Region of Western Macedonia (Greece)

  • The principal role of Region of Western Macedonia as a development institution is clearly illustrated with the planning of the 4rd Regional Operational Programme of Western Macedonia. The main objective of the programme is to contribute to the creation of a dynamic region that will utilize the natural reserves but also the human potential of its citizens. Western Macedonia aims at strengthening its position in the wide area of Western Balkans, in order to develop a competitive economic environment with high levels of productivity that would safeguard new opportunities of employment.

The region of Western Macedonia (RWM), the energy core of Greece, with its energy reserves could ensure complete energy independence for centuries. The strengths that the exploitation of lignite offered until today to the RWM and the whole country are unquestionable, but at the same serious economic and environmental problems occurred.

The RWM is not an advanced partner for the development of bio-energy and the exploitation of forest biomass for energy purposes, and the one in need of the most important and rapid drastic change to move towards a low carbon economy and the introduction of small-scale biomass plants.
The Region has large experience in the implementation of similar actions together with the scientific organizations exist in the area, the University of Western Macedonia, the Technical Education Institute and the Institute of Solid Fuels and Technological Applications.

Pilot actions took place lately with the co-firing of lignite together with biomass in order to examine the energy yield, the quality of combustion and the content of exhausted gases. The idea is to make broad use of biomass resources as subsequent fuel to the lignite for the reduction of green house emissions and the meet the national targets for the reduction of green house gases.

Many relevant project have been launched lately and some of them are still in operation like, the project BIO-EN-AREA for the development of a Biomass Action Plan in the Region, the project BIOCLUS (fp7) for the initiation of a regional biomass cluster among the University the Institute of Solid Fuels, the regional authority and the wood processing industry Ziogas S.A. In addition, the project Forest Model (Med) has as a purpose the sustainable management of forest resources. In addition the project TREC, a sub-project of SMART+ (Interreg IVC) foreseen the creation of interregional energy cluster.

On the other hand the regional stakeholders like the Institute of Solid Fuels have implemented many projects with focus on biomass resources and the energy exploitation of them.
The Region of Western Macedonia would like to exploit the huge experience exist among the partnership of PROFORBIOMED project and drive initiatives toward the sustainable management of energy resources and the broader use of forest biomass for energy purposes.

WM is interested in particular in the implementation of pre-feasibility studies for small and medium scale biomass plants (pilot actions), the adequate recording of forest biomass potential in regional level, the examination of short rotation plantations for energy purposes and the active involvement of regional stakeholders in adequate supply-chain management of forest biomass in the Region but also to examine the concept of Smart Grids to the thermal and energy nets with the use of biomass.
Due to the importance of WM in the supply of the whole Greece with electricity from coal resources, and the very limited development of bio-energy in this country, PROFORBIOMED will have critical impacts at regional, but also national level.

Specifically for Greece the national objectives are the rate of attendance of renewable energy sources in the gross consumption of electric energy to rise from presently 11% to 20,1% up to 2010 and to 29% up to 2020.

Main expectations of WM are the sensitization and promotion of renewable energy usage to people, students, local authorities and entrepreneurs by organizing seminars, educational visits and publication of relevant material.

Being THE Region, the Prefecture of Western Macedonia will directly influence its policies for energy and learn a lot from the project to promote in particular pre-feasibility studies for small and medium scale biomass plants for co-generation purposes.

The region of Western Macedonia in its Operational Program 2007-2013 has included a provision of 1.000.000 € for actions concerning bio-energy, which will ensure the durability of the project’s results in the regional context.