News

Housing association in Lappeenranta, Finland, switched to geothermal heating

Source: Kare Lehtonen/Yle

A housing association in Lappeenranta, Finland, switched their heating system from district heating to geothermal heating half a year ago. The savings in the price of heating are 24 000 euros per year, which is a significant sum. “With this sum, we will finance the energy transition costs completely”, states Vesa Tikkanen, member of the board of the housing association. The payback time for the whole renovation will be around six years. In addition to geothermal heating, also exhaust air is recovered in the building. Next summer, an own solar panel system will start to generate power for all the systems to run.

The maintenance charge of apartments will be kept on the same level as before, however, with lower costs of heating, the funds can be retained and used for other maintenances, e.g. for facades, water and sewage systems. The chairman of the housing association, Tapio Saarelainen, says that the apartments which have been sold after the transition, have been sold for a significantly higher price than usual for Lappeenranta. “We aim to keep our apartment house in such a condition that people enjoy living here and we can call ourselves the most interesting apartment house in the region”.

This transition is not unique. Many housing associations discuss the possibility for a change from district heating and electricity bills with rising costs. Last year, 9000 new installations of geothermal heating systems were made in Finland. Every second new detached private house is heated with a geothermal heating system. In Finland, this means a total of 150 000 active geothermal heating systems nationwide.

For housing associations, there are different purchase options available. Geothermal heating can be purchased also as a service and after the service period and its payments are due, the geothermal heating system in use will change its ownership from the service provider to the housing association. With this, high investment costs at the beginning are not a barrier.

This has also wider effects for locally operated district heating systems, their profitability and business models. As the price of geothermal heating is approximately 40 euro per megawatt hour, district heating costs twice as much. District heating also needs continuous maintenance of its infrastructure. There is a tendency towards regional solutions covered by geothermal heating and also traditional energy companies are looking more into these possibilities in the future.

Find the whole article here (in Finnish).

Visit to Karlskrona Solpark in Sweden

On the 22nd of January 2020, in the frame of the Project Partner Meeting in Karlskrona, Sweden, the participants visited the Karlskrona Solpark. On a dumpsite close to the city, the local energy company Affärsverken has built a large solar-PV plant. Robbert Prinselaar from Affärsverken explained that 1.2 MW (4000 panels!) have already been built, but there are plans for up to 6 MW. The location is particularly appropriate since the land can not be used for any other purpose. Also, Karlskrona is known to be one of the sunniest places in Sweden.

The project is administrated by the energy company (owned by the municipality) but the panels are owned by a large number of citizens and companies of the region. They are organised as a cooperative owning the panels and leasing the land. A share of 100W, producing 100kWh per year, costs 1000 kronor (around 100 €).

You can find the project in our database.

Video about Middelfart, Denmark and Mārupe, Latvia

In the framework of transnational exchange, our project partner Riga Planning Region has produced a video about Co2mmunity in Denmark and Latvia. The first part was filmed at the Climate Day in Middelfart, Denmark in August 2019. You can find the post about the event here. In the second part, the municipality of Mārupe, Latvia explains their involvement into Co2mmunity.

Play Video

You can find the video as well as more information about transnational exchange on this page of our website.

Community Energy Forum for Policy Progress in Tallinn

Let’s take initiative!

March 11/12, 2020 in Tallinn, Estonia

The Community Energy Forum for Policy Progress is a lunch to lunch event during which Europe’s renewable energy community meets to network, discuss and forge joint action on policy progress.

The Community Energy Forum for Policy Progress is the place where the ‘renewable energy community’ meets. It provides an interactive experience to catch up on the current state of play on a broad range of issues concerning community renewable energy and to discuss ways of moving forward. The Community Energy Forum for Policy Progress targets professionals from community energy, governments, public institutions, citizens, NGOs and academia.

The Energy Forum for Policy Progress is organised jointly by Tartu Regional Energy Agency and Kiel University.

Please find the information sheet here.

Registration will be open until end of February 2020.

For further information please contact the project coordinator via info@co2mmunity.eu

 

Meeting with RENCOP Working Group activities – RES Council, the Polish Confederation Lewiatan

On 18th of December 2019, representatives of FNEZ (Foundation for Sustainable Energy), as a part of the RENCOP Working Group activities, took part in a meeting of the RES Council functioning within the Polish Confederation Lewiatan. Its objective is to develop and promote recommendations for legislative and structural changes enabling the development of renewable energy sources in Poland. In its statements, the Council is guided by the overriding interest, i.e. the development of the energy market in Poland in an effective and sustainable manner in the interest of both energy producers and consumers.

During the meeting, the assumptions and objectives of the Co2mmunity project conducted by FNEZ were presented. The participants of the meeting were acquainted also with the structure of the Handbook for Renewable Community Energy. It is assumed that the document will contain an analysis of national conditions, good practices and guidelines for initiating and conducting community energy projects in Poland. The document will be sent to the members of the RES Council for consultation.

Further meetings of the RES Council are planned, where other issues concerning the activities of the Co2mmunity project, including the RENCOP Working Group, will be discussed.

RENCOP seminar in Tartu, Estonia, December 4, 2019

The next Estonian RENCOP seminar was held in Tartu, Estonia on 4th of December 2019. 20 participants from mainly South-Estonian regions attended representing potential CE initiatives, apartment associations, NGOs, local stakeholders, and local municipalities.

The first part of the seminar was about community energy, the steps carried out so far in this field in Estonia, the Co2mmunity project and the RENCOP approach as well as good examples of CE in Estonia and neighbouring countries (Germany, Denmark, Finland).

The core topic of the first part was about renewable energy communities, the amended renewable energy directive, and the adoption of Estonian law from a national point of view presented by the Energy department of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communication.

The second interactive part of the seminar was dedicated to the CE country specific handbook (developed under the Co2mmunity project). Responsible experts introduced the nature, content and main topics of the handbook. Following the handbook, main topics under common discussion were:

  • main current obstacles, what specifically prevents you from setting up a community energy project?
  • what would be solutions?
  • what can municipalities do to support community renewable energy projects?
  • other hot local practical topics related to energy cooperatives (how to distribute produced energy internally within community, maintenance, CE in rural areas etc).

Results and findings from the discussion will be reflected during upcoming seminars and meetings. Some information will be used in the handbook under development. Activities agreed upon during the discussion will be implemented.

At least one additional expert joined the Estonian expert-driven RENCOP.

Weihnachtsmarkt mal anders – mit nachhaltigen Geschenkideen, auch zum selber machen!

13.-15. Dezember 2019 auf dem Gettorfer Weihnachtsmarkt!

Wer in der bevorstehenden Adventszeit Lust hat sich zu nachhaltigen Geschenkideen inspirieren zu lassen, Wachstücher selber zu machen, oder am Glücksrad zu drehen und für das Erraten kniffliger Weihnachtszeit-Fakten ein selbstgebackenes Plätzchen zu ergattern, der sollte am 3. Adventswochenende auf dem Gettorfer Weihnachtsmarkt vorbeischauen.

Das Klimaschutz-Netzwerk Rendsburg-Eckernförde hat nach dem „Rendsburger Klima-Herbst“ mit Kinofilmen, Diskussionen und Vortragsabenden rund um den Klimaschutz und die Energiewende, nun gemeinsam einen alternativen Weihnachtsmarkt-Stand für Sie vorbereitet. Das Thema ist in aller Munde und auch für die Weihnachtszeit braucht es kreative Ideen, die Spaß machen und den Klimaschutz in das vorweihnachtliche Treiben mit hineinnehmen.

Weitere Informationen finden Sie hier.

Wenn Sie auch Teil des Klimaschutz-Netzwerks Rendsburg-Eckernförde werden möchten, melden Sie sich gerne bei den Energiebürgern SH, unter voigt@boell-sh.de

Renewable Community Energy discussed in meeting of Helsinki-Uusimaa RENCOP

Our Helsinki-Uusimaa RENCOP expert group Green Net Finland had it’s 4th  face-to-face meeting in Helsinki on 27 November 2019. In the meeting, a group of 12 experts discussed the content for the draft of the Policy Paper for the Political Meeting in Tallinn in March 2020. Current challenges in Finland from the Policy Perspective of Renewable Community Energy have been the legislation and forms of ownership, taxation, and license requirement vs. own community.

What has been done in from March until November on the subject of  catalyzing renewable energy projects into housing companies and next actions?

  • How to promote the development of community energy projects for aging apartment blocks?
  • Presentation of participants and related news.
  • Energy Grant of Finnish Ministry of Environment from the beginning of 2020 and catalyzing renewable energy projects by housing companies. How could RENCOP and GNF as it’s coordinator help?

The represented parties at the meeting were GNF, City of Helsinki, Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council, University of Helsinki, Finnish Environmental Centre SYKE, Grapes Service | ESaas Oy, Nuuka Solutions Oy, and Utuapu Oy.

Altogether the Helsinki-Uusimaa RENCOP at this moment involves 38 persons – diversely representing local public authorities, academia sector and businesses, providing services and technologies for renewable energy and/or community energy projects.

The main outlines from the discussions were:

  • Substance focus of RENCOP will be widened covering also solar collectors and exhaust heat (air and waste water)
  • One of the identified issues for the policy paper was incoherent permissions practices (for example geothermal heat pumps) in municipalities in Finland
  • Permission practice should be made fluent and economically feasible for potential renewable community energy investments
  • Collaboration with Smart Energy Transition and CORE projects will be enhanced

The next face-to-face meeting of the Helsinki-Uusimaa RENCOP will be arranged on 3 March 2020 (13:00-15:00) in GNF’s office.

GNF is welcoming new members to the RENCOP!

You can find the article here.

Newspaper article about our partner Energiebürger.SH

Our partner Energiebürger.SH in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany supports citizens in taking the topic of renewable energies into their own hands. In courses they enable participants to found their own community energy projects. They learn how to develop, finance and implement such a project. Energiebürger.SH also offers a platform for exchange and networking. In addition, the Energiebürger.SH inform on lectures and movie nights, also in co-operation with Co2mmunity, about the topic of renewable energies.

This month, the regional newspaper “Bauernblatt” informed in an article about the initiative Energiebürger.SH. You can find the article here.

More information about Energiebürger.SH and their upcoming events can be found on their website.

Informing citizens in Strib, Denmark about Renewable Energy Cooperations

On Sunday, 17th of November 2019, the head of Climate Morten Mejsen Westergaard from the municipality of Middelfart, Denmark was able to inspire about 130 citizens in the city of Strib (close to Middelfart). The inspiration was grounded in success stories about Renewable Energy Cooperations. Besides concrete cases, the attending citizens learned about the process of getting active in the field of community energy with the help of project guidelines. At this point we would like to thank our partner, the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung, for leading the process of guidelines which are used in real life now.