Sand batteries for heat storage

Even if the technology for heat production and their efficiency is constantly rising, heat losses still represent a main issue, which correspond also to a huge money loss; a problem for everyone and most of all for these countries located in zones where heating sources are used for most of the year and therefore where avoiding losses becomes fundamental.

In 2022 The Polar Night Energy agency of Finland has completed and activated a new heat storage solution where the sand represent the medium of storage. The two available solutions, respectively with a production of 300 MWh and one of 1000 MWh, are able to keep the heat which comes from the conversion of electricity, mainly generated by solar panels, up to a maximum temperature of 1000 ˚C and with an efficiency that reaches almost the 95% thanks to sand’s physical properties. Heat can be store for months, facing minimal losses and with a CO2 emission generated only by the realization phase, from the electricity and material production. This technology can be adapted in many different situations, by changing dimensions and capacity of the plant; it could be the resource for an industry, for both heating and electricity, a single house or for an entire district, until the support of needs for an entire island.

Actually, the existing application, realized by the three dimensional transient of heat transport and the simulation realized by the COMSOL software, is working as part of a district heating network in the West of the country but other projects are about to be completed, with the great advantage for this revolutionary application, to be implemented also in the underground, avoiding the exploitation of surface territory, the utilization of hazardous materials or the visual impact. The wide availability of the sand and cheaper costs for its processing are other pillars of this application that we hope could expand becoming a valid solution especially for the reduction of energy losses (and consequently demand), costs and emissions.

Source: https://polarnightenergy.fi/sand-battery

Meet the CEESEN Founders: ConPlusUltra, Austria

ConPlusUltra Consultants GmbH is an Austrian consulting company specialized in the identification, development and implementation of renewable energy, energy efficiency and climate protection projects. ConPlusUltra’s proven record in reliable professional advice has made us a valued partner for public and private clients.

ConPlusUltra Consultants GmbH Founded in 2011 has a long, successful history of supporting national and regional governments in designing and developing energy strategies and policies, implementing measures, evaluating programs and assessing framework conditions and has cooperated with major financing institutions such as The World Bank or the EBRD on many renewable energy and energy efficiency financing projects.


Operating from two offices in Austria (St. Pölten and Vienna), ConPlusUltra currently employs over 30 experts, all well equipped with strong analytical problem-solving skills.
Among ConPlusUltra’s highly qualified professionals are energy, public consulting, business innovation, climate protection, legal compliance management and legal compliance software experts.

ConPlusUltra specific areas of expertise are:

  • Development of regional and municipal energy concepts and energy audits in industry
  • Capacity building and training in the fields of renewable energy, energy efficiency and energy management (ISO 50001)
  • International, national and local strategies for the development of renewable energy sources and climate change projects
  • Technical support to international and national financing institutions for the assessment and implementation of renewable energy, energy efficiency and climate change programmes and projects
  • Implementation of Energy Management Systems according ISO 50001
  • Energy Efficiency Monitoring Methodologies according EU Directive 2006/32/EG
  • Preparation of funding documents for international investors
  • Development of feasibility studies for photovoltaic, biomass, biogas, wind etc……
  • Elaboration of financing and support schemes
  • Preparation of National Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Action Plans and calculation of National Emission Factors
  • Evaluation of barriers and drivers to the development of renewable energy technologies
  • Assessment of available and market potentials
  • Financial engineering
  • Technical assessment, design and implementation of power and heating plants (biomass, biogas, hydropower, geothermal, wind)
  • Information and communication activities: organisation and delivery of conferences, seminars, workshops, marketing, publications, networking

Country experience

Albania, Armenia, Austria, Bulgaria,, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Georgia, Germany, Guyana, Hungary, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, FYR Macedonia, Moldova, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, South Africa, Tajikistan, Tanzania, The Bahamas, Turkey, United Kingdom and Ukraine


E-fuels - functionning and potential

The term electrofuels (E-fuels) indicates any medium or technology capable to convert the electrical power, produced through renewable resources, to a gaseous or liquid form of energy. European Commission defined these elements also as non-biological, but renewable, transport fuels thanks to their composition (principally carbon and hydrogen). Various are the possibilities for the realization of these new fuels: electrolysis is one of them, capable to convert the electrical power into hydrogen; then this product could be used directly or lied to others elements to obtain new fuels; which in any case, without depending on the composition, can be considered carbon neutral (eg. methanol and ammonia).

Thanks to their composition and characteristics E-fuels can assume the functionality of energy carriers or be used as a feedstock; this double functionality makes this group of fuels the first choice in the improvement of energy systems. The potential has been tested but, because of the cost of these renewable energy fuels, and a still developing phase of the market, their adaptation in an industrial scale requires time, as any new other technology or product.

The utilization of electrofuels is connected to many advantages; the first is represented by the possibility of using the existing infrastructure and transport vehicles, avoiding the necessity of a rapid change in the distribution network (as requested from other resources, for example hydrogen); other pillar is the reduction of CO2 emissions that these fuels could provide. Another point in favor is represented by the possibility of moving the fuels and transform them in different forms without great losses, this makes them excellent to ensure energy security, especially in case of lack of existing energy sources or during blackouts phases thanks to their storability and ease of transportation.

Thanks to the above mentioned characteristics and peculiarities, the application of E-fuels could give its contribution in the complex transition towards a sustainable utilization of energy resources, with shorter times than other renewable energy forms.

Source: eai.enea.it

Meet the CEESEN Founders: MENEA, Croatia

Medjimurje Energy Agency Ltd. (MENEA) is regional energy agency established in 2008 under the framework of Intelligent Energy Europe programme with the aim of promoting the idea of sustainable development in accordance with actual needs in Medjimurje county located in the northernmost part of Croatia. MENEA’s founder and sole owner is regional authority Medjimurje County.

Through the wide range of activities MENEA tries to satisfy informational, technical and supporting needs of public and private sector by the issues of renewable energy and energy efficiency. The main objective of MENEA is to provide high quality support for activities connected to rational energy use and renewable energy sources usage and with this in line MENEA promotes the importance of energy efficiency and renewable energy usage (especially solar and geothermal energy) in individual houses, multi-apartment buildings, public and commercial buildings, etc. MENEA acts as an advisory institution and provides project management services related to energy renovation of buildings and installation of renewable energy sources, and is considered as intermediary between citizens, entrepreneurs and public authorities on the one side and designers, contractors, equipment suppliers and other parties on the other side.

MENEA’s team consist of 7 highly educated enthusiasts who are constantly searching for new ways to improve life standard in Medjimurje county and beyond. Their main concerns while implementing activities and projects are sustainable rural and urban development, especially in energy sector and in climate mitigation and adaptation related initiatives.


Meet the CEESEN Founders: WWF, Hungary

WWF Hungary was founded in 1991 in order to meet the most urgent challenges and threats on nature in Hungary on a national level while aligning its work to international nature conservation efforts. WWF Hungary’s nature conservation priorities in order to contribute to WWF-CEE’s mission are the protection of rivers, wetlands and natural forests, ensuring sustainable and environmentally friendly agriculture and rural development, reduction of climate change impacts, improving human coexistence with large carnivores, raising environmental awareness in the public and preservation of the protected and endangered habitats and species.
To achieve these goals, the joint work with local municipalities and involving other organizations are essential. One of the important goals of WWF Hungary is to support CEE municipalities in adapting to climate change and implementing climate-friendly operations.

In the running CEESEU project, WWF Hungary presents the entire process from the preparation of the climate strategy to the acquisition of the necessary resources for its implementation and the evaluation of the achieved results through the example of two rural towns, Hatvan and Sátoraljaújhely. In the process, WWF HU provides assistance to the settlements in the effective involvement of the inhabitants and all other stakeholders in community planning. WWF HU organizes trainings and conferences for local decision makers and civilians, where they can get good ideas, find out about the possibilities and build useful relationships with each other and with actors in the governmental and corporate sectors.

The main goal of the CEESEU-DIGIT project is the preparation of a new type of regional energy and climate plans (ECAP). In addition to the mitigation measures, the documents prepared based on the new methodology, with the active cooperation of WWF Hungary, also try to place great emphasis on adaptation and landscape-level planning compared to the existing energy and climate plans. In addition to the climate protection goals, the project also pays special attention to vulnerable social groups and those affected by energy poverty.

WWF Hungary is highly committed to taking part in the CEESEN initiative as a country coordinator, and seeks to build bridges between relevant stakeholders (decision makers, experts, local inhabitants, etc.) in the topics of climate protection and CO2 mitigation in the CEE region. They believe that together we can make tangible effects in GHG mitigation, climate adaptation, and alleviation of energy poverty as well. The key to success is adequate communication. Therefore WWF Hungary put extra emphasis on fulfilling and leading the communication related tasks in the CEESEU and in the CEESEU-DIGIT projects.


Meet the CEESEN Founders: DOOR, Croatia

Society for Sustainable Development Design (DOOR) is a civil society organization founded in 2003 with the mission to promote sustainable development principles in all segments of society, at the local, regional and national levels, primarily in the field of energy.

DOOR’s aim is to contribute to achieving a just and carbon-neutral society, adapted to climate change, in which the public takes part in delivering, monitoring, and evaluating public policies, and sustainable energy plays an important role in social, economic, and ecological development and decreasing poverty.

The organisation has successfully implemented more than 100 projects with topics ranging from climate change mitigation, encouraging citizens’ participation in sustainable energy policy-making, improving education about renewable energy sources, and alleviating energy poverty. Door has 14 employees, 60 members, and depending on current activities and requirements at times over 20 active volunteers.


Croatian municipalities attended the national webinar in the frame of CEESEU project on development of Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plans

In the course of last months of CEESEU project implementation, Croatian partner Medjimurje Energy Agency Ltd. organized the second workshop on development of Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plans which was attended by representatives of local and regional governments and other interested stakeholders in Medjimurje region. The workshop was organized on Monday, 12th of June in online form and was attended by over 20 participants.

During the webinar, experts from Medjimurje Energy Agency Ltd. provided a detailed overview of the main steps in SECAPs development, their integral components and reporting requirements. This webinar resulted in increased capacities of local and regional government representatives and other stakeholders to take an active role in addressing climate change and energy transition. The participants were also empowered with relevant knowledge, skills and resources necessary to create and implement effective SECAPs which will help them advance their local and regional sustainability goals, reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, and contribute to the transition to more sustainable future. Moreover, participants of the webinar were enriched with best practices and success stories from the field, providing real-life examples of effective SECAP implementation. Learning from these experiences, participants gained valuable insights into overcoming challenges which they are facing in every day operation.

By empowering local and regional governments and other interested institutions in the field, the webinar will foster a sense of leadership in addressing climate change at the local level and encourage them to take proactive measures, mobilize resources and engage relevant stakeholders within their communities to sustainability initiatives. Furthermore, the webinar emphasized the importance of collaboration and knowledge-sharing among different regions and countries. By highlighting networks such as CEESEN and Climate Alliance, participants were encouraged to join into existing platforms that facilitate the exchange of expertise, lessons learned and best practices. This kind of collaboration maximizes the impact of local and regional efforts in combating climate change.

To wrap up the whole story related to the creation and implementation of SECAP, Medjimurje Energy Agency Ltd. plans to organize the final educational workshop which will elaborate different financing mechanisms for implementing concrete climate change mitigation and adaptation measures defined in SECAPs. The workshop will include one panel discussion which will address the challenges in developing and implementing SECAPs and other local and regional planning documents in the field of energy and climate change. In this way, the participants will have the opportunity to talk with governments that are successfully implementing their SECAPs, which will inspire them to do the same in their local communities.


Biomethane production from municipal and agricoltural wastes

The necessity of a drastic change in our habits and a more sustainable use of the resources at our disposal are the principal goals of every country in these difficult years, signed by a profound change in climate, economic and social effects of the global issues. In order to reduce the importation and use of fossil fuels, accelerating also the energy transition, is possible to develop a new plan for the realization of bio-methane power plants especially in these zones of the Polish lands with a high percentage of agrocultral waste and municipal waste production.

Nowadays in Poland most of the existing biogas power plants are situated near large animal farms with the organic waste like first primary resource. According to the studies of the Laboratory of Biogas Research and analysis, and the Faculty of Chemistry of T ruń, most of the biomethane is actually produced in Mazowieckie Voivodeship (178 mln m3), Podalskie Voivodeship (120 mln m3) and Wielopolskie Voivodeship (238 mln m3) with the 50% of waste that come from agriculture (crops). These regions are the most populated and exploited territories of the country.

The IRENA (International Renewable Energy Agency) studies have shown that the total BM (bio-methane) installations in Europe can produce more than 50 PJ/year of energy, saving an equivalent of 13 billion liters of diesel. This is leading to the question - how a small growth of biomethane plants distributed in specific zones of the country, can help with  reduction of the fossil fuels dependency.These interventions should be made especially in these regions with a low population density, where people used to exploit fields for the food production and animals breeding but they do not have the possibility of making the most of the waste. New power plants in these zones could be helpful for the production of electricity, heat or cogeneration, in order to save resources and covering the demand of the same agricultural and farms activities.

Economic use of BG obtained from municipal waste

In the most populated zones it is possible to produce, as it has been already happening, biomethane from municipal waste, that in Poland are historically destined for landfill sites. Thanks to the studies of the previously cited research centers it has been estimated that, starting with the municipal waste of the most populated regions, it is possible to produce approximately 171.7 mln m3 of biomethane every year. What is more, biogas production should be really considered as one of the solutions for increasing the Polish energy independency, expanding diversity of Polish energy sources sector and a possibility for the reduction of the carbon footprint.

Full article: Biomethane in Poland—Current Status, Potential, Perspective and Development


Meet the CEESEN Founders: TREA, Estonia

Tartu Regional Energy Agency (TREA) only energy agency in Estonia. TREA has been established in 2009 by Tartu City Government and Tartu Science Park. TREA supports the energy transition of South Estonian region and actively participates in international cooperation networks, introducing the latest examples of innovation across Europe.

In recent years, TREA has been more involved in nationwide actions in cooperation with Estonian ministries, dealing with housing sector and local energy management and is one of the forerunners in energy poverty and energy communities’ developments in Estonia.

TREA provides technical consultancy and expertise to homeowners in field of reconstruction and energy management for homeowners, and has participated and is participating in various reconstruction, renewable energy and energy community projects. TREA experts deal with energy management at the building level, also at the household or organization/company level, at the municipality level and state level. TREA professions are energy efficiency of buildings, renewable energy systems, energy communities, fostering cooperation between public and private sector.

TREA team

Driving Sustainability in Small and Rural Communities: Covenant of Mayors-Europe Webinar Explores Solutions for a Greener Future

The Covenant of Mayors-Europe recently organized an insightful webinar focused on addressing the unique challenges faced by small and rural municipalities in developing and implementing Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plans (SECAPs). Co-organized with the CEESEU project, funded under the Horizon 2020 programme, the online event attracted more than 63 participants from diverse backgrounds, including local authorities, regional governments, energy agencies, NGOs, and academia.

The webinar aimed to raise awareness about the importance of tailored approaches and targeted support for these municipalities, which often encounter specific obstacles in their transition to cleaner energy sources.

The discussions during the webinar revolved around the key ingredients necessary for the successful implementation of SECAPs in small and rural municipalities. Participants explored various strategies, including energy efficiency measures, renewable energy integration, and community engagement. The exchange of ideas and experiences fostered a collaborative environment, enabling attendees to learn from one another and identify innovative solutions to common challenges.

For those who are curious and wish to delve deeper into the discussions and key takeaways from the webinar, a detailed article has been published here.

Agenda

The following were the main AGENDA items:

  • Role of local governments towards energy transition and resilient systems | DG CLIMA, Katerina Fortun
  • Smart Cities Marketplace opportunities for SECAP implementation | DG ENER, Georg Houben
  • Rural Pact support for the EU’s rural areas | DG AGRI, Silvia Nanni
  • Central and Eastern European Sustainable Energy Network | University of Tartu, Elis Vollmer
  • Joint SECAP Mount Vesuvius area, Italy | Joint Office for Environmental Sustainability (UCSA), Luigi Acquaviva
  • Gabrovo SECAP 2030, Bulgaria | Municipality of Gabrovo, Tanya Hristova

LINKS

If you are curious about further details, please have a look at:

  • Takeaway article here>>>
  • Recording of the webinar here>>>
  • Presentations shared during the webinar here>>>

One step towards a more sustainable industry – RESINDUSTRY final event concluded successful project

More than half a hundred people gathered at the Czech Ministry of Industry and Trade in Prague for the final event of the RESINDUSTRY project.

Industrial activities being one of the largest contributors to carbon emissions in European Union, it is essential that governments implement changes in policies that reduce carbon emissions and limit the impact on the environment. RESINDUSTRY just focused on finding solutions for the problem as focus of the project was promoting the adoption of renewable energy solutions in industrial settings to support sustainable development.

During the event, attendees were informed about the project's objectives for phase 1 and the impressive results that were achieved during phase 2. The discussion also touched upon the experiences and knowledge gained through the Interreg program during this period of time.

The previous day, the consortium met at the University Centre for Energy Efficient Buildings of Prague to discuss how each partner tackled phase 2 and the challenges they faced. The technical visit to the university's facilities allowed attendees to see firsthand the different departments of research that are contributing to the development of renewable energy technologies. It demonstrated the critical role that universities and research institutions play in advancing sustainable development and supporting the adoption of renewable energy solutions in the industrial sector. This and all other exchange of experiences in the project during regional, national and interregional events, study visits and expert missions helped partners and their stakeholder to learn different regions practices and helps to make industry sector greener. All regions compiled action plans to aiming increase the energy independency of the EU industry sector, by decreasing its energy intensity through a higher integration of RES. All materials including best practices identified are shown on project homepage.

The RESINDUSTRY project's success underscores the importance of promoting renewable energy in industrial settings. Project's achievements are evidence of the power of collaborative efforts and highlight the significant value of research and development initiatives that focus on renewable energy solutions in the industrial sector. By continuing to support these types of initiatives, Europe can continue to lead the way in the transition toward a more sustainable future.


Floating Photovoltaic Panels

Recent years have shown many controversies regarding the establishment of large PV plants for electricity production that covers big land areas. Advantages coming from these installations are surely various but there are also many people who condemn these projects because of the exploiting of the potential farm and its agricultural utilization.

©Tom Wang / Shutterstock

Some companies, especially these where these technologies are more advanced, have identified the exploitation of water surfaces as the best solution. Netherlands for example realized the largest floating solar park in Europe, thanks to the easy installation, reaching the production of around 27 MW; Other European countries as UK, France and Germany are following this wave; in the last period also Greece joined the group by purposing a 800 MW production project, which will be realized in existing reservoirs and artificial water surface. The calculation of experts are hopeful, with an exponential growth from the 2 GW of 2019 to the expected 62 by 2030, considering all existing installation in the world. Despite the high initial cost of this application, it presents many technical advantages; its ability to withstand the presence of strong winds make it suitable for possible bonds with hydroelectric plants or offshore wind power plants; this will ensure the supply also in absence of wind (for the offshore application) and possible scarcity of water during dry periods (when they are linked with hydroelectric plants).

The solar plant | Image: Scotra

Other good example that support the potential of this implementation is represented by the 41 MW array realized in an artificial water reservoir of South Korea which project has been realized by the national water management company. Advantages are many and this application is going to be one of the most interesting in the next years, hoping it could solve the existing discussions and lead to the reduction of excessive land use.

As every technology, also this amazing innovation presents both pros and cons; main problems are surely represented by the difficulty and cost of their implementation that are still high; other issue, mainly for what concerns maritime application is the unstable condition of panels’ array because of the presence of currents and wind, obviously accentuated if we think of an offshore system where panels have also to face the presence of waves and a climate that could change a lot compared to closed surfaces (lakes and other artificial water surfaces). On the other hand some cons are, as already presented, the possibility of exploiting the water surface, without interfering with the aquatic wildlife or occuping pieces of lands potentially available for agriculture and farming; this technology can be used also in these water basins where there is no wildlife, maybe because the water is stored as waste of industrial process. The best advantage coming from this application, is probably the possibility to replace the energy production of other renewable resources,  wind turbine and hydroelectric for example, which depend on conditional primary resources (solar and wind energy) or being an addition for a second (but practically constant) energy production. An Important aspect that must be taken into consideration, especially for what regards plants and animal life, is the choice of the correct material for the realization of the entire structure that for these PV power plants but also a constant monitoring of the physical status of the structure.

Following what has just been presented and by observing the latest developments, this application could  be very attractive in the nearest future.

Sources: pv magazine |  intersolar


Webinar - Developing and implementing SECAPs in small and rural municipalities

  •  - 
  • Online only
  • Register here

Are you a small or rural municipality? Are you a local authority considering taking energy and climate action? Or are you a local authority that has already developed a SECAP or implemented energy and climate measures that you would like to share with other municipalities? Then this webinar is for you!

The Covenant of Mayors (CoM) – Europe is spreading its activities with an online event co-organised with the CEESEU project, funded under the Horizon 2020 programme, focusing on the development and implementation of SECAPs and joint SECAPs in small and rural municipalities.

High-level speakers representing DG ENERGY, DG CLIMA and DG AGRI will share updates on the support available for small and rural municipalities.

Practical methods and approaches to overcome the common obstacles for the development and implementation of SECAP / joint SECAP are presented through examples from different EU countries, highlighting challenges and opportunities for local authorities.

Participants will be invited to actively participate in the discussion, sharing concrete challenges and lessons learned.

Objectives of the webinar:

  • Provide practical/hands-on examples to small, medium and rural municipalities for planning and undertaking energy & climate action, covering the entire SECAP cycle (i.e. data collection and assessment, multi-level governance, action planning, monitoring, financing).
  • Provide space for signatories to raise questions/share experiences and lessons learned.

See the Agenda.


Vidzeme municipalities are strengthening their knowledge of energy planning and SECAP development

By Anita Āboliņa, Vidzeme Planning Region

By attracting the financial resources of the European Union, in the CEESEU energy planning training organised by the Vidzeme Planning Region, specialists of Vidzeme municipalities have been learning theory and performing various practical tasks since April. Municipalities have delegated energy managers, development and project department specialists, accountants, public relations and communication specialists, representatives of capital companies, building managers, etc., to participate in the workshops. A wide range of specialists is invited to participate in the training to create awareness of the importance of forming an interdisciplinary working group for developing the SECAP plan in the future. The training content, created by the international CEESEU consortium, strengthens the energy planning capacity of specialists in municipalities. The selected training topics improve their understanding of important aspects in the SECAP plan development process.

It should be noted that according to the Latvian Energy Efficiency Law requirements, national cities must implement a certified energy management system, and regional municipalities must implement an energy management system by August 31, 2023. Therefore the knowledge gained in the CEESEU seminars is fundamental. Specialists can start developing plans parallel to the training, consulting with seminar lecturers and exchanging experience with specialists from other municipalities.

The representative of the Latvian State Construction Control Bureau praised the active and purposeful work of the Vidzeme Planning Region and municipalities in ​​energy efficiency so far, claiming that the organisation has been following the active work of the Vidzeme Planning Region with energy efficiency issues already for some time.

During the first training with experts, participants discussed the organisation of the planning process and the necessity of creating a working group. They also discussed the importance of cooperation and involvement of various stakeholders already at the initial planning stage.

The participants agreed that before developing any planning document, which also applies to the development of the SECAP plan, it is essential to understand the document’s importance and its further application in the daily work of the organisation or institution. In addition, awareness should be fostered among participants in the working group, colleagues, local policymakers, and other stakeholders. The involvement of these participants should be foreseen not only in the planning and development stage of the document but also in implementation and monitoring while being aware that planning documents mean long-term commitments. One of the critical findings that affected the state administration's and local authorities' operation is that municipalities and their employees can be the main barrier breakers and testers of new ideas, setting an example and encouraging others to new, innovative activities. "Goals must be realistic but also ambitious at the same time", - said an energy efficiency expert in the Vidzeme Planning Region, Edgars Augustiņš.

The seminars also pay much attention to data and its impact on the ability of specialists to make energy-efficient decisions in their daily work. Following the statement that data-based decisions are qualitative and comparable, the seminar looked at the possibilities of collecting and accounting for energy consumption data.

The seminars so far also pay much attention to data and its impact on the ability of specialists to make energy-efficient decisions in their daily work. Following the statement that data-based decisions are qualitative and comparable, the seminar looked at the possibilities of collecting and accounting for energy consumption data.

The invited experts repeatedly emphasised that accurate data analysis can help to understand priority actions and that missing or incorrect data and its processing can lead to ineffective decisions.

Participants are encouraged to participate in discussions and share their experiences in energy consumption data accounting, building management, measures taken to improve the energy efficiency of buildings, and solutions to mitigate the effects of climate change. In addition, the workshops will also focus on adaptation to climate change and planning and implementing measures for mitigating climate change, which is vital for preparing the SECAP plan.


SECAP of Hatvan created by WWF Hungary

19,995 (2020)
66.31 km2
2020: 145,000
2030: 101,500

About the city of Hatvan, Hungary

Hatvan is an important transport hub in the north- western part of the Great Plain, on both banks of the Zagyva River. These qualities have attracted many businesses to the city. The weight of the industrial sector is therefore much greater than in other cities of similar size.

Mitigation

The city of Hatvan would reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030 compared to 2020. As industrial production is very energy intensive, the energy consumption per capita in Hatvan is one and a half times higher than the national average. Therefore, the most important mitigation objective is to increase the efficiency of energy use. This can be achieved mainly by (deep) energy renovation of buildings and by strengthening cooperation with the industrial sector.

A significant part of the mitigation package is linked to the rationalisation of the thermal energy sector and includes a preliminary study on the development of a new district heating system based on renewable/waste heat. This step alone would imply a reduction of 20,800 tonnes CO2 emissions and 10.6 million m3 of natural gas consumption, which would be a great step not only for climate protection but also to reach energy independence.

Energy poverty

In the current energy crisis, it is crucial that the city targets its assistance to families in energy poverty. It is estimated that 15-20% of households in Hatvan may be struggling with this phenomenon. The defined measures outlined in the SECAP will help to map the problem and promote a long-term sustainable solution based on awareness-raising and community collaboration.

Adaptation

The Zagyva River is a vauleable natural resource in the city and a potential source of danger due to the increasing flooding. However, the development of the river's environment offers unique climate adaptation potential. The expansion and development of urban green spaces is also considered by the public to be the most important municipal task. Relevant measures therefore focus mainly on a significant increase in forest coverage (from 6% to 27%) and the dissemination of various solutions for natural water reteachment measure. By implementing these improvements, the city can remain liveable even during upcomming severe heat waves and periods of drought.


The SECAP was created by WWF Hungary in 2023 and supported by CEESEU project.


The entire document is available on the link below in Hungarian language.

https://ceesen.org/document/secap-hatvan-hungary/

The SECAP was implemented with the support of the CEESEU project. The CEESEU project received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement GA: 892270.
Disclaimer: The author of this content is solely responsible for its content, which does not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union, and neither EASME nor the European Commission is responsible for any use that may be made of this content.

The Intelligent Cities Challenge Opens Applications for New Phase

Building on the success of the previous edition of the Intelligent Cities Challenge programme (2020-22) and its predecessor Digital Cities Challenge (2017-19), the second phase of the Intelligent Cities Challenge (ICC) has now been launched and cities are called to express their interest by applying now on the ICC website.

The ICC is a European Commission initiative supporting European cities towards the green and digital transition of their local economies, through Local Green Deals.  ICC helps cities harness the power of cutting-edge technologies, while improving their economic competitiveness, social resilience and the European citizens’ quality of life.  Cities across Europe looking to accelerate the Twin Transition can now apply now to be part of one of the European Commission’s largest city support initiatives supporting European cities in their green and digital transitions.

Each participating city will be asked to implement a Local Green Deal or series of concrete actions at the local level to help cities transition towards more resilient and sustainable economies. The ICC’s approach to Local Green Deals is based on governance, actions, integrated goals and partnerships.

What are the advantages in joining ICC 2.0? 

This new phase of the Challenge will build on lessons learned in the first phase with a revamped approach to generate more impact tailored to cities’ needs. By joining or continuing to work with the programme, you will gain access to a range of benefits and build on achievements from the first phase.

  • Become inspired by best examples: through exchange with peers, European and international mentors and learn how cities use technologies to solve urban challenges.
  • Scale up visibility, recognition and business opportunities for your city: become part of a renowned, international community of innovative cities for collaborations.
  • Turn strategy into impactful action: together with your lead expert, implement short and long-term projects adapted to where you are in your journey, for example: Local Green Deals, projects around construction, mobility and energy; leveraging access to finance, reskilling and procurement transversal support, and circularity initiatives, etc.
  • Get your voice heard: promote city diplomacy and raise awareness through a series of face-to-face workshops, networking opportunities and go-and-see's.
  • Use your newly-developed knowledge: become a regional role model and help neighbouring cities accelerate transition into green and digital ecosystems, and create new opportunities for all.
  • Take it at your own pace: cities can follow the programme at different speeds, according to the city’s resources and ambitions.

Key Dates and Application Process 

All applications should be made through the Intelligent Cities Challenge website here by the deadline on 28 April 2023.

A pre submission eligibility check is offered to all cities that apply before 7 April 2023 to determine if they can continue with their applications. New cities will be assessed and if successful, invited to the interview stage. Cities will be notified of their acceptance ahead of the onboarding phase at the end of June 2023.

EOI Timeline

 

You can find more information here:


Dissemination workshop within the CESEEU-DIGIT project

At the beginning of April, Medjimurje Energy Agency Ltd. (MENEA) organized a dissemination workshop as part of the CEESEU-DIGIT project. The interactive workshop was held with identified key stakeholders who will participate in future project activities and contribute to the creation of strategic documents that will be created through the project.

The workshop was divided into two parts; the first, theoretical part, where the participants learned about the concept of just transition and why it is important to include it in relevant strategic documents and the second, interactive part.

The interactive part of the workshop consisted of gathering point of views and opinions of stakeholders related to just transition. Various topics were discussed, for example, how the concept of just transition is implemented in Croatia, how the concept of just transition could be integrated into local and regional planning and what the obstacles for integrating the concept of just transition into local and regional planning are.

This activity marks the beginning of dissemination activities which will continue throughout the project, where opinions of various stakeholders will be gathered, in order to continue to expand the concept of just transition.

 

 


Webinar - Supporting mechanisms for local authorities to deploy energy communities

 - Online only

The event will feature the concept idea of the Technical Assistance Cookbook and the online One-Stop-Shop platform being developed on behalf of the LIFE-BECKON project. High-level speakers representing DG ENER and the Energy Communities Repository will share updates on EU policy on energy communities and the support available to develop energy communities at the local level. Furthermore, the variety of national energy community frameworks is presented through examples from Bulgaria, Denmark and Spain, highlighting challenges and opportunities for local authorities. Participants will be invited to actively participate in the discussion, sharing concrete challenges and possible solutions.

Objectives of the webinar:

  • Present the overall idea and expected outcomes of LIFE-BECKON as supporting mechanism to deploy energy communities at local level
  • Show the variety of ECs frameworks at the national level, local challenges and possible opportunities
  • Collecting multi-level feedback and opinions which will contribute to the development of the LIFE-BECKON supporting mechanism in the three demo areas throughout the three years of the project’s implementation and beyond.

See the agenda

Register now

This launch event of the LIFE-BECKON project funded under the LIFE programme is being co-organised with the Covenant of Mayors – Europe. The LIFE-BECKON project will focus on the state of play of supporting mechanisms for local authorities to facilitate the creation of energy communities.

Read more about the LIFE-BECKON project.


Households in apartment buildings in Czechia can now produce and share renewable energy

The Czech Republic has taken an important step toward true energycommunities. At the end of 2022, the country approved new regulations that will allow for shared production of electricity from renewable energy in apartment buildings. Until now, legislation did not allow forthe sharing of jointly produced electricity among households.

The new regulation will make it possible to distribute electricity produced from, for example, photovoltaic power plants among individual households. The regulation allows for the sharing of electricity by introducing a leading consumption point, which will be the only one in the building connected to the photovoltaic power plant on the roof. The system will allow access only to those households that express an interest in it, though at least half of the households need to agree. The produced electricity will be divided according to an allocation key to each participating household, thus reducing the energy bill. The excess electricity from the building can be sold through this consumption point to the grid.

Half of Czechs live in apartmentbuildings, so the potential of the roofs of such buildings is huge. Moreover, the apartment buildings can benefit from a support scheme administered by the National Environment Fund, which covers around half of the investment costs (including battery storage systems). The regulation has only been in place for a few months, and the coming months will show if it will work in reality. A full energy community legal framework is still not in place. Recently, the Ministry of Energy proposed new legislation allowing for energy communities similar to those in neighboring Austria, but the law has been delayed several times, and it is not certain it will pass the legislative process. Let'shope it does.

 

 

Photo by Minku Kang: https://www.pexels.com/photo/aerial-view-of-city-buildings-in-prague-czech-republic-6384390/

Join the PROTECT Community - Open call for public authorities

PROTECT brings together a community of procurers and other practitioners from public authorities and provide them with key information and knowledge about innovation procurement approaches for climate change services based on Earth Observation (EO) data.

Why joining the PROTECT Community?

By taking part in the PROTECT Community you will be prepared, equipped and ready to tackle the climate change risks and challenges your organisation face and to participate in the co-design and development of innovative climate change services targeted to your needs through Pre-Commercial Procurement.

PROTECT’s mission is to prepare you and have you strategically positioned for undertaking a future Pre-Commercial Procurement fully funded by the European Commission and expected to be launched in 2024 with a funding amount of up to EUR 19 million(HORIZON-CL6-2024-GOVERNANCE-01-5: Customisation/pre-operationalisation of prototypes end-user services in the area Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation).

In this frame, the PROTECT consortium is looking for public authorities willing to join the PROTECT community and interested in receiving technical assistance and awareness-raising and capacity building activities on the topics of Innovation Procurement, Earth Observation and Climate change adaptation and mitigation among others. This assistance will be provided free-of-charge and most activities will be delivered through a dedicated community platform that will be operational as of January 2023.

But, concretely what’s in for you in the PROTECT community?

  • You will be prepared to undertake joint, cross border or coordinated procurements in the future
  • You will be the first to become engaged and consulted about the challenges you face and your needs for EO-based climate change services
  • You will receive assistance in defining and aggregating clear and realistic needs for climate change services in 5 domains (Energy and Utilities, Marine and Coastal environments, Sustainable urban communities, Agriculture, Forestry and land use, and Civil security and Protection)
  • You will get insights into climate services market existing and future solutions and technologies
  • You will receive tailored training webinars, and fresh, relevant and continuous knowledge and information about trends and policies related to innovation procurement, climate change services and Earth Observation
  • You will have the opportunity to exchange ideas and experiences, tools, tips, and good practices with peers from other regions in Europe
  • You will have the opportunity to apply for on-demand technical assistance and consulting activities from a pool of thematic experts to public authorities willing to go a step further in understanding the potential of EO applications to climate action
  • Ultimately, you will strategically be positioned for undertaking the upcoming pre-commercial procurement

What do you need to do to join the PROTECT Community?

 It’s very easy! Fill in the contact form below and get access to all FREE BENEFITS.


How to join the PROSPECT+ capacity-building programme - Italy, Ireland, Poland

With the objective to engage a total of 200 public authorities in its capacity-building programme on innovative financing, PROSPECT+ will implement four learning cycles starting respectively in:

• February 2022
• November 2022
• August 2023
• May 2024

Local and regional authorities or their energy/climate agencies, local and regional organisations (e.g., development agencies, municipal companies, energy cooperatives) and external consultants working for a local or regional public authority from 44 eligible countries1 can apply to participate in one of the learning cycles, either as a mentor or a mentee.

Do you want to apply?

  • 3rd call for mentees is now open: Local and regional authorities can submit their applications from the 2nd of March 2023 to the 14th of April 2023 (registration link).
  • Local and regional authorities from Italy interested in joining a local learning group in their national language can submit their applications from the 2nd of March until the 14th of April 2023 (registration link). For more information about PROSPECT+ and the Capacity Building Programme in Italian click here.
  • Local and regional authorities from Ireland interested in joining a local learning group can submit their applications from the 2nd of March until the 14th of April 2023 (registration link).
  • Local and regional authorities from Poland interested in joining a local learning group in their national language can submit their applications from the 2nd of March until the 14th of April 2023 (registration link). For more information about PROSPECT+ and the Capacity Building Programme in Polish click here.
  • Call for mentors: from the 22nd of May 2023 to the 7th of June 2023.
  • Informative webinar for applicants on the 2nd of March 2023 (Watch it here.)
  • Start of the third learning cycle in August/September 2023.

Did you miss the application period? You can still submit your application to the Expression of Interest to be considered for the next rounds.

More information: https://h2020prospect.eu/get-involved


ManagEnergy Master Class in Brussels: Call for Energy Agencies!

ManagEnergy Master Classes aim to equip Energy Agencies and Regional and Local Authorities across Europe with the skills and knowledge to foster, stimulate and develop sustainable energy projects in Europe. Designed to build the capacity, expertise and knowledge of energy agencies' staff, these Master Classes also present opportunities for networking with peers.

The Master Classes will be delivered in a blended learning format.  A one and half-day face-to-face session in Brussels is supported with two half-day online sessions. The format of the classes includes problem-solving exercises, workshops, case studies and guest lectures from agencies and organisations relevant to energy investments.

Financial support (up to a maximum of €550) is provided to participants for travel and accommodation costs.  Participants who complete the Master Classes will receive a Digital Badge attesting their participation.

The details for the first Master Class are confirmed:

  • Topic: Market Facilitation and Project Aggregation
  • Dates: 4th May (morning, online); 16-17th May (Brussels); 30th May (morning, online)

More information and application: https://www.managenergy.net/node/1695


European largest factory for energy storage solutions in Poland

The 2022 was the year of the first production for the 50,000 m2 in Gdańsk. With a cost over 185 million EUR, this factory wants to be the largest in European energy storage solutions. Realized by the Northvolt agency, this structure can produce, in its first period of life, an output around 5 GWh with a potential capacity of 12 GWh after an initial period of growth. Its realization will also bring the build of a totally new R&D engineering center creating approximately 500 new jobs in the Gdańsk Voivodship. This project will help not only the region but the entire energy community of Poland to improve its carbon footprint, and its dependence from fossils fuels mostly imported.

The main problem of this ambitious project is the difficult capacity of industry to integrate the produced storage cells in some real-world applications. Exceeding this problem would open a new option in the field of energy storage methods, helping with the implementation of these types of factories with the consequent improvement of energy efficiency and creation of new jobs in of the energy renovation and decarbonization reduction areas.

The realization of a sophisticated energy storage systems which can support the energy transition process, especially in the electricity grid industry, is the main intention of the Northvolt industry in order to become a European leader of the battery storage sector and also in other storage methods. It is more than necessary to pay attention to all the effects within the society to involve the population in the energy renovation and energy efficiency process through enhancing more interest so new job opportunities can be created.


A new concrete for more sustainable buildings

Not only the high-end, revolutionizing technology and complex solutions are needed in order to resolve many of the pressuring environmental issues that are haunting our society nowadays. Luckily some of the inventions have a chance, thanks to their character and essence, to be implemented into reality in shorter period and quite successfully. A new way could be represented by the improvement of existing technologies and materials. This kind of approach is represented by the Swedish company Skanska which operates within concrete production sector, especially around development of new concrete solutions that can be used in the construction sector.

In accordance with IAE’s analysis in 2022 the construction sector was responsible of 40% annual global CO2 emissions with consequences on climate change and people’s health. The objective of the company is to replace some components of concrete, with wastes like fly ash from power plants or wastes form steel production, realizing five different new classes of concrete. The new concrete product can be implemented in constructions of garages, joists, walls, fast-drying concrete, and general construction. Thanks to its more efficient design and modularization features these new products could contribute to the reduction of green-houses emission within this sector.

One of the proposed new concrete is the REBETONG which has great insulation properties and lower energy consumption in the implementation phase. These qualities, obtained thanks to the replacement of aggregates, are lied whit a less demolition and less use off natural resources with also limited costs for materials and shipping, which result in a final 10% reduction in emissions.

A next product worth to mention, implemented in the structure of the Generation Park office of Warsaw in 2018, is named TioCem®. The union of titanium oxide and solar rays cause a photocatalytic reaction resulting in a neutralization of harmful air compounds and dirty covering the surfaces of the same structures.  The photocatalytic process contributes to the air quality improvement in the area.

These two examples mentioned above are both capable to reduce concrete presence and emissions up to 50% maintaining at the same time durability, strength and workability. These new materials, lied to the usage of 3D printers, can also avoid complicated logistic plan, reducing general costs, construction time and are also able to implement the strongest material (graphene) and state as great replicable solutions for a fundamental sector.


New life for an old mine

A great chance to reduce air pollution level and increase the green energy production is represented by a system of old mines in South-West of Poland. Studies from the Polish Ministry of science and Higher Education shows that a possible solution would foresee, after years of extraction, to convert the mine in a big reserve of water that, thanks to the depth of the tunnels, may guarantee a new geothermal energy supply for the nearest town. An estimated production of 10GWh by the geothermal energy in addition to other 2GWh by the water flowing would lead inevitably to a reduction of CO2 emissions in the surrounding area.

The implementation method would be preceded by the study of some technical characteristics like pH value, water temperature and conductivity. Only after will be possible to connect a heat pump system, ideal for its high performance. Two shafts would be connected to an open-loop system which reinjection of water after the heat extraction. Initially water is pumped out from a borehole and circulate directly in a heat pump system in order to extract heat that can be distributed to a single house or for an entire district.

Some advantages may be obtained by this type of project; the improvement of small towns’ energy efficiency, a new life for old structures and strong sensibilization process for climate change and green energy production also in these rural and low-populated areas. In conclusion is possible to say that, even if geothermal energy production is not the highest resource in Poland, it could be used to improve a green energy production  and diversification of resources using these geothermal low—temperature systems.


Hydropower plants and potential of Poland

According to the ESHA (European Small Hydropower Plants), Poland is now using only 19% of technical potential of its structures which puts the nation in the last positions in Europe. However, studies have shown that it is possible to increase the production from 41 TWh to 80 TWh by developing a modernization of existing plants, in order to increase their energy efficiency, and establishing new ones.

Some problems are hampering the development of these new technologies, especially, the larger unused hydropower potential is generated by social, economic and institutional barriers, but also the consequences of the climate changes, that are affecting the efficiency of investments. In order to fight these phenomena is necessary to attenuate the current laws that are blocking the investment feasibility. Possible solutions are represented by the use of potential and existing structures that would also facilitate the implementation of others renewable sources thanks to the storage capability and flexibility of hydropower plants. The energy potential in Poland is distributed in an irregular manner whit the largest part located in the upper part of the country (from Warsaw to the estuary near Danzig).

In the last years different concepts have been developed with the intention of achieving a cascade of water steps; this project has been realized in Włocławek, that’s the only dam with a production capacity of 160.2 MW which, through various installations, can generate from 507 to 857 MW with the consequent production of 3428 to 4221 GWh/year; this is good slice of the national production (2.1- 2.6%). The combination of a hydropower plant in the lower Vistula and a cascade of damming barrages can give a significant contribution in order to cover the energy demand. A new project, named Siarzewo, has been carried out in 2012 and it will be realized starting from the next year (2023-2029); it has been selected as protection of Włocławek barrage and its social, economic, and ecological effects


New windfarm in western Poland

In Budzyń, a city located in western Poland, a new wind farm has been realized by the fourth largest wind energy company in the world, named EDP Renewables. The new wind turbines complex, with its 35 structures can cover the demand of 85,000 people with a total capacity of 70 MW; a great result not only for the region but also for the entire state of Poland, helped by the project on reach a goal of energy independence and carrying out proper energy transition process.

This project implements two other great projects; the Margonin Wind Farm (with a production capacity of 120 MW) and the Pawłowo-Gołończ Wind Farm (that produce 80 MW). The total capacity of these three projects, which is about 270 MW, can give a great contribution for the sustainable energy development of western Poland where the last project realized, previously described, has a production that correspond to save over 215,000 tons of CO2 every year.

The development of these renewable projects, and also that of other types, might bring a great impact not only in the clean energy transition process, in order to reach the national and European goals, but also for the creation of new long-term jobs, the awareness of citizens about the renewable energy resources and the reduction of carbon footprints. Another important advantage, generated by the development of these types of projects and the diversification of green energy resources is represented by the following reduction of energy costs for final consumers, which is always the main interest of citizens.


Accelerate your project ideas with the Smart Cities Marketplace Matchmaking services!

Do you need help identifying projects, or further shaping project ideas to become bankable? Then apply now to the Smart Cities Marketplace Matchmaking services which will help you through tailor-made technical assistance.

Matchmaking services provided by the Smart Cities Marketplace aim to help cities and city consortia with their project proposals to achieve climate neutrality. The offered services aim to help with identifying projects, or further shaping project ideas to become bankable through tailor-made technical assistance. Matchmaking services also aim to help investors to find smart city proposals. Projects with a high maturity level can be further supported through the deal meetings with the platform’s Investor Network. The Smart Cities Marketplace‘s support is thus provided throughout the ‘Explore’, ‘Shape’ and ‘Deal’ stages of the respective projects.

Interested cities or city consortia can respond by providing as much information as possible in the intake form, available here, with the details of their projects.

MORE INFORMATION: https://eu-mayors.ec.europa.eu/en/call-for-smart-cities-market-place-match-making-services


Energy Poverty Advisory Hub - 2nd call for technical assistance

EPAH is excited to launch its second call for technical assistance. We invite local governments and/or organisations working in strict collaboration with local governments from all the 27 EU Member States to submit their request for technical assistance and receive support in the process of tackling energy poverty.

Applicants will be able to submit online their proposal from the 1st of March 2023. Awarded applicants will receive tailored-made support by experts and the EPAH team to develop their energy poverty actions in their local context.

The deadline for applications is 31st of March at 18:30 CET (Brussels time, GMT+1).

The proposals will be submitted online via the dedicated EPAH call website, on which interested applicants will be able to find all the detailed information. They will need to register to submit their proposal. The website is available but registrations will be approved as of 1st of March.

Learn more about how and why you should apply – Join one of our national webinars

Interested applicants from all across Europe will have the chance to learn more about the call during a series of national webinars that will take place between 1 and 15 March 2023. The webinars will be open to all but they will be held in the national languages.

A webinar in English was held on 27 February. You can access the recordingAll the webinars available on the dedicated platform.


Poland plans to build offshore and onshore windfarms by 2040

Nowadays the offshore wind plants are covering the 20% of the Poland electricity production with the intention of increasing the number of wind turbines in order to reach the goals of a zero emission energy production and the development of the decarbonisation process. The companies that manage these power plants must use a bilateral contract under which they will cover the gap between the market price of energy and the price enabling producer to cover costs of production energy at sea. The negative balance, as it is called by greenPower, will be able to satisfy the demand with 5.9 GW of energy production starting from 2030 and improving the capacity of the plants with two intervention in the following years that will give others 5 GW. An important role is played by the promotion of these projects inside the society in order to obtain the support of citizens.

Another important project has been developed by the TAURON group whit the realization of their 10th  wind farm, this time built in the Piotrków Municipality, and capable of cover the needs of 35,000 people whit its 15 turbines, each one can produce 2 MW. This project will take place in the Łodż Voivodship with an expected production of 90.1 GWh/year. The TAURON Company is now leading the wind energy production in Poland (onshore) with 182 turbines for a total annual production of 410 MW (estimated) and the perspective to reach the goal of 1100 MW within the 2025.

Thanks to these type of projects it’s possible to improve the growth of green energy production in Poland following the objective of the European Green Deal.