The high price of natural gas, which grows every year, more and more forces to reflect on the introduction of European modern energy saving technologies and renewable energy. Our neighbors from EU countries are actively using wind power, solar power, and other alternative sources. In the Carpathian region the first steps have already been taken to replace natural gas with alternative sources and become energy-independent. In particular in the framework of the ENPI CBC Hungary-Slovakia-Romania-Ukraine 2007-2013 Transcarpathian and Kosice region implement a joint project "Carpathian Bioenergy." Various meetings, trainings and seminars with the participation of energy producers and consumers took place both in Transcarpathia and in Slovakia. Participants exchanged experiences and discussed prospects. Both parties already have some solutions in this sphere. This week, consumers and producers shared their experience on alternative energy use at the third working meeting. According to the press service of the regional council, it was held in the Slovak village Marhetsany of Košice region.
Village head Igor Petrik said that the project "Carpathian Bioenergy" is not the first for Marhetsany.With the help of EU funds the central square of the town was built here, the fountain and energy-saving street lighting was set up, as well as wifi network in these locations was provided. Also the school was renovated, a playground was built, and solar collectors on the school rooftop were installed. Interestingly, in a settlement with the population of two thousand, the public order is ensured by surveillance cameras. This was noted by the members of the Ukrainian delegation. However, the main pride of the town is a renovated leasure center.
Igor Petrik, Village Head of Marhitsany (Slovakia)
The main directions of the development of alternative energy sources that we carry out is the biomass boiler. Also near the village mini-hydro system has been erected. Reconstruction of the leasure center was commenced 7 years ago. The very idea originated at a similar meeting, when I participated in the presentation of boilers operating on wood waste in the Czech Republic. We were looking for ways to implement a similar project in our village. After all, we joined one of the EU grant projects. We received more than 800 thousand euros. With these funds we cold-proofed and replaced windows and doors in the administration building and the leasure center. Here in the basement we installed boilers that produce heat from wastes of wood processing industry. Boiler works almost offline – pellets loading, temperature adjusting is carried out automatically. We were interested in other sources of alternative energy, though most interesting for our region is biomass, as the region is situated on mountainous terrain and there are many forests and wood processing enterprises here.
Joseph Magda, engineer, expert
The goal of the project is to reduce energy consumption by means of renewable energy sources, that is biomass. We want to replace the gas that we import with modern technology and minimize the impact on the environment. The best example is our leasure center.
There are two 250 kW boilers. They burn wood chips. They are controlled remotely using computer and internet. Last season we used 70 tons of fuel. In money terms, we saved 10 thousand euros just for the winter. The project payback is more than 80 years. Therefore, without EU subsidies it would be impossible to do. Grant reduced the payback period to 4-5 years.
In addition to biomass boilers, the participants visited the mini-hydro system plants. One of them was built back in 1921. Then its capacity was 160 kW. Now it is 190 kW. Total design maximum capacity is 200 kW. This is in case the water level in the river is high. If it necessary to reduce the amount of power this hydroelectric plant works in reverse mode. In general, there about 250 mini-hydro systems in Slovakia.In theory, the same number can still be built. Also, both parties attended another mini-hydropower plant, construction of which began in 2009.
Jaroslav Maciejko, director of mini-hydro plants construction company
We started developing the mini-hydro plants project in 2007. Its power is 400 kW. The energy produced by this mini-hydro is supplied to nationwide network. Frankly, to begin construction of such plants is impossible without the support of the EU, because payback would be more than 30 years. We started to build this mini-hydro after our project was approved by EU and Slovak state, they provided 50% of financing. Our legislation supports the construction of mini-hydro plants, ensuring regulated price of energy for over 15 years. As for environmental issues, we have a signed agreement between our company and fishing associations.
Every year we pay them compensation for the limitation of fishing on the length of the river, which is occupied for HPS. This compensation is used to reproduce a population of fish.