The Regional Authority of Western Macedonia expressed its willingness to examine the possibility of incorporating the proposed policy measures in the regional plan for heating and cooling from RES in the energy planning until 2030 through the signature of an endorsement letter.
The development of the regional plan for heating and cooling from RES in the region of Western Macedonia was completed with the beneficial contribution from the members of the Country Governance Committee. Specifically, six policy measures have been integrated in the regional plan aiming at increasing the current penetration of RES heating and cooling in the residential and tertiary sector from 21% in 2012 to 34% in 2030.
The third CGC workshop in Greece was conducted on Wednesday, 10 March 2016 with the participation of 13 stakeholders.
Firstly, the discussion was focused on the assumptions of the CBA analysis regarding the RES technologies for heating and cooling. The preliminary results from the CBA were assessed as realistic and robust. Nevertheless, it was decided to reevaluate some of the assumptions and to conduct a sensitivity analysis for the most uncertain parameters increasing the consensus and the acceptability of the CBA’s outcomes. Emphasis was given also on the utilized figures for the estimation of the externalities. It was noted that the performed CBA should take into account additional social effects, such as the created employment and the increase of the local GVA extending the framework of the analysis. Even if an opposition towards the proposed externalities by the JRC guidelines for the conduction of the CBA was declared, it was decided to utilize them initially in the developed plan. Nevertheless, it was agreed to initialize a procedure in order to quantify additional externalities in cooperation with CRES, ANKO and local universities and research centers through the implementation of specialized techniques. Furthermore, the developed plan should be updated integrating the findings from these initiatives. Finally, it was clarified that the aim of the plan is to homogenize all the relevant assumptions from the corresponding studies and to result in commonly agreed values.
Then the proposed policies and the corresponding mechanisms were assessed as rationale, while it was highlighted the necessity to take into account all the planned policies at regional level in order to facilitate the wide acceptance of the developed regional plan. In any case additional financial schemes and innovative mechanisms should be examined in cases that the existing financial mechanisms will be proved as inefficient. Furthermore, it was highlighted that the developed plan should be utilized as the main tool by the regional authority mobilizing the required investments by all the available funds.
Finally, the continuous update of the plan with the integration of additional measures is considered as a prerequisite in order to ensure the fulfillment of the regional plans’ established targets.
The 2nd CGC workshop was conducted on Wednesday, 24 June 2015 with the participation of 16 stakeholders.
In the beginning, the methodology for the data collection and the estimation of the heating and cooling demand were presented. The preliminary results were assessed as robust and realistic, while it was highlighted the problem that the available data are not homogeneous and that significant differences exist between theoretical and actual energy consumption, which must be taken into consideration during the development of the H/C plan. Moreover, the issue regarding the determination of the optimum level of spatial analysis was elaborated taking into account the availability and accuracy of the required data.
Then, the discussion was focused on the draft regional maps of the RES H/C supply and demand potential. Minor modifications were proposed, such as the utilization of common units and colors, while it was decided to send the draft regional maps to all the stakeholders in order to assess the reliability and accuracy of the estimated figures. Moreover, specific questions were raised regarding the antagonism role of the energy crops in the estimated biomass potential and the calculations about the estimated biogas potential.
Considering the CBA results, it was agreed to evaluate various RES technologies in 5-10 different scenarios for the identification of the most effective scenario, which will be utilized finally for the development of the regional RES H/C plan. For this task is crucial the integration of additional environmental and social criteria into the already selected criteria (share of RES and CO2 emissions). In any case, the specified criteria should be compatible with the established criteria of the Operational Program 2014-2020 for the economic support of RES technologies.
Finally, a preliminary discussion about the potential policies and measures, which will be integrated into the regional H/C plan, was conducted identifying potential barriers and opportunities.
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.
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.
On 10 April 2014, the first meeting of the ‘RES H/C Spread’ project took place at ISIS, in Rome (Italy). Coordinated by ISIS, the newly launched project aims at defining regional plans for a better use of renewable energies for both heating and cooling, focusing on 6 pilot Regions across Europe: Castilla y Leon (Spain), Emilia Romagna (Italy), Riga Region (Latvia), Rodophe (Bulgaria), Western Macedonia (Greece) and Saltsburg Region (Austria). Selected Regions represent different climate zones of Europe, in view of developing best practices and methodologies as extendible as possible to other European areas.
One of the project’s first tasks will be constituting Country Governance Committees (CGCs) in each region, in order to support the plans’ implementation and to help reach consensus between regional authorities, key stakeholders and citizens representatives. Following a participatory approach, the project wants to enable dialogue of all actors involved. To this end, the project has established country’s leaders, responsible for interacting with their CGCs, managing regional RES H/C plans and disseminating the project at local level. During the kick-off meeting, each country’s leader illustrated the possible composition of its own Country Governance Committee, highlighting potential challenges as well as ways to face them. Moreover, the project has just launched a new website, providing information on the project’s goals, next steps and deliverables.
The project is currently launching a survey, inviting stakeholders in the field of energy to identify good practice examples of effective measures and strategies for the promotion of renewables heating and cooling policies in their country or elsewhere.
The completion of the questionnaire should not take more than 10 to 15 minutes of your time! All the data you provide will be treated with confidentiality and not be circulated to anybody.