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Pilot Projects

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Starting from the assumption that the renewable energy reduces the dependence on imports, increases the country’s energy security, has lower costs, encourages new startups and reduces the greenhouse gas emissions, the Energy and Biomass Project has launched several innovative initiatives to foster the production of biofuel and biofuel heat supply to public institutions through Public – Private Partnerships (PPP) and through closed cycles.

Therefore, some of the local governments in Moldova established Public-Private Partnerships with private partners, which will produce solid biomass fuel and supply heat and incur all the operational costs over a longer period of time in order to be able to recover the investments. The local governments, in turn, committed to pay for the supplied heat measured in Gcal, not in tons of biofuel.

Another initiative of the Energy and Biomass Project is the piloting of closed cycles of growing energy crops, producing and using straw bales or biofuel for heating. This pilot project is supported by several vocational schools, which started offering new programs – Forester and Biomass Boiler Operator, for this purpose.

Public-Private Partnerships

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The feasibility study conducted by the Energy and Biomass Project suggests that there are heating systems in Moldova, which use fossil fuels, like coal or natural gas, whose service life will end soon, and they will require retooling. These systems could be replaced with biomass heating systems, and solid biofuel could be supplied by one single supplier in every region.

 

The first PPP was established in 2014 in the Leova district, where 19 education institutions were supplied biomass heat in a centralized manner, avoiding the need to renovate the old systems and the increasing costs for fossil fuel. There, Green – Farm, the company that was selected through a competitive process by the district council, installed in 2014 modern pellet boilers, the total investments amounting to about 500 000 EUR.

The private partner will supply biomass heat and will ensure the smooth operation of the biomass heating systems it installed in the 19 public institutions, as well as of other 6 boiler rooms that were already there in the district. The company employed operators for these boiler rooms and supplies biofuel during the entire heating season. Every year, the company produces 6 000 to 9 000 Gcal under this Public Private Partnership agreement.

The private company has committed to manage the 25 heating systems during 11 years, while the local governments will pay an attractive price for every Gcal of biomass energy. Afterwards the heating systems will be owned and managed by the Leova district council, which received 100 thousand dollars from the Energy and Biomass Project to establish this PPP.

The competition for another Public Private Partnership was announced in August 2016. According to the technical specifications, the private partner is expected to renovate 5 thermal substations and install two pellet boiler rooms in two public institutions in the Ungheni district, and supply heat during 10 years. The private partner will also have to implement energy efficiency measures in five public institutions with the financial support of the Energy and Biomass Project and supply biomass heat during the entire term of the PPP agreement.

This is the first of the five competitions to be announced in the districts selected by the Energy and Biomass Project and the Energy Efficiency Agency to implement PPPs for biomass heat supply. The Energy and Biomass Project will allocated 100 thousand dollars to each of the five local governments to establish Private Public Partnerships, aimed, among others, to address the fuel quality issue, sustainability of heat supply and energy security of the beneficiary localities/institutions and at contributing to the local development by creating new jobs and increasing the incomes to the local budgets.

Bioenergy in production

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Supported by the Energy and Biomass Project, the vocational schools in Orhei and Cuhurestii de Sus (Floresti) and the agricultural college in Taul will buy biomass-fired boilers and biofuel production lines. To produce biofuel in closed cycles, they will use their own raw material.

The Orhei vocational school will install a briquetting line with 250 kg/h capacity near its own farmland in the neighborhood of the Cucuruzeni village. To produce biofuel to heat up the school cafeteria (745 sq.m.) it will use the agricultural waste from fruit trees. An 80 kW biomass boiler will be installed there, the total investments provided by the European Union through the Energy and Biomass Project amounting to 100.000 Euro. The students of the vocational school planted last spring two hectares of energy willow, which they will use after three years to produce biofuel for their own needs.

Besides its economic value, this equipment will also have a practical value for the students of the vocational school enrolled in the Forestry program, who starting with the academic year 2016-2017 will study a new training module Energy Crops – a Renewable Energy Source.

The agricultural college in Taul, one of the most prestigious education institutions in the north of the country, which owns more than 400 ha of farmland, will procure, with the financial support of the Energy and Biomass Project, baling equipment and a 75 kW biomass boiler for its greenhouses. Therefore, the students enrolled in the Agronomy, Vegetable and Wine Growing and Forestry and Public Gardens programs will have the opportunity to acquire practical skills related to biomass heating.

In 2012 the agricultural college installed a mixed heating system, which can run on both natural gas and biomass. This system allows the institution to reduce significantly its maintenance costs and also provides the opportunity for its students to acquire practical skills.