Staying with the topic of international cooperation and exchange: partners from our projects in Finland and Estonia also met last week in a webinar to report on their successes and challenges and how they might learn from each other. The Finnish partners from “Green Net Finland“ are in the process of establishing a new community in the municipality of Lapinjärvi and are currently investigating the best ways of how to provide the community with geothermal heating.
The Estonian partners from “Tartu Regional Energy Agency” (TREA) are working with the Tartu municipality to create Estonia’s first energy community through a community-owned solar PV park on the roof of an apartment building. The engagement of local municipalities provided a great base for discussion: While in Estonia, Tartu municipality is one of the main initiators of the project and the first one to do so, in Finland it is already more established for municipalities to be owners of local energy plants, and thus they’re operating mostly in a commercial interest.
Another shared issue in both projects is the profitability of investments into community energy. A recent study commissioned by Green Net Finland has shown that more energy consumption generally leads to more profitability as well as cost and CO2-emission savings, with individual heat pumps in fact being most profitable. Also TREA reports that consuming self-produced energy as opposed to selling it to the grid is more lucrative. The partners agreed that more involvement of the regional and national governments is necessary to support the further development of community energy and guarantee its profitability.