This is a big milestone for the project as for the first time a comprehensive study on the conditions for community energy projects in the Baltic Sea Region is available. A lot of our work in the last 18 months has contributed to this achievement, such as the comprehensive set of case studies and the project database we have developed.
On the 20th of February in the municipality of Ilmajoki in South Ostrobothnia, three Co2mmunity partners came together to host a local solar energy information evening. Regional Council of South Ostrobothnia and Energy Agency of South Ostrobothnia Thermopolis Ltd worked together with other actors to discuss and inform on solar energy. The organizational team was pleasantly surprised as more than 60 citizens, entrepreneurs, and farmers came to hear facts and local experiences on solar energy. This was even more than expected and extra room and chairs needed to be arranged. During the evening, many questions were answered, and lively discussions took place.
The event partially originated from a discussion started by a local entrepreneur, who already runs a solar energy system both at his home and for his company, and he wanted to encourage other locals to buy solar energy systems for themselves. “For me the solar energy system has turned out to be a very reasonable investment, and I wanted to start a process for a common purchase and this way spread the common good”, says Juhana Lähdesmäki, a local entrepreneur.
As a result of the event, all the participants were asked about their interest in buying a solar energy system and whether or not they would like to receive more advice, with 16 participants voicing their interest in an investment. All interested participants will be contacted individually and a follow-up meeting is being organized.
If you have an oil furnace, you will get the chance to do something about it, because the 28th of February, the third round of common purchase of heat pumps will start, but this time it will be initiated with an interesting evening about climate, green transition and energy renovations the 27th of February.
Co2mmunity has been presented at the annual meeting of Estonian eco-communities on 12th January 2019 by Ülo Kask from the Tartu Renewable Energy Agency (TREA). The photo shows Ülo Kask during his presentation of Co2mmunity, the RENCOP model and the opportunities for eco-communities to engage the topic. (photo by Paavo Eensalu)
Additionally, TREA has published an article in the Estonian Biomass Association’s annual magazine ‘Combustible and non-combustible energy resources 2018/2019‘. The article is in Estoniana and the whole issue is published on the homepage of the Estonian Biomass Association (external link).
On the 25th February, energiebürger.sh holds a Workshop in Rendsburg. The participants will get insights into how the district has become active so far, what climate science predicts and what possible futures of the energy transition in the state of Schleswig-Holstein might look like. Afterwards it is time to discuss in small groups what kind of future is desirable and where the people need to become active to make the change happen.
Find the invitation here and register to get one of the 30 places available until the 15th February.
In December 2018, two Tartu Regional Energy Agency (TREA) employees met with five community members of Mõisamaa village of a Väike Jalajälg, which translates to “small footprint” community. Mõisamaa village is a RENCOP community and is one of ten communities taking part in the mentorship program within Estonia. The ERDF funded Estonian Energy Cooperatives Mentor Programme supports Estonian start-ups and their development through workshops, peer-to-peer learning, and mentorship programs. The community is home to 20 people, and they are currently exploring alternative forms for the community’s future energy production and consumption. It is for this reason that TREA visited them. This informal meeting was a way for community members to establish initial contact and trust and for the TREA employees, and for the TREA employees to gather a preliminary understanding of the community’s day-to-day activities.
Currently all buildings in Mõisamaa are locally heated by boilers and
regular wood logs stoves totalling 28 stoves, with electricity being provided
by the public grid. The community’s vision is to replace oil boilers with more
sustainable solutions, varying from building renovations, to PV stations, to
bio-gas. TREA will be working with the community to develop the best solutions
to satisfy their energy needs.
Mõisamaa’s main motivations and drivers for a community energy project is to reduce their energy costs and to become independent from energy imports and the public grid. As per the discussions, the community can also envision selling their sustainably generated energy to close neighbours, however this is not their primary goal.
A follow up meeting will take place in mid December for TREA to gather
energy consumption data on the eco-village. The meeting will be with both
citizens and farmers, along with any other interested and potential buyers.
More information regarding the small footprint community can be found at http://vaikejalajalg.ee/en/
During March @energikontorSO
together with municipalities in Southeast Sweden will arrange a Solar
energy tour. Inspirational seminars and guidance for citizens,
cooperatives, and property owners will be part of the tour @co2mmunity
Aalto University, the Co2mmunity partner implementing the RENCOP in Helsinki, has developed a comprehensive overview on renewable heating within district heating in Helsinki. A short article on the homepage of Aalto University also provides some key points. One main component proposed is to use wind energy to power large heat pumps. Already since 2006 the biggest heat pump in the world produces 100 MW of heat under the Katri Vala Park in Helsinki. And only 10 such heat pumps could power the whole district heating system of Helsinki.
Generally speaking, it is not very efficient to use electricity for heating, as for example electric space heaters do. Especially when using electricity generated from fossil fuel the combined efficiency can be well below 30% of the original fuel source. Heat pumps however leverage the energy by taking advantage of existing temperature differentials in the environment. Therefore heat pumps can provide a multiple of the electricity invested in the form of heat and boost overall efficiency. The discussion paper by Aalto University proposes to use the heat pumps in an integrated system with wind energy, CHP plants and heat storage to provide both heat and electricity when they are needed. Surely, this would be a great step towards an integrated energy system.
A major pillar of EU climate policy has always been the transition to renewable energy. With the proposed recast of the ‘Directive on the promotion of renewable energy sources’energy communities have come into focus for renewable energy deployment due to their numerous benefits. Energy communities, as far as they are legal entities, are to be supported so that they can compete with larger actors. Also energy self-consumption up to 30 kW of generation capacity is protected by the directive.
The text will now go back to the council for its final adoption. After being adopted there, it goes into force automatically as foreseen in the ‘Ordinary Legislative Procedure’ of the EU. This comes as part of the EU Winterpackage of 2016 that set the new climate protection goals of the EU. In June, the commission, council and parliament had already reached agreement on renewable energy, which has not been achieved in the area of energy efficiency.