The school and the kindergarten in Brătuleni, Nisporeni district, switched to biomass heating thanks to the EU investments

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The pupils in the gymnasium of Brătuleni, district of Nisporeni, enjoy a better thermal comfort at school for three winters already, and, since this year, the community kindergarten will have a biomass heating plant and will be provided with hot tap water produced by solar collectors. They were installed with the financial support of the European Union in the framework of the Energy and Biomass Project. The grant amounted to over 163 000 Euro, and the community allocated a contribution of 600 000 Lei for the repair of the heating system and the installation of the energy efficient windows.

Now, except an unused wing, we heat the entire school building, that is over 2 000 square meters. Before, wishing to make savings, we did not heat the corridors, the library, the festivities hall and other rooms. Moreover, the air temperature in the classrooms is now more comfortable, it only lowers to 18-20 degrees Celsius in the afternoon, when the lessons are over”, the school director, Ludmila Jicol, stated.

The school of Brătuleni has over 230 pupils. “It’s good to learn in a warm school. For several winters, it is no longer cold in the corridors, in the gym room, in the library. Even the learning seems to be more resultful”, Cezara Bondar, pupil at the school of Brătuleni, stated.

About 70 tons of pellets are used during one heating season and the school purchases them to a trader from Ungheni, located to a distance of nearly 20 kilometres. The entrepreneur was born in Brătuleni and he duly supplies the required amount of pellets. “The pellets are of a very good quality and the heating system works perfectly with them. Previously, we had different suppliers, but we have even had to cancel the contract with one of them, because he had misestimated his production capacity and had no fuel stocks. Although the pellets’ price raised in January 2017, it is better to use them, than coal: they are cleaner, environment-friendly and produced in Moldova”, Ludmila Jicol added.

According to the director, the operators of the heating plant are very pleased with it, as it is clean and causes less worries, compared to coal heating. They have recently attended a training session at the Training Centre for biomass boiler operators and returned with new knowledge on proper management of the heating system.

Resources from the community budget will be allocated this year for replacing the windows in the gymnasium’s corridors in order to reduce the heat loss. The mayor Nicolae Chercheja puts efforts to encourage the inhabitants to stay in the village, creating comfortable conditions for them. “As a result of using the locally produced renewable energy, the community and the region are developing. The money paid for the biofuel remains in our country and helps it to develop step by step. The investments made by the European Union in the installation of the environment-friendly heating systems helped us to make this change. Thanks to the European funds, the school and the kindergarten have become energy independent”, Nicolae Chercheja said.

Understanding the benefits of biomass heating in Brătuleni, the District Council of Nisporeni decided to install biomass heating plants in four other communities within a public-private partnership (PPP). To this end, the District Council has launched a competition to select the private partner that will install the new biomass boilers in schools and will take over the management of the three heating plants already operating in the schools of Brătuleni, Soltănești and Vărzărești. Throughout 10 years, the private company will manage the heating plants, hire and train their operators, supply the biofuel and provide heating to public institutions, all these services being included in one bill.

Brătuleni is one of the 235 beneficiary communities in which, with the financial support of the European Union, 187 biomass heating systems were installed and 40 other are under construction in the framework of the Energy and Biomass Project.

The Energy and Biomass Project, Phase II, is a three-year project conducted during 2015-2017. The project has a total budget of 9.41 million Euro granted by the European Union and it is implemented by the United Nations Development Program. It continues the first phase of the project, implemented in 2011-2014, with a total budget of 14.56 million Euro offered by the European Union (14 million Euro) and UNDP (560 000 Euro).

Video testimonial with beneficiaries from Bratuleni village can be downloaded here.

For more information about the Energy and Biomass Project, see website and the  Energie din Biomasă Facebook profile.