Energy cluster Dolina Zielawy contributes to achieving energy policy goals as improving air quality, combating climate change and boosting energy security.
Local self-governments have difficulty in financing new infrastructure using only their own budget. It is also a challenge for them to compete with bigger municipalities to gain EU funding. That is why, in 2007 local municipalities (Wisznice, Sosnówka, Rossosz, Jabłoń and Podedwórze) decided to form a partnership called Association of Dolina Zielawy (Zielawa Valley). Thanks to this cooperation it was possible to implement projects using good local conditions for investments in solar energy. In 2012 the partnership formed a company, Energia Dolina Zielawy, in order to gain funding for the construction of a photovoltaic farm (in Bordziłówka) with 1.4 megawatts of power. This investment was successfully realized in 2014 with the combination of funding from ROP of Lubelskie and bank loan. The photovoltaic farm uses solar power to produce electricity which is fed into the grid. In all, 5 560 polycrystalline silicon modules were installed to convert sunlight into electricity. The size and power of farm meet the current needs of five municipalities and local schools, libraries and offices. It is possible to supply electricity to a maximum of 500 households, depending on the current capacity of the power plant. Moreover, the cluster takes care of the environment protection, sustainable development and local energy security. Its members search for innovative and ecological solutions in reduction of energy use and in energy production from renewable energy resources.
Total amount for the construction of the farm is 1 829 761 euro, with the European Regional Development Fund contributing 619 516 euro from Regional Operational Programme of Lubelskie for the 2007-2013. The remaining amount comes from the loan granted by the local bank in Wisznice.
Evidence of success
Thanks to the cooperation of local municipalities it is possible to undertake a number of activities related to thermo-modernization, replacement of street lighting and solar installations aimed at reducing energy consumption such as the project Clean energy in the Zielawa Valley - solar collector installations on public buildings and private homes. Zielawa Valley was awarded by the President of the Republic of Poland in 2013. In 2018 the cluster gained a Certificate of Pilot Energy Cluster.
Potential for learning or transfer
Energy Cluster Dolina Zielawy and photovoltaic farm were visited during the Interregional Event in Poland in January 2019. Project partners had the opportunity to get familiar with energy cluster concept. This is a kind of local energy cooperative that may involve local authorities as well as citizens. This initiative has a high transferability potential, since local cooperation may has various forms.
The case of Energy Cluster Dolina Zielawy shows that it is worth to cooperate in order to invest in ambitious energy projects, according to the principle: “Big can more”.
Very often neighbouring municipalities have similar problems, challenges, but also advantages. Identifying them might be the key to a successful cooperation.
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