All posts by Margaret Pesuit

Second CGC meeting in Latvia

2nd_CGC_Latvia1 The engineering consultancy company Ekodoma and the Riga Planning Region (RPR) held the second CGC meeting in the municipality of Salspils. The development of the Riga planning region energy plan has been discussed and a site visit to the wood chip boiler house was organized. The resulting regional energy plan will help municipalities introduce their own sustainable energy plans and promote the use of renewable energy in district heating.

Currently, each municipality has a different approach to energy planning and using renewable energy for heating purposes in their municipalities. The regional energy plan will guide municipalities in their energy planning work. The development of the regional energy plan is ongoing and will be completed in 2016.

2nd_CGC_Latvia2Energy planning experts and persons in charge of district heating in municipalities attended the meeting to discuss the regional energy plan’s content and methodologies for mapping heating demand and supply options. During the same meeting, municipalities had the opportunity to learn about the experience of the municipality of Salaspils in the field of energy planning and energy management. The district heating company presented their involvement in building renovation projects, where district heating company acts as an ESCO. In addition, a tour of the newly built wood chip district heating plant was organised for all participants.

Second CGC Workshop in Bulgaria

2nd CGC Workshop in BulgariaOn September 24, 2015, the Association of Rhodope Municipalities and the Black Sea Energy Research Centre organised the second Bulgarian CGC meeting, which took place in the city of Plovdiv. Representatives of municipal and district administrations, energy suppliers, energy agencies as well as other CGC members participated in the event and discussed the work done on the project so far and the opportunities to increase the application of the results achieved.

The Bulgarian partners on the project are currently developing a plan for heating from renewable energy for the Rhodope region. All data has been collected and is nearly done being analysed.

GIS maps have been created, indicating:

  • Annual energy consumption for heating in residential buildings and energy consumption forecasts for 2025, 2030 and 2050;
  • Annual energy consumption for water heating in the residential sector;
  • Biomass energy potential;
  • Geothermal energy potential;
  • Municipal buildings with larger energy consumption in selected towns.

The use of geo-referenced data allows the inclusion of the results in numerous calculations and their optimization, if further updates are needed. This would support the energy planning of local and regional administrations.

Three cost-benefit analyses have been carried out:

  • Heating solutions in the residential sector;
  • District heating by geothermal energy – the case of the municipality of Zlatograd;
  • The heating of municipal buildings – the case of the municipality of Chepelare.

The results of the aforementioned analyses and the related software tools will help identify the best heating solutions.

In January 2016, the 3rd CGC workshop will be held to discuss the draft regional plan and, specifically, the measures needed to achieve the plan’s targets.

First CGC workshop in Italy

Italy-1stCGCThe first Italian regional focus group, led by Arpa Emilia-Romagna, was organized in December 2014 in Bologna. More than 40 national and regional key stakeholders within the energy sector attended this important event.

The meeting also facilitated a effective synergies between RES H/C SPREAD and another European project, “SmartReflex” (coordinated by Ambiente Italia), which aims to increase the diffusion of smart and flexible district heating and cooling (DHC) systems, based on sharing of renewable energy sources (RES). The purpose of the meeting was not merely to make the aims of the projects known, but also to share and discuss the proposed technical solutions and reach consensus on the measures envisaged. The main theme of the meeting was the development of a positive vision of renewable energy by the year 2030 in the Emilia-Romagna region. Participants were then asked to do an advanced future projection exercise, imagining the year 2030, and to describe a positive and desirable energy situation.

Each actor involved played a role (different from their real roles) in one of the identified four groups (administrators, citizens, nonprofit entities, for-profit enterprises) describing the renewable energy situation for heating and cooling, positive aspects, available instruments/tools and success indicators. This role-playing game was used to collect and discuss the main ideas and objectives of the different stakeholders involved. In this way it was possible to create a useful dialogue among people with different expertise and experiences. A substantial convergence of ideas and goals emerged for the future of RES H/C and for more sustainable development.

First CGC workshop in Western Macedonia Region - Greece

First CGC workshop in Western Macedonia Region - Greece

Fifteen stakeholders participated in the first CGC workshop, providing valuable insights on the three discussed objectives. Specifically, the analyzed objectives and the obtained outcomes are presented in the following points:

Objective 1: Specification of potential needs, problems, and expectations with regard to regional heating and cooling systems and services.

First, the mapping of utilized energy sources for heating and cooling was introduced, specifying that the district heating, biomass and oil products are the dominant fuels in the final consumption sectors. Moreover, the potential of biomass can be characterized as high, while various factors hamper the further penetration of biomass for heating, such as the absence of the necessary legal framework for the further exploitation of forest and residual biomass, illegal logging, steep topology, etc. Furthermore, district heating is expected to maintain its important role for the fulfillment of heating demand, while further penetration of district heating is hindered by the lack of a robust legal framework regarding the sale of the thermal energy produced and the absence of financial mechanisms for the extension of the existing district heating grid.

Objective 2: Description of the future situation in terms of their environmental, functional, and economic aspects and measures/policies to be implemented.

First CGC workshop in Western Macedonia Region - Greece

The main axes regarding the evolution of heating and cooling in the future should be based both on the further extension of the existing district heating network and the development of local district heating grids with biomass. Moreover, further exploitation of district heating can be fulfilled with the promotion of co-firing of lignite with biomass, while solar thermal can support the utilization of biomass for district heating. Woodchips and pellets should have a dominant role during the development of the heating plans. The most important criterion for the development of the heating and cooling plans should be the degree of energy poverty and its potential alleviation, while various other social and environmental criteria should be taken into account.

Objective 3: Identification of available data sources and procedures for data collection.

Finally, all the available information needs to be collected, focusing mainly on the implemented financing programs and the results of the pilot programs in the region.

Concluding the development of heating and cooling plans in the region of Western Macedonia is rather challenging, as the high heating demand must be fulfilled taking into consideration the unique economic and societal characteristics of the local population. The RES potential can be considered high and it is essential that it be combined with the existing district heating network. Finally, the upcoming development of heating and cooling plans will gather the interest of the local and regional authorities, who have understood the developmental prospects of this undertaking and will support their development and implementation, fulfilling specific conditions.

First CGC workshop in Bulgaria

Bulgaria-1stCGCThe first CGC workshop was held in the town of Smolyan on 30.01.2015. There were 24 participants representing municipalities and districts within Rhodope region, the Ministry of Energy, the Sustainable Energy Development Agency, energy agencies, utilities, and others. After the presentation of each participant, the RES H/C SPREAD project and the objectives of the meeting were presented. An introductory session on RES H/C topics, including national policy, potential, utilization technologies, and similar projects followed. Finally, the participants discussed potential problems and needs in Rhodope region, expectations for H/C in the region, future developments, data, data sources, and other planning issues.

Some of the main conclusions from the meeting were:

  • The plan needs to address the improvement of the current inefficient and polluting biomass utilization in individual (primitive) stoves through introduction of efficient biomass heating (individual, local, district heating) options.
  • The biomass and geothermal energy potential needs to be mapped and a cost-benefit analysis of concrete biomass and geothermal energy applications needs to be conducted.
  • Planning priorities need to be related to available financing.
  • The plan needs to consider the customer opinions and information measures need to be part of the plan.

First CGC workshop in Austria

At the beginning of 2015, the first Austrian CGC meeting within RES H/C SPREAD project was held at the SIR (Salzburger Institut für Raumordnung und Wohnen) in Salzburg, Austria. The participants were experts from the Province of Salzburg, SIR, Austrian Energy Agency (AEA), and the Regional Association “City of Salzburg and Surroundings”, the Regional Association “Salzburg Lake District”, and Salzburg AG, the main heat supplier in the region.

Following a brief project introduction, the ongoing planning activities in the region, in particular a heat demand map for analysis of the RES-H potential, were discussed. The discussion indicated that the regional activities of RES H/C SPREAD project should be focused on cost-benefit analysis using the EnergyPLAN tool. Furthermore, a method for mapping the RES-cooling demand could be provided.

First Latvian CGC meeting

Latvia - 1st CGC meetingThe first CGC meeting was hosted by RPR (Riga Planning Region) in Riga, Latvia on 29 January 2015.

The Head of Administration of the Riga Planning Region welcomed the participants and presented the agenda and the meeting’s main objectives. Representatives from all partners confirmed their presence at the meeting, after which they briefly introduced themselves, presenting their background and organization.

The meeting started with a presentation from the Ministry of the Economy, Department of RES and Energy Efficiency, dedicated to general energy policy and the latest developments in the field of municipal energy planning.

Experience from involvement in the Covenant of Mayors was presented by Riga City Energy Agency. CGC members discussed how SEAPs could be used for energy planning.

RES H/C SPREAD project partners from Ekodoma and RPR continued with an introduction of the project: the idea, background, concept, main objectives and outputs. The planned mapping exercise, the development of a plan for the Riga region, the methodology, process, activities and stakeholder involvement were then discussed in detail. Currently, municipal energy plans are optional, but a new energy law is being developed and soon energy plans for big municipalities will be compulsory. Therefore, the Ministry of the Economy supports planned activities regarding the development of a regional plan for the Riga Planning Region. Energy supply and demand mapping examples were presented and discussed. Power point presentations of all work packages were given. All presentations from the meeting were later sent out to participants.

There were 25 participants, representing:

  • The administrative head of the region (1 person)
  • Development specialists (10 persons)
  • Municipal energy enterprises/units/energy specialists (7 persons)
  • National interests (the Ministry of the Economy) (2 persons)
  • The project team (3 persons)
  • Other energy experts (2 persons)

More information in Latvian