The overall efficiency of the plant was about 60% (produced/delivered energy ratio), due to losses in the old and poorly functioning distribution network. Collection rates for heating services were low; the major issue was the cost of heavy fuel oil used for heating. The annual losses of the district heating plant owned by Municipality were around 0.9 million EUR.
Municipality of Gradiska used public-private-partnership (PPP) model for financing the reconstruction and modernization of the heating plant. The Institute of Ecology and Energy (IEE) Ltd. A private company from Banja Luka took over the complete management of the plant assets for a period of 15 years. According to the provisions of the Concession agreement, the Municipality of Gradiska is entitled to receive 15% of annual profit.
The Investment in reconstructing district heating system and the switch to biomass, included the replacement of boilers that used heavy fuel oil, with two boilers using biomass. The plant has a total installed capacity of 12MW, an annual production of 18 GWh of heat energy, used for heating of approximately 120,000 m2 of residential and office space. The Heating plant consumes around 8,500 tons of wood chips annually. The total investment was 2.5 million EUR.
The project was coordinated by the investor, and carried out by a consortium of local companies, led by Elnos from Banja Luka. EMPES Banja Luka designed the technical solution and produced the firebox system, ESCO CONTROL PROJECT Belgrade worked on automation control system, TEHNOMETAL Doboj worked on the storage system, transport and automatic usage of fuel, and SAMOTER Banja Luka, that installed chamotte lining of the system.
The plant was put into operation on 1 January 2014 and was officially opened in April 2014. New management of the district heating plant announced the reconstruction of the entire district heating network, after the termination of the heating season.
Stages of development of biomass DH plant in Gradiska:
The investor announced the next phase in the project development, with introduction of the cogeneration – production of heat and electricity from biomass, in order to improve utilization of existing capacities.