Føns Nærvarme (Føns Local Heating Plant), Denmark's smallest district heating plant has operated since 1 October 2015 and supplies 46 households with approx. 400 kW heat, resulting in a 280-tonne CO2 saving.

The village of Føns is very active in sustainable initiatives and 2012 saw the start of the process of finding a heating supply solution for Føns. The conclusion was that a local heating plant burning straw would be the best solution for the village. Due to various challenges with nature conservation areas, the local heating plant ultimately did not burn with straw but wood chips.

During the process of acquiring a collective heating supply in Føns, a great number of challenges arose and one of the major challenges was the need for a relatively large number of connections for the project to succeed. Inspired by Ballen and Onsbjerg both of which overcame the challenge of the required high number of connections by charging a small, symbolic connection fee, Føns managed to secure the necessary number of connections and backed by a municipal guarantee as collateral for costs of construction, Føns was able to realise Føns Local Heating Plant.

The 43 consumers who were connected to the local heating plant from the outset have a heating requirement of approx. 1055 MWh, corresponding to a peak performance of approx. 370 kW which allows room for further connections. Since then, three additional consumers have been connected and there is potential for more.

A greener municipality

It is quite rare that "non-professionals" take on such a project and this testifies to the very special spirit and burning desire for sustainability found in Føns. In  many ways, it is the process and the preceding tale of amazing Føns that is so unique. And this is the story materialised in a project where old polluting oil-fired boilers are scrapped in favour of a collective local heating plant.

The project is thus part of a thought, a wish, a vision of sustainable transition. The initial "spark" or hope was not focused on a specific technology but rather on an ambition to reduce the impact on climate and environment.

In addition to the local heating plant project, there have also been many other sustainable initiatives, such as: energy refurbishment projects, a car-pooling project, shared car, and more.

Positive Effects

By changing from oil-burning or electric heating to collective supply, Føns has achieved a saving of 280 tonnes of CO2 and scrapped 40 oil-fired boilers in the area. The conversion not only reduces greenhouse gases but also means annual savings for consumers and positive economics. Besides saving greenhouse gases and costs, the collective heating supply is also associated with less hassle for individual users and, thus, greater comfort.

The new aspect is that it is actually possible to achieve green transition in smaller villages. The technology is actually well-known, the spectacular aspect is the close collaboration which led to a project that few thought possible. A bumblebee story, which many outsiders doubted would succeed.

The future

The residents are not done with green transition. Intensive efforts are being made to find even better ways of operating the local heating plant. Currently, the option is being investigated of introducing heat pumps into the system which would be heated wastewater wells and other renewable sources.

We work with the resident to find support and collaborators to realise these improvements.