Baltic Sea Region meets North Sea Region: in a webinar last week, projects from the UK and Denmark provided inspiration for co-operation between successful projects in engaging citizens towards a clean energy transition.
Our danish project partner, Middelfart Municipality, is also part of the fellow Interreg project EMPOWER 2.0 and organised the online event. It was visited by participants from Lithuania, the UK, Germany and Denmark.
The two solar energy projects “Solar Together Essex”, which coordinates group-buying schemes for rooftop solar panels, and “Sol over Brenderup”, a community energy project, have both realized about 1MW of solar installations and plan to expand in the future. The representatives spoke about their project’s story, success and challenges. Unsurprisingly, with the UK project taking a top-down and the Danish taking a bottom-up approach, the initiators face different challenges along the way.
Citizens from the village Brenderup (DK) presented tips and tricks on how they successfully established their own solar park. The presentation was a good example of a YIMBY way (Yes In My BackYard). One of the project founders stated that financing and all the applications surrounding the project were the big challenges in the beginning. Equally, acquiring all the relevant knowledge as someone new to the field was time consuming and dependent on intermediaries, such as Middelfart Municipality.
The presentation from Essex county (UK), also part of EMPOWER, demonstrated how citizens can make their own collective group purchase of solar PV on their own rooftops, as collective action. You could say this was a YOMRT way (Yes On My Roof Top). Conversely, the challenge to “Solar Together Essex” is reaching potential buyers. In their experience, the more personal, but also more expensive, targeted letter resulted in higher response rate, when compared to giving out leaflets.
Føns Nærvarmes is a part of an citizen empowering project, where citizens are testing heatpumps balanced with biomass boilers. This is in Denmarks newest and smallest district heating – RENCOP. A system developed by citizens and owned by citizens. It is closely followed by research , Southern University of Denmark, and knowledge will be shared. It was also part of the Co2mmunity project.
As one of the citzens puts it : “We might find new solutions that empower other citizens to use a heatpump in their system – enabling possibility to get rid of oil boilers and other fossil fuels for heating.”
You can find the full article (in danish) here.
An update from the municipality of Middelfart
We are mixing best practices with ideas from many great projects like the Empower20 project or the Co2mmunity project. Basically, it is all about making real life clean energy projects with citizens. The idea is: Leave the desks and talk to people about climate and energy, foster networking between citizens and support them.
Unfortunately, Corona has interfered with our plans, but we were flexible and organised a meeting online. The citizens from the town Strib asked for support to replace their gas boilers as gas boilers are expensive and not clean. We offered them our support to make an online meeting about it. They invited two Danish citizen examples to tell their story: the village of Foens explained how they made their own district heating system and the village of Brenderup showed us how they are making their own solar P.V. park.
Such meetings are really motivating for engagement in the green transition. It is important to meet citizens and get an impression on how to implement projects practically.
You can get an idea by looking at this video: it begins with the solar PV park at 51:20, the district heating follows.
— Morten M. Westergaard, Head of Climate & Energy, Municipality of Middelfart. Denmark —
Have you heard of combined shallow geothermal drillings, with horizontal arrays, serving individual houses for heating and cooling?
- It’s a climate friendly energy system that provides cheap and efficient heating and cooling for houses.
- It’s a sort of “Cold District heating” because the system basically just provides a closed loop with continuous supply of refrigerant which is shared amongst the houses. Each house has its own heatpump that is using the collective system.
- It’s a system that works for large and small numbers of houses, and therefore suited for different sized communities. In Danish it’s called “Termonet”, in English Thermal net.
In the European funded project Co2mmunity, the concept has been developed in scale 1:1 in the municipality of Middelfart to support Renewable Energy Cooperation’s. However, a lot of work still has to be done to disseminate the advantages, possibilities and know-how.
Therefore, Danish frontrunners organised a virtual meeting where they founded the union “Termonet” on the 16th of March 2020.
The unions newly elected chairman, Søren Skjold Andersen, says: ”All the necessary technology is in place. We know all about heatpumps and buildings, but most often, systems are developed for just one building. There are massive advantages in combining the systems in collective systems. We are only seeing the beginning of the development that will produce new financial models, new ways for spatial planners to develop new cities and retrofit existing, new ways for entrepreneurs and organisational experts to provide climate friendly solutions. With our new union “Termonet” we have created a platform where people can meet and share knowledge. Anyone can join us, and we already have industry, research, private organisations and representatives from the public sector in our union.
In Denmark, there are five termonet systems, some are running and some are under construction. They can be visited in Silkeborg, Skjoldbjerg, Brenderup, Værløse and soon in Jyllinge. Feel free to contact the union Termonet, if you want to learn more about the initiative or technology.
Chairman, Søren Skjold Andersen, CEO Geodrilling, tlf. +45 22 44 08 71.
Boardmember, Morten Mejsen Westergaard, municipality of Middelfart and partner in Co2mmunity, tlf. +45 2054 4795
There is a Danish site www.termonet.dk and further information in English is to be elaborated.
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.
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.
On Thursday, the 14th of November, a workshop for the 20 DK2020 municipalities has been held in Vejle, Denmark. Organizations like Dansk Fjernvarme, Dansk Energi, SEGES and many more joined the workshop.
During the workshop, four different sessions were organized covering the topics of transportation, agriculture, climate adaptation, as well as heating and energy efficiency. In the session regarding heating and energy efficiency, the Municipality of Middelfart had the opportunity to share their experiences with their three RENCOP cases: “Føns Nærvarme”, “Sol over Brenderup” and “Common Purchase of Heat pumps”. To find out more about our Danish RENCOPS, have a look at the “Community Energy Cases”.
One of our project partners is Lund University which has contributed among other things with two case studies on the island of Ærø. This case study can be found on our CE Cases page. Now, this work also came to fruitition in an article in the Goegrafiska Orientering. The Geografiska Orientering is a journal for teachers in Sweden who can now inform themselves on the story of community energy on Ærø.
The Co2mmunity partner Middelfart Municipality has published an article on the district heating project in its area. A small village is using local woodchips to fire a district heating, boldly supported by the municipality. Now people there have their heat supply in their own hands, save money and substantially reduced their emissions. Find the whole article here.