Together everything is easier – The first Hungarian joint SEAP with the cooperation of 16 South-Transdanubian municipalities
The main target of the 100% RES Communities project was to develop joint SEAPs (Sustainable Energy Action Plans) with the cooperation of rural municipalities. Energiaklub Climate Policy Institute & Applied Communications, like the other project partners, supported the municipalities of the selected target regions in this process.
The establishment of the Mecsek Energy Group
Hungarian small villages have huge difficulties caused by the inefficient operation of local institutions and lack of knowledge related to sustainable energy. Local governments usually do not have any vision or development goals in the field of energy. The Mecsek Energy Group was founded after several meetings between the representatives of Energiaklub and the Mecsek-Völgység-Hegyhát LEADER LAG by 16 small settlements whose objective was to start the energy transition by enhancing energy efficiency, the use of RES and knowledge transfer. All municipalities joined the Covenant of Mayors in 2013 to strengthen their intention towards a more sustainable energy consumption.
20% CO2 reduction by 2020
The project managers of Energiaklub elaborated the Sustainable Energy Action Plan in cooperation with the mayors and energy experts of the 16 municipalities and set a common target of 20% carbon dioxide reduction by 2020 compared to the baseline year 2011. Municipalities with only a few hundred inhabitants do not always have enough financial/human resources to achieve the given targets on their own but together they could share the costs of the energy advisor, the project manager, etc. The joint approach supports each local authority to implement the most important measures locally, while other local authorities with more financial resources can develop bigger investments.
The SEAP contained ideas such as:
- biogas plant next to the meat processing plant in Alsómocsolád,
- two solar parks, each with a capacity of 500 kW by the cooperation of the municipalities,
- identification of the most energy consuming municipal buildings by energy audit,
- continuous energy consultancy for inhabitants.
The first steps have already been made towards achieving the targets
The mayors and staff of the municipalities took part in several workshops, energy trainings and study tours to Scotland in the framework of the 100% RES Communities project. The discussions revealed that most of the villages have the same problems and can offer each other help or advice. It could be useful for them to step up together to their interest (for example against electricity provider companies).
However, the most important step was to find financial resources for the implementation of the actions. Energiaklub supported the group by hunting up calls for tenders and setting up a project proposal. In 2014 the group applied successfully for a tender and received a support of nearly 167.000 EUR. Each municipality received an equal share from the support, so minor improvements had been implemented within a few months after the SEAP was elaborated. The measures included PV (18.56 kW) and solar thermal collector (9.24 m2) installations and the modernization of municipal buildings: insulation (375 m2) and the replacement of windows (117 windows had been changed), as well as upgrading heating system (35 kW biomass boiler). Thanks to this project, the renewable energy production increased by a total of 113 MWh/year and the heat consumption was reduced by 61 MWh which means 38.5 tons of carbon dioxide emission reduction per year.
New windows for the mayor’s office in Magyarhertelend, Hungary
The successful tender showed the mayors the advantages of common projects in the field of energy efficiency and renewable energy. The projects carried out in public buildings provide good examples for the inhabitants and can enhance their energy investments.
 Alsómocsolád, Bikal, Egyházaskozár, Gödre, Hosszúhetény, Kárász, Magyaregregy, Magyarhertelend, Magyarszék, Mánfa, Máza, Meződ, Mindszentgodisa, Sásd, Szászvár and Vásárosdombó