Rēzekne, Daugavpils plan switch from gas to woodchip heating

In order to reduce gas use for heating, municipalities are increasingly thinking about switching to local fuels such as woodchips. Latgale currently plans to raise funding from the European Cohesion Fund in Daugavpils and Rēzekne to build new chip boiler houses, Latvian Radio reported May 5.

Gas was used as a fuel in Daugavpils city until the end of last year, but in January this year, a new chip boiler house with a capacity of 36 megawatts started work, which allowed the city to reduce the cost of heat from €150 per megawatt-hour to €94.

In order to further reduce the need for natural gas, Daugavpils' heating operator plan to build another chip boiler house with a capacity of approximately 20 megawatts, said a representative of Daugavpils heating Aleksandrs Karpenko. The first procurement has now been announced. The new boiler house in Daugavpils must start producing thermal energy by the end of next year.

The building of a chip boiler house is also thought of in Rēzekne, which currently has a heating tariff of EUR 198 per megawatt-hour.

“In the north [of Rēzekne], there is a chip boiler house built, there is a granular boiler house in the Vipinga [neighborhood], the building of a chip boiler house is currently underway in the center [..] and it has to start working by the end of the year.” According to Rēzekne heating network board member Aldis Mežals, one chip boiler house is scheduled to be ready in December, but another is being developed. It is planned to take a loan of EUR five million.

“We will only use natural chips of our own, which will enable us to completely leave natural gas,” Mežals said.

Chip prices have doubled over the yea. However, according to Kristaps Klauss, executive director of the Latvian Wood Industry Federation,  further sharp price increases are not foreseen.

Klauss said that Latvia has enough woodchips even with growing demand. It is likely that the chip that was exported will be used to compensate for what Latvia can no longer import from Russia and Belarus.

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