Bioenergy villages are a great possibility for rural communities to help the energy transition. Developed, paid for and managed by community energy cooperative
Especially in rural areas the heating of buildings relies strongly on fossil fuels that have to be imported. Thus a lot of financial resources leave the community/area and climate goals cannot be reached. Bioenergy villages strive to use local/regional energy resources as much as possible (by definition at least 50% of the primary energy comes from biomass). Additional value can be generated by using regional companies for construction purposes and maintenance.
How does the practice reach its objectives and how it is implemented?
The heart of the bioenergy village is its district heating network. Often the waste heat from CHP (biogas) is used to cover the base load. Other renewable sources supplement the biogas heat (e.g. wood chips, solar heat)
It is necessary to include the community in planning processes as well as in the management of the heating network. High acceptance and direct participation are keys for a successful implementation.
The infrastructure is technology open. Once installed the heating network can be fuelled with any sustainable heat source and can thus be adapted to future development.
Who are the main stakeholders and beneficiaries of the practice?
The community is the main stakeholder, being the consumer of the energy, being part of the operator structure and maybe even being the biomass supplier.
- local farmers (biogas, biomass)
- local energy suppliers (operators, financial management, planning, investor)
Depending on the size of the village and the length of the heating network substantial financial resources are needed (1-3 mio €)
It needs quite a bit of manpower to convince the community and as many people in the village as possible to connect to the district heating. At least 60% of all houses
Evidence of success
In Baden-Württemberg there are already about 170 bioenergy village realized and running. The regional added value adds up to more than 50 mio € per year and the bioenergy villages contribute largely to reduce CO2 emissions from heating
It needs a lot of effort and several information days and personal talks in order to convince enough house owners to connect to the district heating. Some bioenergy village concepts fail as they are not able to provide heat at a competitive price (the low oil price is a project killer).
Potential for learning or transfer
Bioenergy villages are a great possibility for rural communities to participate in the energy transition.
District heating networks work in most parts of Europe (as long as there is heating demand).
District heating can be based on regional resources, increases energy security and reduces dependency on fossil fuel.
THIS CAN BE CROSS-REFERENCED WITH THE OLDHAM COMMUNITY POWER BEST PRACTICE THAT DEMONSTRATES HOW COMMUNITY SHARES CAN SUPPORT COMMUNITY ENERGY INVESTMENTS
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