Valmiera to significantly reduce gas dependency

To reduce natural gas dependency and ensure stable heating, Valmiera will build and develop a new woodchip boiler house. It will be able to produce up to 90% of the total thermal energy in Valmiera, along with the already existing boiler house, Latvian Radio reported on December 7.

Latvian Radio, together with the chief architect of Valmiera municipality, Zanda Lapsa, went to a place designated for the construction of the new boiler house. It will be between the television retransmission tower and Vidzeme Olympic Center.

“This area is also designed for technical building after the functional zoning, and it is also perfectly sufficient in terms of area to accommodate the designated boiler house. Looking at the wider development of this part of Valmiera, there will also be great benefits of being able to connect,” said Lapsa.

Currently, in this area, the production of thermal energy is provided by a gas boiler house.

Construction costs of the new woodchip thermal plant will be €3.9 million.

According to the project manager of the energy company “Adven Latvia”, Mārcis Smalkais, it also received financial support from the European Union. "The new boiler house will ensure that in the heating district, which currently uses full fossil energy resources to ensure the production of thermal energy, there will instead be chips that are renewable, local, and, accordingly, also in terms of price, the cheapest fuel. This means that it will also have an impact on the tariff. The new boiler house will ensure that the share of renewable energy in Valmiera reaches 90%," Smalkais said.

“Since Russia's invasion of Crimea in 2014, we made such a strategic decision that we must not depend solely on Russian gas. At the time, it was decided that we should build a boiler house that was heated with chips. Currently, 80% of the houses in the city are heated with chips. “But we are thinking about these 20% remaining to be able to switch to local fuels,” said Ričards Gailums, vice-president of Valmiera Municipality Council.

At the moment, however, construction costs have increased even several times, but Valmiera considers that action should be taken to reduce the dependency on imported fuel.

The City Council Vice-President Gailums is convinced that investments will pay off in the future: “If we look at the long term, the costs will certainly be paid off. The energy independence, the local resource, the chip that is available to us will make us stronger."

Active energy efficiency measures for buildings are also carried out by entrepreneurs, such as Valpro, Valmiera glass fiber, as well as Vidzeme hospital.

"If we look at the last 15 years, then energy consumption has fallen by about a third. It shows that residents are thinking very much about insulating houses. A total of 167 apartment houses have been connected to the heating in Valmiera, of which 90 have already been renovated," Gailums said.

At present, planning and preparations are underway for the new boiler house to start procurement procedures and construction as soon as possible. Heating from this heat source is expected to be provided in 2024.

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