In this blog post, Marie Trantinová reports the experience of SHERPA MAP VENUS. Situated in Czechia, this MAP mainly worked on the topic of climate mitigation from the angle of creating and supporting new energy communities in rural areas.
The first energy community in Czechia
The main thematic focus of MAP VENUS is the implementation of measures to reduce the impacts of climate change through systemic support. In particular, MAP VENUS focused on the implementation of energy-saving measures and the increase in the share of sustainable energy sources in the region.
One of the tools for implementation is the support and building of energy communities. The timing of the MAP activities coincided with the right time, i.e. in parallel with concerns about energy poverty, reduction of the competitiveness of enterprises, danger of deepening the economic crisis and raising unemployment.
The unplanned energy crisis brought a massive increase in the interest of residents, companies and public administration in renewable energy sources and the implementation of energy-saving measures. However, Czechia has a lack of experts and advisors to set up community energy companies. To address this gap, the association ENERKOM Opavsko was established in Opava Region. The creation of one of the first energy communities in the Czech Republic was initiated by the Local Action Group Opavsko (MAS Opavsko). It is a certain continuation of MAP VENUS in the field of consulting.
Rural Opava: an experimental energy polygon
The ENERKOM Opavsko association has 17 founding members from the public and private sectors. Mayors, individual citizens, businesses, small companies and non-profit organizations are starting to cooperate on the platform of the association. The first experiences with modern smart technologies in the Opava Region took place the village of Mikolajice (WAVE cogeneration unit), the town of Budišov nad Budišovkou (SMART GRID) and the township of Litultovice (testing of software for community energy). Thanks to these and other implemented projects, Opava has become an experimental energy polygon. According to the strategic vision of MAP VENUS (ENERKOM), more than 60 MWp of renewable electricity sources should be newly installed in the Opava Region, which has 52 municipalities and 60 thousand inhabitants, by 2030. This means 1 kWp (installed power) for each citizen.
The conditions are optimal in rural areas. In the Opava region, part of the municipality’s own forests, the potential of fast-growing energy trees on soils of lower quality is still not fulfilled, it is also possible to use waste from agricultural production (biogas stations). The countryside has a huge number of roofs for photovoltaic power plants and, last but not least, water energy on the Moravice and Opava rivers is also available. In addition to the valuable scenic areas of the landscape, reasonable use of wind power is also offered. In the future, the Opava countryside can theoretically have a positive energy balance, i.e. it will produce more than it consumes.
Read more about MAP VENUS’ experience and recommendations in the field of climate mitigation and energy communities by consulting their MAP Position Papers.