Middelfart (DK)

Middelfart pilot – the Village of Foens 


The driving force, main actors, in the danish case are the citizens in the village of Foens. The village has approximently 200 inhabitants and the citizens are already interested in entering the energy market.  Their efforts in green transition have lead to several awards. The village has an impressive track record and has been appointed as a major success-story by the Dansish Ecological Council.

Their absolute main achievement has been the creation of their own district heating system, the newest and probably smallest in Denmark. It gathers world wide attention and attracts visitors from all over the world. The process in the succes has been a co-creating method with public authorities, private companies and research and education centres as partners. The model works with the citizens in a home-made “village-style”.

This way of working is the backbone for further development and mapping of the progress in the EMPOWER2.0 pilot. The main ambition of the pilot is to replace one of the district heating systems' wood-chip boiler by a 200 kW heat pump. The goals is also to use the heat pump when the electricity prices are low. This needs a great deal of effort, and knowledge in terms of 1. Insight in energy systems, focus on thermal characteristics, 2. Organisational competences, gathering the right people at the right time, 3. Ability to fund raise, get money and thereby fuel action. 

The first learning challenges are to analyse the citizens buildings, connected to the district heating, and calculate their houses thermal characteristics.  With this knowledge we are able to understand each buildings range of energy flexibilty, hence use forecasting models to optimize energy comsumption (and constructing a business case). Citizens actually also ask for each buildings potential to feed energy into the system with the use of thermal solar power for instance. To support development of these understandings, and business cases, the university of Southern Denmark (Project Partner 3) will support the process.

Second is the mapping, and understanding, of the process that actually has empowered the citizens achievements until now (making their own district heating system, retrofitting houses etc.). Looking at the typical drivers that often are seen as main drivers for empowering citizens, these are not seen as the most important for the actual transition in the village. Actually the business case is modest why other trigger points are relevant to map, and deploy, to develop the EMPOWER methodology with the other pilots and findings in EMPOWER.

Finally there is a challenge to find neccesary funding for the main equipment in the project (monitoring equipment and heatpump). It’s a fact this is the only pilot in the EMPOWER projekt that has not been assigned with a budget for equipment. However there is an effort to make minor budget changes from project partner 9, municipality of Middelfart, to acquire measurment meters etc.. To raise the sum of money to realise the project, the municipality is testing a self-made crowdfunding platform based upon co-creation with the citizens. As the process is fragile, due to lacking budget, change of Pilot may be neccesary for project partner 9, municipality of Middelfart.

Further information: Morten M. Westergaard, municipality of Middelfart, Denmark. Morten.Westergaard@Middelfart.dk