A biomass heating plant has replaced the 40-year-old oil-based system in the vicinity of Gjakova and is now generating clean, green energy around the clock. This is an innovation in the Balkans and a model for the region.
On the outskirts of Gjakova, a city of 40,000 inhabitants, the first biomass heating plant in the Balkans recently started producing heat and limited electricity supply for 2,000 households, public institutions and businesses.
The facility is high-tech for heating and energy. The unit, which began operating earlier this year, runs entirely on one of the region’s most abundant energy sources: residual biomass, in the form of biodegradable waste such as vine trimmings and wood waste.
The European Union and the municipality of Gjakova financed the factory in the amount of 15 million euros (approximately 15 million dollars). With this money, two heating boilers, which are essentially furnaces, and a combined heat and power steam turbine were purchased. The latter converts steam into electricity. Meanwhile, the Swiss Economic Cooperation is contributing 5 million euros for the replacement and renovation of the district heating network.
Heating homes, schools and hospitals
The system, which was three years in the making, will operate at full capacity this winter, providing 35% of the city with heat.