Business models in bioenergy villages

KEA compiled guideline on financing options, contracts, ownership models and business models for bioenergy villages

Business models in bioenergy villages


Bioenergy villages have been implemented in Germany and Austria very successfully. The existing and often applied components of the “toolkit” for bioenergy villages are described in the guideline on basis of a business model evaluation. The guideline can be downloaded from the project website www.biovill.eu. KEA, the Climate Protection and Energy Agency of Baden-Württemberg GmbH (Germany) elaborated the guideline that documents existing and advanced business models for the development of bioenergy villages with focus on the holistic solutions for energy efficient buildings. The objective of this document is to provide guidance and a toolkit for financing options, contractual issues or ownership models. Therefore, this framework comprises the implementation of energy conservation measures in the buildings as well as the implementation of renewable energy systems that produce power or heat in the bioenergy villages.

When Energy conservation measures bundles are modelled, the results have to be revised with regard to the synergetic effects between these energy conservation measures and energy supply measures. High energy savings from measures in the buildings decrease the energy demand and reduce the viability of e.g. a district heating system. Different types of biomass sources and renewable energies can be applied in different pathways in bioenergy villages. The assessment of the technical solutions typically follows technical, economic and environmental metrics.

The first chapters of the guideline are dedicated to a typical process of setting up a bioenergy village. Here, the relevance of social engagement of the initiators and working groups for successfully initiating and preparing bioenergy villages is stressed. Additionally, the necessity of cooperating with proficient partners, the active use of existing favorable local framework conditions and lessons learnt are integrated in these chapters. This information will create understanding for the following explanation of the key elements of bioenergy villages that have to be considered in each case. These components range from the involved stakeholders, the applied feedstocks and technologies, the legal structures and the economic assessment to the financing and the risk assessment. The key contents of the relevant contracts are also comprised.

Last but not least, three business models are described in detail in order to illustrate the concrete application of the described components of the business model and the outstanding experience that is available in Austria and Germany: the citizen model, the ESCO-model and a combination of both models. The selection of the legal entity for the citizen model depends on criteria such as the structure of organisation, the liability and other risk factors, the minimum capital and the decision making process. The shared ownership model can also be applied, when public or private building owners finance a share of the measures, e.g. the energy conservation measures in their buildings. Regarding the economic assessment of the project, a life cycle analysis is recommended that covers full costs over the life-cycle and discounts these costs according to the year when they occur. Since bioenergy villages comprise extensive bundles of technical measures, the financing of these investments is a crucial point of the concepts. Besides the planning of the biomass supply and the technical and economic calculation, also the financing concept, the potential operating and the ownership models, the legal structure and the risk assessment should already be elaborated within the preparatory.

This experience can be used for the initiation and preparation of more bioenergy villages in other European countries.

The guideline is available for download: http://biovill.eu/wp-project/uploads/2016/09/D5-1-Guideline-on-business-models-and-financing-options_fin.rev_.3_f.website170816-KEA.pdf


The BIOVILL project aims to transfer and adapt experiences gained in countries where bioenergy villages already exist (Germany and Austria) to countries with less examples in this sector (Slovenia, Serbia, Croatia, Macedonia and Romania). The project fosters the development of the bioenergy sector in selected target countries by strengthening the role of locally produced biomass as a main contributor for energy supply on local level, considering opportunities of market uptake or expansion for local farmers, wood producers or SMEs.
BIOVILL received funding from the Horizon 2020 European Union Research and Innovation Program under Grant Agreement No 691661.

Ursula Rubenbauer
KEA Klimaschutz- und Energieagentur Baden-Württemberg GmbH