Ghelinta is a bioenergy village implemented in the context of "1 village 1 MW", a regional oriented concept of using local biomass sources for district heating.
Located in Covasna County, Ghelinta is a small village that produces and uses most of its energy demand from local biomass sources (agriculture, forestry and waste) using the “1 village 1 MW” concept. In order to promote this concept, Green Energy Innovative Biomass Cluster Romania developed a R&D project that aimed to transfer and adapt experiences gained in countries where bioenergy villages already existed (Germany and Austria). This project aimed to strengthening the role of locally produced biomass as a main contributor for energy supply on local level, considering opportunities of market uptake or expansion for local farmers, wood producers or SMEs.
Core activities of the project included the technological and economic assessment of the village, the involvement and active participation of stakeholders and citizens, the development of local bioenergy value chains and technologies, as well as capacity building about financing schemes and business models.
The local community involvement activities (specific info days for citizens regarding their opportunities to switch from old classical wood stoves to small or medium-scale biomass heating systems and the bioenergy concept, site visits, discussions with local authorities and politicians about incentives and support opportunities etc.) were important activities of the project.
The resources needed to develop a bioenergy village are calculated within a business plan. For example, based on the calculation ad the existing raw material and the energy demand, the initial investment for creating a new DH grid + biomass plan in Ghelinta is around 600.000 Eur.
Evidence of success
The project enables the know-how transfer and international cooperation for bioenergy development. Thus, Ghelința gets more and more knowledge about the bioenergy village concept, smart wood management for energy production and highly performing heating systems on biomass.
This project is good practice regarding public acceptance of bioenergy projects and capacity building of relevant stakeholders and key actors.
The main challenge during the implementation of the whole project was to motivate each social actor (residents, farmers, foresters, and municipal authorities) to reach the desired energy transition. The implementation of the project was decisive for the municipality.
Potential for learning or transfer
If the policy framework is taken into consideration, bioenergy village can be successfully implemented in any European region. The main challenge of the development of bioenergy villages is the social component. Structures have to be established that allow a broad citizen participation process and the integration of all relevant stakeholders and decision makers. When Energy Conservation Measures (ECMs) bundles are modelled, the results have to be revised with regard to the synergetic effects between ECMs and energy supply measures. High energy savings from measures in the buildings decrease the energy demand and reduce the viability of e.g. a district heating system. Different types of biomass sources and renewable energies can be applied in different pathways in bioenergy villages. The assessment of the technical solutions typically follows technical, economic and environmental metrics. Three main operating models are applied (the citizen model, ESCO model and a combination of both).
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