International Study of RE-Regions: Polana Region, Slovakia

Keywords: renewable energy region, 100% renewable energy self sufficiency region, Polana Region, renewable energy in Polana Region.

Polana is a small mountain in central Slovakia (Figure 1). This region is located in the northeast of Slovakia’s low mountain range (Figure 2) which is original volcanic. The highest top is Mount Polana – an extinct stratovolcano – at 1,458 m.[1]

Biomass for Polana Region – Slovak NGO SF Project

In 2003, Slovak NGO CEPA (Friends of the Earth Slovakia) decided to realize a renewable energy development project in region which biomass potential was not used and coal was the predominant fuel.[3] This region had been chosen in order to protect its values and assist in the sustainable use of its potential. Polana Region represents a typical rural region of Slovakia that stagnates economically in spite of its unique natural and cultural values. The region is formed by four neighboring micro-regions adjacent to the Polana UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.[4] Ultimate goal of the project was to increase the level of economical self sufficiency at rural communities through the utilisation of local biomass in public buildings.[3]

Biomass Potential in the Region

Due to its unique location in central Slovakia with large forest area around including several wood processing industrial facilities, there is a huge biomass potential. Annual waste wood resources in region were estimated as following:[3]

 

Municipalities and Facilities to be Covered by Biomass Heat

Municipalities and their heat consumption to be covered by the project were:

Facilities to be covered by the new biomass heat include municipal office, nursery, primary school – old and new buildings, gymnasium, store, pub nursery, old and new curias, cultural center, food store, and health center in the village of Hrochot.[3]

Project Cost

Expected Outcomes

Some outcomes expected from the project were:

  • Modernization of 17 old heating plants providing heat for 42 public buildings (total heat capacity 4.34 MW)
  • Guarantee of long term safe heating source
  • Fuel cost reduction up to 57% (money will stay in the region)
  • Price of heat reduction for 1 GJ will be less than 17% in comparison to the largest heat provider in the region
  • CO2 emission reduction by 1,705 tons annually
  • Annual biomass fuel consumption will be fully covered from local sources (3,129 tons of wood chips + 148 tons wood logs)
  • 10 new jobs will be created
  • Utilization of buildings where its use was restricted during heating winter season due to the bad technical condition of heating plants (very old plants)
  • Regional partnership among villages creates the appropriate model for other similar regions
  • Inspiring example of revival of local economy
  • Alternative to the large centralized energy oriented projects financed through the structural funds


Fuel Preparation and Storage
Expected total annual consumption was 2,160 tons of wood chips

  1. Lubietova Saw-mill: wood-chips 960 tons and saw dust 400 tons
  2. Poniky Saw-mill: wood scraps 400 tons and saw dust 400 tons

 

Progress of the Project

Some steps realized were:

  • Preparation of project intention (started at 2003)
  • Investigation of interests on community level
  • Provisional analysis (energy audits, studies)
  • Information exchange, communication with responsible persons on communal level
  • Co-operation with expert organizations
  • Technical proposal for biomass heating plant
  • establishment of cooperative organization “Bioenergia Bystricko
  • Project proposal – Financial part
  • Public procurement – selection of supplier
  • Project preparation and application for funding from Structural funds (Operating plan Basic infrastructure, Measure 2.2) in 2006. Project approved but not financed
  • Project updating for new programing period in 2008