November 2011 – 4th ISSUE - enerea

November 2011 – 4th ISSUE - enerea


November 20114th ISSUE


World News – Chinese Study Says Dam Didn’t Affect Climate Change .......... 2

Case Study – The Güssing Model .................................................................. 4

Company Profile – Nyírtávhő Ltd., the District Heating Company ............... 10

Project – Regions for Sustainable Change (RSC) ......................................... 12

Ideas – 5 big alt-energy letdowns: Ideas that sounded good but... ............. 15




Chinese Study Says Dam Didn’t Affect Climate



Published: November 12, 2011

BEIJING — A scientific study has found that the Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest

hydropower project, has not contributed to climate change, according to a report by Xinhua, the

Chinese state news agency.

The study, published by the Social Sciences Academic Press under the Chinese Academy of Social

Sciences, focused on climate change and found that the dam’s environmental impact was

limited to a 12-mile radius, the Xinhua article said.

“No direct link has been found between the dam and local severe droughts and floods in recent

years, according to the report, which instead laid the blame on extreme weather conditions

caused by abnormal atmospheric circulation and air temperature mainly incurred by changes in

ocean temperature and snow conditions at the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau,” according to the article,

which was published Friday.

The results of

the study

were the first

to be


publicly since


over the dam

has grown

this year.

Critics of the

dam and


some Chinese news organizations raised questions in the spring about whether the dam had

worsened the effects of a drought that hit the Yangtze River region of central and southern

China. The Three Gorges Dam stands in the middle of the Yangtze River.

The newspaper Shanghai Daily reported in early June that an official in the drought relief and

flood control bureau said that the dam’s planners had failed to gauge its impact properly.

The official, Wang Jingquan, said that water levels in two lakes downstream from the dam,

Dongting in Hunan Province and Poyang in Jiangxi Province, had fallen, in part because of the

storage of water in the reservoir behind the dam.



In May, two Chinese officials warned of “urgent problems” associated with the dam.

The drought was the worst in the region in 50 years, and water levels in the Yangtze and bodies

of water linked to it fell drastically. This led to greater scrutiny of the dam. On the Internet,

many Chinese asked whether the dam was at least partly responsible for the drought. Several

scientists, including at least one American, said then that there was no evidence that the dam

had caused the drought. Rainfall in early June began to alleviate the drought.

The Xinhua report on Friday said the recent study, called “Green Book of

Climate Change: Annual Report on Actions to Address Climate Change,”

recommended that “the authorities strengthen monitoring, evaluation

and research of the climate condition in regions around the dam.”

„ there was no

evidence that

the dam had

caused the


The drought this year also raised questions about another ambitious water

project, the South-North Water Diversion, which will cost $62 billion. Chinese

leaders aim to transfer at least six trillion gallons of water a year via canals from

the Yangtze and its tributaries to cities in the north, where droughts are much worse than in the

center and the south.

The middle route of the project, which starts at the Danjiangkou Reservoir in Hubei Province, is

expected to begin operating in 2014. The eastern route, which runs alongside the ancient

Grand Canal, is expected to be operational by 2013. Critics say the government has not done

enough studies to determine the project’s impact on waterways in the south.


Hydropower today

provides about 20 % of

the world's electricity

and is the main energy

source for more than

30 countries.


requires the use

of dams which

can alter river


Hydropower can have

negative ecological impacts,

especially on fisheries and

water ecosystems, this

especially applies to largescale





The Güssing Model


Situation at the end of the


- 50 years alongside iron


- no industry

- high rate of unemployment

- 70% commuters

- high rate of migration

- small structured agriculture

- bad traffic infrastructure

The Goal:

… to get independent from fossil

energy in order to strengthen the

regional added value!

This strategy can be adapted

individually wherever resources are



Milestones in Güssing


Since 1990:

Energy efficiency measures and

beginning with production of

heat out of biomass

Since 2001:

Production of electricity

(biomass and photovoltaic)

Since 2008:

Beginning of important research

projects (production of synth.

natural gas and production of

synth. liquid fuels). New

research institute!

Goal for 2011:

Pilot project 2MW

demonstration plant,

gasification of waste

The district heating system of Güssing

Since 1996:

Gradual grid-development

Current grid 35km

Convincing arguments:

No loss of comfort!

Stable energy price!

Photovoltaic plant Güssing& production of

photovoltaic cells

Since 2004

Capacity: 27,9 kWp

Average amount of Energy: ca. 30MWh

Since 2008:

140 jobs

Invest. 50 Mio€

Average efficiency of monocrystalline solar cells: 17,5%

Annual output: 85MWp





Synth. Natural

Gas (BioSNG)

Liquid synth.


Methanisation demonstration plant


Since 2008

420 kWh heatand182 Nm³ BioSNG produced out

of 1 ton of woodchips

1Nm³ SNG -> 10kWhSince

Biomass power plant-wood


Since 2001

2MW electr ./ 4,5MW heat

Anaerobic digestion plants Güssing & Strem


Strem – Heat – Electricity – Biomethan





Area (km²) 3.966

Population 281.190

District of Güssing

Area (km²) 485

Population 26.507

Town of Güssing

Area (km²) 49,3

Population 3.764

Initial Stages

The European Centre for Renewable

Energy (German abbreviation EEE) is

located in Güssing, a town with around

3 700 inhabitants in the province of

Burgenland. Burgenland is the most

eastern of the Austrian provinces and is

still – despite catching up – the province

which is economically least developed.

Against this backdrop, Burgenland was

defined as an objective-1 region in the mid 1990s. Güssing was

at that time facing rather grim economic prospects. Located in Southern Burgenland and close

to the Hungarian border, it was “…one of the last corners in Europe” (expert interview), a result

of the cold war. Employment possibilities in the region were scarce, and the economic situation

of the farmers and agricultural firms dominating the local economy was deteriorating. A large

part of the population had to commute to work to other areas, such as Vienna. Güssing was also

disadvantaged because of the lack of transportation infrastructure. To date, the town has no

railway station and reachability by car was and is improvable. Out-migration was a logical

consequence, and with it also a decline in local tax income for the town.

The idea

„ the town

authorities had to

Against this

backdrop, the town authorities had to develop a

develop a strategy

strategy for for making

making Güssing more attractive. As part of the

first stock Güssing more taking exercise, a SWOT analysis for living and

working in attractive” Güssing was performed. It found that the

inhabitants of Güssing had to pay considerable amounts of money

for heating, as most of the households used oil-fired systems. At the

same time, one of the strengths identified was a large availability of biomass in the region. The

idea was hence to develop a local system for the production of district heating (in German


The implementation

Using national funds (communal loans) and ERDF funds, the first prototype and demonstration

facilities were established in 1996 in order to convince the population to take part in the

initiative. In parallel, the EEE was established. The response from the population was excellent,

and in the course of seven stages of expansion (the last in 2006), not only the production

facilities were enlarged but also an extensive network of pipes for district heating was set up.



An intended and positive outcome was also that local agriculture and

forestry firms found new (local) demand for their products.

Encouraged by the success of the approach taken (i.e. developing

demonstration/prototype facilities for renewable energy

production with subsequent take-up through local households,

which then pushes demand for local biomass products and

services), Güssing wanted to repeat this success also in other

related areas of renewable energy production. A whole series of

demonstration and prototype facilities was established for further

study, among which was also a power station utilising biomass as a source

“The facilities,

and in particular

the biomass

electric plant,

attracted demand

for R&D.”

„ the first prototype

and demonstration

facilities were

established in 1996 in

order to convince the

population to take

part in the initiative.”

energy. The novel process employed is based on the

gasification of biomass and allows all waste material

to be recycled. Other demonstration facilities

concerned biodiesel fuels or biogas. While not all of

the facilities were commercially successful, some

were. One impact visible was that results from

demonstration runs in Güssing were also used for similar facilities operating in neighbouring

regions in Burgenland.

The co-funding through ERDF funds was and is considered essential for closing funding gaps

with respect to development of the prototype and demonstration facility and for initiating

further investment. The facilities, and in particular the biomass electric plant, attracted demand

for R&D. Researchers from various organizations asked the town and the EEE

about possibilities to use the renewable energy facilities for their projects.

Güssing recognized that R&D could not only help the town solve

particular technological problems, but also maintain the lead as

innovator among regions in using and exploring the possibilities of

renewable energy sources. This has helped the settlement of production

facilities of foreign firms active in the renewable energy sector, sparked the

development of eco-tourism and the demand from other regions for knowhow

from Güssing. Güssing now cultivates this ‘habitat’ for renewable energy activities, is

actively collaborating with many national and international R&D organisations, and is also

developing and offering training and education in the renewable energy sector. A case in point

is training on the new profession of ‘Solarteur’ in the solar (photovoltaic) field, a technology field

now also tackled by Güssing.



with its currently 14 employees is instrumental for the

particular strategy Güssing is exploiting. The centre is



“EEE manages the




access control,

accounting) as a

service to its users”

organized as an association and has around 60 members, such as local

firms, private persons but also the Federal State of Burgenland. The

centre´s main aim is to contribute to regional development by

developing “…lasting regional and community-based concepts for

energy conservation and for the generation and use of renewable

energy”. Against this backdrop, EEE manages the demonstration

facilities (administration, access control, accounting) as a service to its

users. It is also involved to a small extent in R&D projects. The participation in

R&D projects is, however, for the most part limited to a management function. Actual research is

carried out by dedicated research partners such as the Technical University of Vienna or the

Technical University of Graz. Respective labs and offices have been established at the biomass

plant and in newly established office buildings. It is also noteworthy that Güssing hosts a branch

of the research centre ‘BioEnergy 2020+’, a centre funded by the national COMET programme

and headquartered in Graz.

The EEE does not have any ‘base’ institutional funding. It attempts to finance 30% to 40% of its

financing needs by drawing on several funding channels. These include at the national level

FFG´s Structural Programmes (COMET – Energy 2020+ as stated before, protecnet, COIN) and

FFG’s General Programmes. At the international level, Structural Funds are particularly drawn

upon (LEADER and LEADER+). Programmes used comprise former INTERREG, the Central Europe

programme, and the South Eastern Europe (SEE) programme. EEE has also been involved in the

Framework Programmes, namely in ‘traditional’ cooperation projects, and in the EU’s Lifelong

Learning programme. Questioned on how the EEE selects among the various schemes, EEE

officials answered that the main selection criterion was “…that drawing on a particular

programme should make sense from our strategic point of view”. Against this backdrop, the

concept of ‘synergies’ between different funding programmes – in particular between FP7 and

ERDF funds – would be hard to define because, eventually, “…all that´s possible and feasible in

terms of combining funding schemes is being pursued by us in practice”. The impacts of using

the various R&D, and especially the EU, funds are hard to quantify and to assign to particular

projects. However, Güssing officials feel that without the European programmes, “…a large part

of what Güssing constitutes today would not exist”. In particular, Güssing is rather skeptical that

without European programmes it

would have been possible to

engage in transnational

collaboration, to learn and get to

know distinctive partners or

obtain access and learn about

certain technologies to the

realized extent.




Nyírtávhő – the District Heating Company

The NYÍRTÁVHŐ Nyíregyházi Távhőszolgáltató Limited Company (NYÍRTÁVHŐ

Kft.) operates in the second biggest city of the North-Great Plain Region of

Hungary, in Nyíregyháza. The owner, the Local Government of Nyíregyháza

founded the company in 1992, by the reorganisation of the predecessor

Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg County District Heating Service Company. The

objective of the company is to accomplish the clear profile district heating


„A service

company does a

good job if the

consumers are

satisfied with it”

The district heating service in the city of Nyíregyháza – as

far as the history of the profession is concerned – has a

significant history and now it managed to reach the level

that it is one of the most modern district heating service of


The task of the NYÍRTÁVHŐ Kft. is to transfer and distribute

the thermal energy purchased from the Nyíregyházi Erőmű

Kft. to the consumers.

In these days the 45 year-old district heating service of Nyíregyháza provides 15 700 flats and

more than 1 000 public consumers with district heat supply. The total heated air volume is

3 951 000 m 3 , and the amount of the provided hot-water is 530 000 m 3 /year.

The transportation of heat takes place mostly under the surface by the vehicle of hot water

through a district-heating pipeline that is located in a ferroconcrete protecting tube. The length

of district heating service pipeline network is 46 km.

Our organisation currently operates 258 heat-centres and 215 heat receivers. In the heating

centres intelligent controlling automations, which are connected to the district-controlling

system and operate according to the DDC principle, are used in order to control the production

of heating and consuming hot-water.

Our organisation maintains a planned technological improving activity. The annual business

plans are adjusted to the objectives of the long-term strategy plan.

The energy- and cost-sparing operation of the district heating network is managed as a key task.

Significant emphasis is placed on the modernisation of the consumer side as well as on the

reconstruction of the primary side. Foremost among the Hungarian district heating services –

following the European model – we enabled the consumers to pay over the heat-consumption

by the secondary sided reconstruction, known as the “NYÍTÁS” programme, which was launched

in 1997.



Our significant duty is to operate the heating equipment of the

local government institutions. After taking into possession of the

boiler-room technologies of the institutions with natural gas

operating systems, the attendance of improving, modernising and

maintaining tasks became the duty of the Company from 1

January, 2005.

The characteristics of district heating service – our prime activity –

basically determine the sphere of our key supplier partners.

Our prime activity expanded with a new supplier partner, beside

our most important heat-supplier, in 2003. A heating station with gas engine was built by an

external investor that enabled to get more heating energy into the district heating network.

The implementation accomplishing partners are selected chiefly from the experienced

companies of the region following a strict qualification process.

Our technological equipment includes mainly the equipment located in the heat-centres and

heat receivers. The transportation of our „product” takes place via the district-heating primary

and secondary pipe-network. The most modern equipment and achievements of the profession

are utilised for the technical, technological improvement.

The mission of our company is to

perform its district heating service

and other related service activities

in the area of the city of

Nyíregyháza so as to fulfil the

customer/consumer needs to a

greater extent by providing a

convenient and ecologically

beneficial service with the help of

quality and efficiency.

Our vision presents a continuously

modernising, rational expenditure

managing organisation; moreover,

the mission of the company is

completed with the satisfaction of

real and latent needs of the

customers at high and continuously

rising standard


Istvan Gerda

Executive Director

Tel: +3642 314433




Regions for Sustainable Change (RSC)

Final Conference

was held in


Cornwall, UK

19-20 October,


Newquay, Cornwall

Showing the Way to a Low-Carbon Future for

European regions

European regions have great potential to contribute to sustainable growth

through lower emissions and to implement innovative climate change

mitigation and adaptation measures. However, currently regions tend to

focus on economic growth while lacking the experience, knowledge and

practical tools needed to integrate climate change issues into policies and


What’s behind the Regions for Sustainable


Regions for Sustainable Change (RSC) is a threeyear

partnership of 12 organisations from 8 EU

member states. Through regional cooperation, and

by providing regions with suitable methodological

means, the project aims to promote an EU-wide

shift to economies with minimal greenhouse gas

emissions. As RSC brings together regions at

different levels of preparedness to tackle climate

change, the partners are willing to learn from one

another, to exchange experiences, and to share

the results of their efforts. The project was

launched in October 2008 and is co-funded by the EU programme INTERREG IVC, part of the

European Territorial Cooperation objective, and aims to improve the effectiveness of regional

development policies and to contribute to the economic modernisation

and increased competitiveness of Europe.

How it all began

The idea behind RSC arose during the INTERREG IIIC project

Greening Regional Development Programmes (GRDP),

implemented between July 2004 and October 2007. At the end

of the project, seven GRDP partners expressed an interest in

continuing the successful cooperation. As climate change is a

priority issue for the regions, they decided to create a

partnership to promote the move towards a low-carbon economy.

“While the move

towards a low-carbon


is an environmental

necessity, it also

represents an

economic and social




• Cornwall Council

• Commune of Wroclaw

• University of Debrecen, Centre for

Environmental Management and

Policy (CEMP)

• LaMoro Development Agency

• Liguria Region

• Le Marche Region

• Malta Environment and Planning


• Bulgarian Ministry of Regional

Development and Public Works

• Burgenland Regional Management

• Regional Environmental Center for

Central and Eastern Europe

• Cornwall Development Company

• La Rioja Region



Venelina Varbova:

Dora Almassy:

Tel: +3626 504 000

To subscribe to the RSC newsletter, please send a

message to

Who we are

The partnership comprises national, regional and local public authorities and bodies governed

by public law from Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Malta, Spain and the UK. The

partners intend to work together to encourage a shift to climate-friendly economies and to

unlock the potential of regional development programmes to stimulate the mitigation of and

adaptation to climate change.

Why the project is important

While the move towards a low-carbon economy is an environmental necessity, it also represents an

economic and social opportunity. European regions have great potential to contribute to sustainable

growth through lower emissions and to implement innovative climate change mitigation and

adaptation measures. Regions tend to focus on economic growth while lacking the experience,

knowledge and practical tools needed to integrate climate change issues into policies and practices.

The RSC partners hope to capitalise on the regions’ potential and to support them in tackling climate


Expected Project Outputs

1) Low-carbon indicators Toolkit: a user-friendly, online and interactive tool that aims to inspire and

assist European regions to review and apply existing low carbon indicators and develop new ones.

The toolkit contains a low-carbon indicators library, which is an extensive review of existing



sustainability or environmental indicators and indices relevant to low-carbon economic development

used by various organizations. A second module contains the online RCCI (see below).

2) Regional Climate Confidence Index (RCCI): an innovative self-assessment tool for examining and

evaluating European regions’ strengths and weaknesses in dealing with climate change. The index is


on seven key issues, which represent the main characteristics of

climate confident regions as identified by the RSC partners. The

- Low-carbon indicators


- Regional Climate

Confidence Index

- Discussion paper and


- Methodology for assessing

costs and benefits

- Methodological Handbook

online RCCI does not only assess regions’ status and progress,

but it also provides additional materials for better

understanding of the received results and scoring


3) Discussion paper and guidelines on the use of

Strategic Environmental Assessment/Sustainability

Appraisal for integrating climate change and low-carbon

issues into regional policy planning documents.

4) Methodology for assessing costs of and benefits for

implementing a low-carbon economy. An analytical transferable

framework and tools have been developed to assess the costs and benefits of meeting GHG

reduction targets. The methodology was tested and applied in three partner regions (Marche,

Cornwall and Burgenland) but is transferable to other regions.

5) A Methodological Handbook capturing all lessons learned and summarizing the results of the

project. The publication was created as a concise guidebook for regions and covers each step of the

policy cycle, describing the applicable tools and methodologies for each step and providing good

examples and best practices to inspire readers.

The project has also carried out pilot actions in several partner regions and included capacitybuilding

workshops and seminars that further addressed the issue of low-carbon transition.

In order to enhance the impact of the

project, the RSC partners would be happy to

get in touch with other similar initiatives,

individual regions with good practice in the

field, as well as companies and/or

organisations carrying out research on

the topic.




5 big alt-energy letdowns: Ideas that sounded

good but...

As the call for a clean-energy savior — to

wash away our fossil-fuel sins — grows

louder, the number of questionable

candidates swells. Should we be looking to

photovoltaic or fusion Turbines or tides

Here's a roundup of five ideas that may one

day succeed, but aren't going to save the

globe from a climate calamity anytime soon.

Zero-point energy

Some have posited that looking to the very

small – as in quantum – might help solve the very big global energy need. According to

quantum mechanics, a perfect vacuum actually contains a bit of energy, which can create

particles that pop into existence out of nowhere before quickly disappearing again. Physicists

have seen this zero-point energy in the form of the Casimir effect in which two

“looking to the very

small – as in

quantum – might

help solve the very

big global energy


Cold fusion

closely spaced plates in a vacuum are pushed together ever so slightly by

this energy. But one of the big problems would be capturing useful

amounts of energy; after all, it takes at least as much energy to pull the

plates apart again. Nevertheless, plenty of so-called "perpetual

motion" devices using zero-point energy have been proposed, but

careful analysis inevitably shows that such schemes violate at least one

law of thermodynamics, and nothing concrete (or even too theoretically

plausible) has materialized just yet.

Also from the realm of the theoretically dubious, cold fusion (or low energy nuclear reaction)

has had a hazy history since it was first reported in 1989. The process, which allegedly created

an unexpected burst of heat in an experiment by electrochemists Martin Fleischmann and

Stanley Pons at the University of Utah, apparently occurred when some heavy water (water that

contained extra hydrogen isotopes called deuterium), was zapped with electricity by an

electrode made of palladium (a rare metal). So far it hasn't been replicated to satisfy either the

scientific community or the Department of Energy, leaving this type of fusion's future out in the

cold for now.



Passive collection

What if we could somehow capture all of that energy we're constantly

putting out – the "wasted" energy crossing the office for a cup of

coffee or pounding on the keyboard Passive energy collection

technology has been installed under turnstiles in a Japanese East

Railways station and even the floor of a dance club in London.

This collected energy can then be turned around to meet some of

the facility's needs. But all the footfalls in all the train stations –

and dance floors, for that matter – aren't likely to be able to power

life at the scale the world currently demands. Not to mention the

hassle of ripping up all of that linoleum.

Passive energy

collection technology

has been installed in a

Japanese East Railways

station and even the

floor of a dance club

in London

Hot fusion

We know its power well from the sun's rays and a nuclear bomb's wrath, but can nuclear fusion

be replicated on a large (and safe) scale soon enough to power earth Hot fusion, supported

here in a 1999 article, has proven to be much trickier to tackle than its cousin, fission. It

eventually promises to be more eco-friendly than nuclear-waste-generating fission, but even

the ambitious ITER thermonuclear fusion reactor project, which is a joint venture among the

European Union, India, Japan, China, Russia, South Korea and the U.S., has yet to get off the


Sea movement

Tidal power, compliments of the moon's

gravitational pull, has been slow going so far.

Early installations dating back to the 1960s

created massive barrages that, like dams, block a

good deal of water – and wildlife. More recently,

underwater turbines have been dipped into

waters around the world in hopes of replicating

the success of wind power. So far, it's had some

drawbacks, including environmental concern

about marine life safety and the failure of a big

batch of blades in the Roosevelt Tidal Energy Project's installation (which have since been

replaced). Wave power has also been tossed around as a "green" way to harness the oceans'

power. A few floating installations have been riding the waves – some buoy-like others more

serpentine – but this concept will need some large-scale champions if it's going to avoid the fate

of other novel alt-energy ideas that are already dead in the water.




Nonprofit Llc.

4400 Nyíregyháza, Sóstói str.

31/B, building ’A’., III/345.



ext.: 2816


Edited by:

Valeria Szabo

International Project Manager

Gabor Vamosi

Managing Director


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