The operation of Eno co-operative aims to heat local public buildings and private households using local energy wood and local employees.
Eno energy co-operative is a community-based enterprise located in Eno. It was established in 1999 by 12 local forest owners. Currently the co-operative is owned by 55 local forest owners and the aim is to produce inexpensive district heat for the local community with local energy wood. Members provide about 20-30% of energy wood and the rest is acquired from different suppliers nearby, e.g. from the fellings of Joensuu city's forests. The raw materials used are small diameter trees by manual felling (15%), by multi-tree processing (70%) and logging residues (15%) from clear cut areas. Local approach is central in the operations of Eno energy co-operative, not only in terms of its members but also in terms of energy wood procurement and other related services. In addition to affordable price of heat (municipality building and private customers have saved without taxes about 4.1 M € during 15 years compared to light fuel oil), there are many local benefits such as, local forest owners receive income from selling energy wood, energy wood harvesting entrepreneurs get work, thinning of too dense young forest improves growth and quality of remaining trees, net carbon dioxide emissions are reduced because imported oil is replaced by renewable forest chips (5 million kg annually) and local networks are created. In addition the actions employ between 7-10 man/year. Currently the co-operative owns three heating plants and about 11 km long district heat distribution network.
The role of Finnish Forest Centre has been important and several of their projects concerning the use of energy wood and heat entrepreneurship have made the ground- and development work for energy co-operatives in the region. Also structural funding for construction costs of heating plants was vital
Evidence of success
District heating replaces ~ 2 million litres oil yearly. Local economy saves ~2 000 000/year . As a result net carbon dioxide emissions were reduced by near 5 million kg annually. Use of the plant and wood supply employs ~7-10 persons/ year. Eno energy cooperative has received two national level recognitions: Winner in heat entrepreneur competition in 2014 and Emission reducer of the month in 2017 by Finnish Environment institutes coordinated Towards Low Carbon Municipalities (HINKU) Network.
In the beginning some people doubted skills of the members and also the sufficiency of energy wood resources. Currently more households are willing to join the district heating network than is possible. Usually they are too far away from the network and that’s why it isn't profitable.
Potential for learning or transfer
Eno Energy co-operative has gained wide acceptance through transparent operation and open information delivery. In the beginning lack of information caused some suspicions, but in addition to the concrete benefits to local, inclusion of residents and openness of the operations, Eno co-operative has become a good example of successful & environmental friendly solution to achieve oil-free and low-carbon North Karelia. The benefits: - Most of the capital investment stays in the area - Positive effects on forestry and landscape - Positive effects on employment; additional annual employment ~7-10 man years - Local energy source brings safety and independence during possible energy crisis - Combustion of wood reduces carbon dioxide emissions by about 5 million kg annually - The ashes and its nutrients can be returned to the forest - Cheaper heat for consumers compared to oil - Wood replaces approx. 2 million litres of oil annually - Local economy benefits about 2 000 000 e/year.
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