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Chipping in

Oct 10, 2017

REC grant-assisted project in Fastiv, Ukraine, overhauls natural gas boilers to reap economic, environmental benefits

This is the first in a series of articles on municipalities are that are implementing local action plans with assistance from REC-provided grants through the “Local Initiatives for a Sustainable Ukraine” (LINK) project. In 2016, the REC invited partner municipalities to submit project proposals that address priority issues identified in their “Local Action Plan towards Energy Security and Sustainability” or “Local Environmental and Energy Action Plan”, developed and endorsed by the relevant local authority.

Fastiv (pop. 50,000), a city located in Kiev Oblast in central Ukraine, is an important node station on the rail route from Central Europe to Russia and Asia. The JSC ‘Ukrzaliznytsia’, with 12 railway installations in the city, is Fastiv’s largest employer, while brewing and machinery industry are other features of the local economy.

At present, Fastiv’s main heat provider, Fastivteplomerezha Heat Generation Company, uses natural gas that is burned in boiler facilities to produce thermal energy, which is then used to heat buildings of state-run, social, recreational, medical and sports institutions. Although among the cleanest of fossil fuels and a main energy source for municipal district heating, natural gas is one of the most expensive energy sources. Due to market deregulation and the removal of subsidies at the national level, consumer prices have been rising over the past five years. As a result, payments for consumed “blue fuel” has become a heavy burden for local budgets.

As a LINK Ukraine project partner municipality, the city of Fastiv proposed and developed a project to replace natural gas used for heat production with chipped wood. “Modernisation of Boiler Facilities by Installing Alternative Fuel Equipment” provides an opportunity for the city to reduce both the costs of heat production and emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

Key objectives and anticipated outcomes

The specific project objectives are to modernise Fastivteplomerezha’s Boiler Facility No. 7 and Boiler Facility No. 20 through the installation of equipment that uses alternative fuel—in this case, chipped wood. This in turn will involve providing required quantities of fuel and storage. The chipped wood will come from remnants of harvested timber that would otherwise go to waste.

Activities associated with project implementation include the development of design estimates for the project, the installation of necessary equipment for boiler screw feeding and storage, and formal commissioning of the upgraded boiler units.

The city of Fastiv expects to achieve three main results from the project: reduced use of natural gas due to its substitution; a cheaper prime cost of 1 GCal of thermal energy; and reduced CO2 emissions (one of the city’s key obligations before the European Union in the framework of the Covenant of Mayors European Initiative, as the official signing city).

How it works

In 2016, boilers 17 and 20 produced 1,116.3 GCals of energy, consuming 164,810 m3 of natural gas. In terms of economic impact and energy efficiency for the city of Fastiv, the proportion of natural gas in the prime cost of 1 GCal of heat energy is 66 percent (UAH 1,316/EUR 42.35), with the total cost of such energy amounting to UAH 1,994/EUR 64.17. Switching to chipped wood will allow heat generation that costs UAH 1,186/EUR 38.16 per GCal—or, 40.5 percent cheaper.

The environmental benefits of the project are clear. The production of 1MW of thermal energy using natural gas results in 202 kilogrammes of CO2, while there are no carbon dioxide emissions from the combustion of chipped wood. As the Fastiv City Council’s intention is to reduce natural gas consumption by 90-95 percent, the city can reduce its CO2 emissions by 33.3 tonnes per year. At the same time, wood waste from wood processing plants, sawmills and furniture companies located in the city may now be considered a fuel resource.

Fastiv Mayor Mayor Mykhailo Netiazhuk is confident that the project can have a broad and long-lasting social impact: “Implementation of the project activities should change the consciousness of Fastiv’s citizens and their attitudes towards the city, as it demonstrates a healthy and successful approach towards the sustainable management of local resources.”

Logistics and verification

The implementation period for this five-month project is July 1 to October 31, 2017. The preliminary process got underway with a public discussion with government representatives about the project characteristics. Then followed the preparation of project documentation and procurement documents. Works, goods and services were then procured, and technical supervision of the works was assigned.

Following project completion, regular meter readings will be conducted to monitor the volume of CO2 emissions into the air. Results will also be recorded in reports submitted by the municipal utility company, Fastivteplomerezha.

“Realisation of the project allows us not only to reduce budget expenses twofold, it brings a set of achievements: increased energy security, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and enhanced forest care and maintenance,” said Olena Zykova, First Deputy Mayor of Fastiv. “Some time ago we got away from the practice of using firewood for heating, but now we’re returning to it—but in a more advanced technological way.”

Grant agreement with the REC on cooperation in implementation

The engaged parties have concluded a Memorandum of Understanding in which they recognise the support of the Government of Norway and the Ministry of Climate and Environment of Norway. At the same time, the Government of Ukraine has been duly informed about the “Local Initiatives for a Sustainable Ukraine” (LINK) project and the institutional cooperation between the parties.

The total project budget is EUR 65,075, of which the REC has provided EUR 30,000 in grant funding through the Government of Norway. The project coordinator is Vitalii Kuzmenko, from Fastiv City Council.

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