Press release (19th December 2012)

Published by Tana Dutkevicova on 28. 05. 2013

During a ceremony, when Kněžice village got the Czech solar award from EUROSOLAR, quintuple of villages from a micro-region MAS Mezilesí made public their concern to sign Covenant of Mayors. 

Impulse of Kněžice should facilitate creation of first joint Sustainable Energy Action Plan (SEAP)

On the occasion of the Czech solar award ceremony, which has been pronounced already for the twelfth time by the national section of European association EUROSOLAR, has the Kněžice mayor Mr. Milan Kazda, in common with mayors of neighbouring villages Chotěšice, Chroustov, Záhornice and Sloveč and national coordinators of the project ‘100%-RES-communities’, apprised a common decision of these villages to sign Covenant of Mayors.

Kněžice has been awarded in a category ‘successful realization of independent municipal power supply’ thanks to building and operation of a unique bioenergy centre. This consists of a biogas power plant with a co-generation (with an electrical output of 330 kW) and a municipality district heating plant (with two boilers with an output of 800 and 400 kW). The technological unit for 139 million of CZK supplies more then 90% of more then 400 municipality inhabitants and produces more of electricity then the village can use up, which enables it to sell leftover back to the grid. So the village is in principle the first Czech energy self-sufficient municipality.

The village has been without sewer system so the biogas station brought it many effects: cleaner environment, utilization of local cesspits and septic tanks content, of cattle slurry of a farm and of other organic sewage. Biomass heating plant uses wood chips and straw. In addition the centre, which is fully operated by the municipality, produces energetic pellets from herbal material for family houses heating in the neighbourhood. Cereal and flaxen straw, energetic sorrel stalks in huge bundles and subtle garbage for the plant are provided mainly by local farmers. Ash and the biogas station digestate are used for land fertilization.

Kněžice inhabitants with other partners want enrich the benefit mixture even more by grounding of an info-centre in a reconstructed mill to be able to bring out, among others, ways to energy independence, which has been reached by many foreign towns and villages.

At the same time municipality bio-centre benefits are an impulse for neighbouring villages to find and use potential for expansion of energy-saving behaviours associated with reducing of greenhouse gasses emissions. The mayors of the five mentioned villages, which are members of the local action group (MAS) Mezilesí, made a common decision to sign the Covenant of Mayors. This signing governs with an obligation of its territory to submit the SEAP within a year in order to reduce CO2 emissions as well as energy-saving accomplishment and a renewable energy sources utilization by more then 20% by 2020.

Through a practical implementation of EU energy policy (called shortly ‘20:20:20’) they can start a path to sustainable coverage of its energy needs and simultaneously will be integrated into the European project ‘Towards 100% RES rural communities’. This project brings newly a possibility, for a group of small rural communities, to create not more individual, but one joint SEAP and fulfil these goals together (common energy and emissions benefits of micro-region will be calculated on an average for each of them). The quintuple of municipalities plans a coherent system of measures and investments such as thermal insulation and installing of quality windows at schools and other municipal buildings, purchase of efficient lighting, streamlined operation of business premises, family houses or local transport.

Just the energy balance of Kněžice will be the significant input since the village is self-sufficient in heat production and boldly surplus in electricity production.

Kněžice co-founds even a Czech club of villages pointed to energy self-sufficiency.

‘100%-RES-communities’ project team in co-operation with these mentioned municipalities and the Association for Rural Renewal of the Czech Republic as a project partner aspire to grounding of RURENER club (Network of RURal communities for ENERgetic neutrality), which name is derived from the European net of small municipalities heading towards the energy independence. This club should associate rural municipalities and regions of the CR interested in energy self-sufficiency, social effects of local energetics, experience exchange, consultancy and co-operation. The project will be, during its duration, technical and organizing background of the club. Municipalities, known for their sustainable energy activities (e.g. Hostětín and Rusava from Zlín region), consider possibility to be potential regional initiatory centres in the future.