What is a Bioenergy village?

A bioenergy village is a village, municipality, settlement or community which produces and uses most of its energy from local biomass and other renewable energies. Biomass from forestry, agriculture and waste is used in a bioenergy village to generate electricity and heat. This is usually implemented by several technologies of different sizes, such as: woodchip boilers, pellet stoves, logwood boilers, biogas plants, combined heat and power plants using woodchips etc. They usually supply a small district heating grid of the village in order to distribute the heat to the consumers. The planning and installation of renewable energy technologies is often accompanied with energy efficiency measures. Besides supporting an increased use of renewable energies and its positive effects on climate and environmental protection, a central objective of a bioenergy village is to strengthen the local economy, as the expenses for energy remain in the region.
The involvement and participation of a broad range of local stakeholders and consumers is crucial for the success of a bioenergy village. Ideally, biomass suppliers and energy consumers are shared owners of the necessary installations. The concept to set-up bioenergy villages was developed through concerned citizens’ movements aiming to contribute in making the energy sector environmentally friendlier. Initiatives like Jühnde in Germany, Güssing in Austria and Samsø in Denmark are well-known bioenergy villages that contributed to this development. Today, several hundred bioenergy villages exist in these countries.

What are the objectives of a bioenergy village?

There is no “official” definition of a bioenergy village included in legislations or similar. However, several projects and networks describe key parameters of a bioenergy village. The objectives include:

  • The biomass feedstock is produced locally and in a sustainable way
  • The power supply from local renewable energies is at least as high as the energy demand of the village
  • The heat demand is provided by locally produced biomass or other renewable energies
  • The business model allows also consumers, farmers and forest owners to become shared owners of the installations
  • The creation of the bioenergy village is based on a high level of public participation