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 approximately 200 inhabitants and the citizens are already interested in entering the energy market. Their efforts in green transition have led to several awards. The village has an impressive track record and has been appointed as a major success-story by the Danish 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 success has been achieved through 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 perform fundraising, get money and thus fuel the project.

The first data-gathering challenges are to analyse the citizens buildings connected to the district heating, and calculate its thermal characteristics. With this knowledge we are able to understand each buildings range of energy flexibility. Hence forecasting models are used to optimize energy consumption, based on which a business case van be constructed. 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 insights and business cases, the university of Southern Denmark will support the process.

Second challenge 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... The typical drivers that often are identified as main drivers for empowering citizens and not perceived as the most important for the actual transition in the village. Actually, the business case is modest. Other trigger points are to be identified as relevant. They are to be mapped and deployed to develop an EMPOWER methodology, together with the other pilots and findings in the EMPOWER project.

Finally, there is the challenge to find necessary funding for the main equipment in the project: the monitoring equipment and the heat-pump. This is the only pilot in the EMPOWER project that has not been assigned with a budget for equipment. However the municipality of Middelfart is able to acquire measurement meters etc.. To raise the budget needed to realise the project, the municipality is testing a self-made crowdfunding platform based upon co-creation with the citizens. 

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