The Vilafranca City Council will operate a new installation of thermal power generation by combustion of biomass, which will serve public buildings in the neighbourhood of La Girada. The Mayor of Vilafranca, Pere Regull , accompanied by Deputy Environment and Natural Areas, Valentí Junyent, visited the works of the district heat La Girada, which is planned to be put into operation at the beginning of this next year.

Mayor Regull has highlighted the benefits of this project at three levels: cost savings, environmental improvement and innovation: “the day that we can reuse the energy generated by the combustion of the leftover of pruning of the vines, will be an important thing at the economic and environmental level. The investment that is made now, we think that he will recover quickly”. The Mayor wanted to note also the collaboration of the public and private sectors in this project, framed in the program LIFE Vineyards for Heat, which subsidizes 50% of the cost through the European Union. The construction investment for the boiler and the energy distribution system to the different buildings is 480,000 €. Deputy Environment and Natural Areas highlighted the mainstreaming of this project launched in Vilafranca. “In the dynamics of energy savings that is working under the DUSI project, which is part of the Municipality of Vilafranca, is committed to innovation, leveraging the uniqueness of an element that is so characteristic of the Penedès as the vineyard”. Valentí Junyent explains that the Barcelona Provincial Council accompanies the municipality in the process of implementing an innovative project, “that can be exported to other places.”

Vilafranca City Council defends the viability of the project Vineyards for Heat in order to exploit the biomass from the vine shoots to generate thermal energy, trying these prunings as a resource and not as a residue. The district heat of La Girada will serve for air conditioning and hot water to buildings of the Historical Archive, nursery El Parquet, Dolors Piera School and the future Institute of La Girada from this coming 2016, at a first stage. The installation for the heat energy distribution is now finished. It is expected to project an expansion of this service to other nearby public equipments, as the community health center Ricard Fortuny.

The Environment Councilman of the City of Vilafranca, Josep M. Martí, explained that the mainstreaming project is completed with the involvement of various actors, such as cooperative Nou Verd which is responsible for supplying the material for combustion, cooperative Covides that provides the vineyards for this supply of material through the associated farmers and the cluster Innovi, with representatives from institutions and companies in the region involved in this project that  will soon expand the European program DUSI – Urban Development  Sustainable Integrated, which at the end of February  have to issue the approval to promote new measures of energy saving and use of biomass in other equipments such as the municipal sports facilities.