to save energy, then the city even more so,” said parliamentary group chairman Friedemann Kalmbach in the Karlsruhe.
In the municipal council, Mayor Frank Mentrup also promoted the suspension of the Festival of Lights and held out the prospect of an alternative event in the winter. In total, costs of up to 220,00 euros must be expected for the traditional festival of lights. Admission fees as well as donations could not cover these costs in the past. In 2023, costs for the city will be even higher due to rising prices.
In a controversial debate in the Karlsruhe City Council with an impromptu two-minute break, the CDU faction highlighted that the electricity consumption of the Festival of Lights could power 10 families for a year. Also, the bulbs are obsolete and no longer allowed by the European Union.
The Greens want to hold the Festival of Lights despite the energy crisis, energy-saving calls from all sides and high electricity prices. Green Party city councilor Fahringer sees a “high experience value” in the festival of lights.
The SPD municipal council faction introduced its own amendment for the suspension of the Festival of Lights in 2023. For this purpose, the saved energy costs should be used to purchase new illuminants for an energy-saving festival of lights.
The vote ended with 19 votes in favor of holding the Festival of Lights and 19 votes in favor of suspending it. Thus, request of the city administration for the suspension of the Festival of Lights 2023 was rejected. Next year there will be a festival of lights in Karlsruhe.