The same day, the joint final international conference of the 3 years-projects BioVill (http://www.biovill.eu/) and CoolHeating (http://www.coolheating.eu), funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme to support the establishment of bioenergy villages and small modular renewable heating and cooling grids, was held at the Manos Conference Centre in Brussels, Belgium.
More than eighty representatives of the EU commission, national and international partner organisations, companies involved in renewable energy as well as district heating and cooling investments and the project consortia took the excellent opportunity to meet renewable energy experts, to talk to possible investors, and to discuss the project results and the implementation progress of renewable bioenergy villages and sustainable district heating and cooling systems in Europe. New contacts were created and business opportunities promoted. Finally, the participants gained an insight on how both EU projects contribute to accelerate the clean energy transition in South-East Europe. For example, the BioVill project has initiated the implementation of the bioenergy village approach up to the investment stage in 7 villages in the partner countries. And CoolHeating succeeded to initiate five small district heating grids in the target communities of the project.
Besides interesting presentations of the EU commission and the project partners, a highlight of the event was the vivid panel discussion, which included the audience’s perspectives, summarized the impacts of both projects on the market uptake of renewable energies for heating and cooling in Europe and accentuated the role of cities, municipalities and local communities in the energy transition processes.
To the delight of the organizers, the participants confirmed at the end that the conference objective - providing a platform for the presentation and discussion of the projects results to the political, economic and scientific communities in Europe - was successfully achieved. Alliances between the public and the private sector were endorsed, the main project outcomes were assessed and best practice examples as well as innovative value chains for the sustainable use of renewable energies in local district heating and cooling grids were presented. Finally, also the idea of jointly organising the final conference for both projects was very much welcomed. The exchange amongst the representatives of public authorities and utility companies, national and regional decision makers and the research community paved the way to an expanding network within the renewable energy community for district heating and cooling. All BioVill and CoolHeating partners highlighted that they will continue with the engaged work and support the fostering of renewable energy approaches in South-Eastern Europe.
The Macedonian partner in both projects, SDEWES-Skopje, together with several other representatives from the Municipality of Kichevo, as the target community in the BioVill project, the Municipality of Karposh, as the target community in the CoolHeating project, and the Municipality of Chashka, as a follower community, successfully presented the developed concepts based on renewable energy sources for a bioenergy community in Kichevo and for a small modular network for district heating and cooling in Karposh. Concepts were approved and praised by the participants in the conference, wishing to fully realize them in the near future.