Financing biomass projects: Sharing the best practice example of the Development Agency of Karditsa (GR)

Author: Anja Gahleitner, OÖ Energiesparverband, Austria/Facilitator)

The Development Agency of Karditsa is sharing its expertise on financing and implementing successful projects with the Municipalities of Baião (Portugal) and Farkadona (Greece). In the context of a four step learning programme offered by the Prospect project, the municipalities are increasing their knowledge and know-how on developing biomass projects, motivating municipal companies and innovative financing schemes.

Two online sessions allowed the group to gain first insight on the mentor’s experience and on the mentees’ needs and objectives. During the first session, the mentor, Vasileios Bellis, presented on the establishment and support of the Energy Cooperative of Karditsa (ESEK), which was the first collective effort at country level for exploiting forest and agro-biomass. This was followed by a presentation on the establishment of a guaranteed financial tool in Greece. During the second online session, representatives from the municipality of Baião presented first ideas for transforming the local forest biomass in Baião (forested area: 68%) and the nearby municipalities. The Municipality of Farkadona, located in one of the main livestock-farming regions of Greece, presented a potential project to convert livestock sub-products to electricity.

A highlight of the learning programme so far was the on-site visit of two mentees in Karditsa.

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Image: Mentor Vasileios Bellis, General Director of the Development Agency of Karditsa; Petros Kakouros, Forester; Yannis Kazogou , Professor from the University of Thessaly; Dora Pinto and Aida Ribeiro, Municipality of Baião; Constantinos Asikis, Municipality of Farkadona

During the visit, the partner cities had the opportunity to hear and talk about all steps needed to start and finance successful biomass projects. Site visits allowed the participants to learn hands-on about the biomass supply chain in Karditsa. The first visit took place at the pellet production plant of the energy cooperative company of Karditsa. The plant was commissioned in October 2017 (investment: EUR 498,000, 50 % subsidy) and produces around 7 tons of pellets each day. The visitors had also the opportunity to see the local saw mill, which uses raw material from the surrounded areas (70 % main product, 30 % side product for the pellet production). A visit to the regional biomass centre rounded up the overview of the biomass supply chain. The centre gathers wood material from various sources and divides it into three categories according to quality and type of product (material for the saw mill, for pellet production and for log wood production).

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Image: Constantinos Asikis, Municipality of Farkadona; Vasileios Bellis, Development Agency of Karditsa; Vasileios Filippou, Director of the Energy Cooperative; Dora Pinto and Aida Ribeiro, Municipality of Baião; Petros Kakouros, Forester; Vasileios Vrondos, Owner of the Biomass Centre; Yannis Kazogou, Professor from the University of Thessaly The knowledge and know-how gained during these visits offer valuable input for the mentees’ in the further development of their projects.

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