European support: Energy from biomass brings warmth and comfort to the school of Mosana village, Donduseni

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The cold in the classrooms and the hallways will remain a memory for the students and teachers in the Mosana school, Donduseni district. Starting this autumn, the institution gave up the old heating system in favour of a new modern biomass power plant, that will provide eco-friendly heat at fair prices. The new environment-friendly technologies have been installed with the support of the European Union, within the framework of the Energy and Biomass Project, implemented by the United Nations Development Programme.

In the school of Mosana, a locality densely populated by Ukrainian ethnics, 150 children are studying, 20 of them coming by bus from three neighbouring localities where there are no educational institutions.

The school building was built in the 60’s of the last century and the heating system was its weak spot. The boilers were breaking down a lot, repairs were coming one after another, the spare parts were getting harder to find, and the school administration expected the machines to go out of use once and for all in a year or two. Once the cold season started, the temperature in the classrooms reached a maximum of +17 degrees, and it was even colder in the hallways. And that was true under the conditions in which the institution was spending 20 thousand lei a month for wood and coal, an astronomical sum for a tight budget of a school with a small number of students.

We had a budget deficit of about 200 thousand lei. Much of this amount was due to the excessively high amounts we paid for heating,” says Larisa Traci, principal of the institution.

Thus, changing the heating system was the first task on the list of priorities of the school administration. The solution came from the European Union, through a grant program for the construction and installation of biomass-fired power plants. “I wanted such a project for our school. I knew, from discussions with other school principals, about how efficient biomass heaters are, and we hoped to be able to bring this project to our locality as well,” says the principal.

The school submitted its application for participation in the competition in September 2016, and a few months later learned that it was among the winners. With the money received – 52,696 EUR, granted by the European Union, the building for the thermal power plant was built from scratch and two biomass boilers (briquettes and pellets) with a total capacity of 300 kW were purchased and installed. The community’s contribution to this project amounted to 6,308 EUR. The equipment installed is state-of-the-art and was produced in Poland. The pumps are energy-efficient and automated. If a heat pump fails, the other one starts automatically. Maintaining the thermal power plant is in the hands of three employees, who were trained by the company that installed the equipment.

After the installation of the new heating system, in all the rooms in the school, which amount to about 1100 square meters, a constant temperature is ensured, and parents, students and teachers are very happy with the change.

The principal of the institution hopes that initially the new system will reduce the school budget deficit, and in the future, it will also bring savings. “We want to raise enough money to change the windows that are very old and to do other works to upgrade the institution,” said the principal

During the commissioning of the new plant, the students in Mosana discussed renewable energy and its advantages during one of the “Personal development” classes. Subsequently, a drawing contest was held on this theme, and the best works were exhibited in the hallway of the institution.

Right from the first day we, the kids, noticed that it was much warmer. We are glad that our school is developing. We will also have savings on heating and we will be more actively involved in protecting the environment,” says Ecaterina Melnic, 9th grade student.

The students’ parents are also pleased with the new conditions. “The change was expected by all. We are glad that from now on, lessons will be held in well-heated classrooms, and students and teachers will no longer endure the cold,” says Svetlana Pileac, parent.

The school in Mosana is one of the 265 kindergartens, schools, health canters that have been connected to biomass heating systems, with the support of the European Union within the Energy and Biomass Project.

The Energy and Biomass Project, phase two, is carried out in 2015–2018, with a total budget of 9.41 million EUR provided by the European Union and is implemented by the United Nations Development Programme. It continues the first phase of the project (2011–2014), with a total budget of 14.56 million EUR, offered by the European Union (14 million EUR) and UNDP (560,000 EUR). The national partner of the Energy and Biomass Project is the Ministry of Economy and Infrastructure.

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The EU4Energy Initiative covers all EU support to improve energy supply, security and connectivity, as well as to promote energy efficiency and the use of renewables in the Eastern Partner countries Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Republic of Moldova and Ukraine. It does this by financing projects and programmes that help to reform energy markets and to reduce national energy dependence and consumption. Over the longer term, this makes energy supply more reliable, transparent and affordable, thus reducing energy poverty and energy bills for both citizens and the private sector. For more information visit: www.EU4Energy.eu