Bioenergy Villages (BioVill) – Increasing the Market Uptake of Sustainable Bioenergy

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH

Contact:  Jens Adler                                       E-Mail:,
Phone: +49 30 72614-460


Address: Reichpietschufer 20, 10785 Berlin
Phone: +49 30 72614-460 , Fax: +49 30 7261422-20

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WHERE: Croatia, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia, Germany, Austria.                                                                                                                          WHEN:  March 2016 – February 2019                                                                   WASTE MANAGEMENT HIERARCHY: Multiple – separate collection, recycling, other recovery                                                                                                TYPE OF INSTRUMENT: Awareness/Informational, Voluntary                       WASTE STREAMS: Agricultural waste, Agro-industrial waste

About: BioVill is a three years project supported by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme.
The overall objective of the BioVill project is to support the development of regional bioenergy concepts and the establishment of „Bioenergy Villages” in Croatia, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia.

This will be achieved by identifying suitable biomass value chains according to local and regional needs and transferring existing experiences in Austria, Germany and other European countries to the South-Eastern European partners. Thereby the market uptake of domestic bioenergy supply chains will be increased and the role of locally produced biomass as a main source of energy supply and added value for the local and regional economy will be strengthened.


The objective of the BioVill project is to transfer and adapt experiences gained in countries where bioenergy villages already exists (Germany and Austria) to countries with less examples in this sector (Slovenia, Serbia, Croatia, Macedonia and Romania). The project fosters the development of the bioenergy sector in selected target countries by strengthening the role of locally produced biomass as a main contributor for energy supply on local level, considering opportunities of market uptake or expansion for local farmers, wood producers or SMEs.


The project started in March 2016 and is implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH in collaboration with 8 partners from the BioVill target partner countries Croatia, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia, as well as from Germany and Austria.

With a budget of around 1.99 Mio EUR, core activities of the BioVill project include national and local framework analyses, technological and economic assessments of local bioenergy value chains, development of the institutional set-up and energy management concepts for the potential Bioenergy villages as well as capacity building on financing schemes and business models.


Major results of the BioVill project:
• the initiation of five bioenergy villages in the target partner countries up to the investment stage for physical infrastructure (Croatia, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia)
• the raise of public acceptance and awareness of a sustainable bioenergy production and its commercial opportunities as well as increased capacities of users and key actors in business and legislation to sustainably manage bioenergy villages and to enact national and EU legislation.
• Altogether, the BioVill project will contribute to the expansion and sustainability of the bioenergy markets in the European Union.

Urban metabolism relevance

A „bioenergy village” is a village, municipality, settlement or community or a part of it which produces and uses most of its energy demand from local biomass sources, e.g. agriculture, forestry and waste as well as from other renewable energies. To ensure a sufficient heat and power supply bioenergy villages usually use several technologies of different sizes, such as:
– woodchip boilers,
– pellet stoves,
– logwood boilers,
– biogas plants, combined heat and power plants using woodchips or biogas etc. To distribute the heat to the consumers most of the households of the village are connected to a small district heating grid.

Nowadays the planning and installation of renewable energy technologies is often accompanied with energy efficiency measures in the villages.

Besides supporting an increased use of renewable energies and its positive effects on climate and environmental protection, a central objective of a bioenergy village is to strengthen the local and regional economy, as the expenses for energy remain in the region.


The project enables the know-how transfer and international cooperation for bioenergy development. This project is good practice regarding public acceptance of bioenergy projects and capacity building of relevant stakeholders and key actors. Different types of biomass sources and renewable energies can be applied in different pathways in bioenergy villages.

The assessment of the technical solutions typically follows technical, economic and environmental metrics. Three main operating models are applied (the citizen model, ESCO model and a combination of both).

Engaged participatory processes

Involved project partners are:

● GIZ – Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, Germany
● WIP – Wirtschaft und Infrastruktur GmbH & CO Planungs KG, Germany
● KEA – Klimaschutz und Energieagentur Baden-Württemberg GmbH, Germany
● AEA – Austrian Energy Agency, Austria
● REGEA –Regional Energy Agency of North-West Croatia, Croatia
●SDEWES-Skopje – International Centre for Sustainable Development of Energy, Water and
Environment Systems Zagreb – Office Skopje, Macedonia
● GEA – Green Energy Agency, Romania
● SKGO – Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities, Serbia
● GIS – Slovenian Forestry Institute, Slovenia

As a key factor of success the BioVill project uses a multi stakeholder approach fostering the involvement and active participation of the citizens and all relevant stakeholders in the planning and implementation process.

Sustainability and replicability

If the policy framework is taken into consideration, bioenergy village can be successfully implemented in any European region.

Initiatives like Jühnde in Germany, Güssing in Austria and Samsø in Denmark are well-known bioenergy villages that initiated and contributed to this development. Today, several hundred bioenergy villages exist in Europe.

Structures have to be established that allow a broad citizen participation process and the integration of all relevant stakeholders and decision makers. When Energy Conservation Measures (ECMs) bundles are modelled, the results have to be revised with regard to the synergetic effects between ECMs and energy supply measures. High energy savings from measures in the buildings decrease the energy demand and reduce the viability of e.g. a district heating system.

Success Factors

The involvement and participation of a broad range of local stakeholders and consumers is crucial for the success of a bioenergy village. Ideally, biomass suppliers and energy consumers are shared owners of the necessary installations. The concept to set-up bioenergy villages was developed by concerned citizens’ movements aiming at a more environmentally friendly energy sector.


Waste, Resources, Innovation.

Key Challenges

• Many South East European countries have high biomass potentials, but they are often not or only inefficiently used for local energy supply and regional economic development.
• The main challenge during the implementation of the whole project was to motivate each social actor (residents, farmers, foresters, and municipal authorities) to reach the desired energy transition. The implementation of the project was decisive for the municipality.




For more information, please check the deliverable, or contact the implementing body.

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