Trip to the South Tyrol to visit heat networks and learn about their management models

28 June 2024

Representatives from over 15 municipalities of the Catalan Pyrenees accompanied CTFC technicians on these visits

Last week, representatives of several municipalities in the Pyrenees participated in a trip organized by the Forestry Science and Technology Centre of Catalonia (CTFC) to South Tyrol. For four days, the group visited heating networks of different sizes, which provide energy to villages of 250 to 8,000 inhabitants in this mountainous Italian region. The aim of the trip was to learn about the different models of heat network installations and their management models, since the starting situation and energy needs of South Tyrol are very similar to those of the Pyrenees.

Through more than eight visits to different facilities, the group has been able to learn about different management models: public company of several municipalities, energy cooperative promoted by the municipality, municipally owned network with outsourced technical service, or even an energy cooperative promoted by forest owners. With the idea of covering all the possibilities, the group also visited a network that due to a bad initial design has had many problems in its management – the visit was intended to avoid this type of errors in the design of heat networks in the Pyrenees.

The group was received by the deputy director of the Agenzia Provinciale per lo Ambiento e la Tutela del Clima of the autonomous province of Bolzano – Alto Adige, to explain the policies implemented to promote the substitution of fossil fuels by renewable energies, such as forest biomass.

The Pyrenean elected officials were able to talk with the representatives of the municipalities where these heat networks are located to learn about the difficulties encountered in their implementation and the benefits obtained over 20 years of experience. At the same time, the debates originated within the Catalan group allowed the participants to share experiences and visions for the future.

Now, CTFC technicians are preparing informative documents on the energy possibilities with biomass and the thermal needs of each Pyrenean County, providing the information needed to elaborate regional strategies of heat networks.

Last modified: 27 June 2024