About the Project

The LECo project shall respond on the needs of remote communes and settlements for a sustainable energy supply. The goal is to combine new innovative technologies with locally available natural resources, and to raise awareness of energy efficiency and possibilities to use the renewable energy. The approach is based on the model of local cycle economy. In the project, Local Energy Communities (LECo) will be formed, which will create synergetic effects to the local economy and social coherence. 

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The project will bring together the combined experience, knowledge and expertise of the project partners and provide conditions for creation of energy self-sufficient Local Energy Communities (LECo). The central European “Energy Village” concept will be adapted for the NPA / project partner regions (Finland, Sweden, Norway, and Ireland). Existing cases of Energy Villages inside and outside the NPA area will be analyzed in form of documented cases and will deliver guidance about success factors and pitfalls for Energy Villages.

LECo Project Aims
- To assist villages and communities to become self-sufficient in energy supply
- To deliver a set of locally adapted concepts to Community based energy solution in remote areas
- To promote transnational learning opportunities, knowledge exchange and networking in the sector Project Main Outputs



Centria, Finland

Centria University of Applied Sciences is a multidisciplinary, dynamic and international higher education institution located in Western Finland. Centria has three campuses - Kokkola, Ylivieska and Pietarsaari - located on the Ostrobothnian plain. Centria’s R&D has been identified as one of the institution’s strengths, and its success has been recognised on the national scale. Centria’s strength is the unusually close links to the local working life. The local business and working life have been funding about one quarter of the research and development activities.

Centria is Lead Partner of LECo Project. Annually Centria participates in more than 100 separate R&D-projects (including several EU projects) either as lead partner or as a partner. The annual volume of R&D works has been around 6-7 ME. Centria has exchange agreements over 100 partner institutions around the world. One of Centria's three main focus areas is "Chemical Engineering and Bioeconomy". The specific interest and expertise of Centria's Chemistry and bioeconomy group is in circular economy. The focus is in recycling and reuse of industrial side streams; material chemistry and energy efficiency as well as fostering the use of renewable energy. Centria also provides energy efficiency services and energy advice for consumers. Previous and on going projects in the field of energy are: HighBio I (2008 – 2011), Interreg Nord Forest Power (2009 -2012), Botnia Atlantica HighBio II (2011 – 2013), Interreg Nord Forest Refine (2012 – 2014), Botnia Atlantica Bioraff Botnia (2015 – 2018), Botnia Atlantica Arctic Energy (2016 – 2018), ERDF Best practices and tools for energy storaging and usage optimization (Evakot) (2018-2019).


The Western Development Commission, Ireland

The Western Development Commission (WDC) is an independent state agency that is concerned with promoting the social and economic development in the Western Region (Donegal, Leitrim, Sligo, Mayo, Roscommon, Galway and Clare).

In promoting economic development, a major policy area of the WDC is energy infrastructure, particularly renewable energy. The WDC is working to ensure that the regions significant natural resources are used sustainably by renewable energy enterprises, providing jobs and bringing investment, as well as providing competitive local energy sources and keeping energy spending within our region and our country.

Since 2008, the WDC has been awarded European Union funding to develop a partnership to stimulate growth in the renewable biomass sector. We developed, with partners unique and innovative programmes that have made a huge difference to the region. These projects included the €1.77m GREBE (http://grebeproject.eu/) focussing on development of renewable energy business opportunities, and €1.95m Creative Momentum project, and in the past were lead partners on the NPP funded BioPAD and RASLRES projects. The WDC are also partners in the €1.9m FREED Project which is focussed supporting energy innovation.

The WDC are partners in other EU projects in the bioenergy sector including INTERREG NWE €5.34m RE-DIRECT (2016 – 2019) and FP7 ROKWOOD project (2012 –2015). The WDC will is responsible for Work Package 1 and this will involve designing a Business Development Model that will help to address the challenges that communities face when implementing a renewable energy project; this work package will also develop an Online Training Forum that will promote and disseminate all of the key outputs from each work package.


Luleå University of Technology

Luleå University of Technology is experiencing strong growth with world-leading competence in several areas of research. Our research is conducted in close cooperation with companies such as Bosch, Ericsson, Scania, LKAB, SKF and leading international universities. Luleå University of Technology has a total turnover of SEK 1.6 billion per year. We currently have 1,600 employees and 15,000 students.

The research in the subject of Energy Engineering is divided into the areas of 1) Thermochemical conversion processes, 2) Energy efficiency / energy system analysis, 3) CO2 separation / -capture and storage (CCS). The research in the subject of Electric Power Engineering is focused on 1) Power quality in distribution grid, 2) Integration of renewable electricity.

The researchers in the LECo-project are Robert Fischer (PhD-student), working with energy systems, policies and optimization; Mikael Risberg, working with CFD-simulations and building climate, and Erik Elfgren, working with energy system optimization.


UiT The Arctic University of Norway

UiT The Arctic University of Norway is a medium-sized research university that contributes to knowledge-based development at the regional, national and international level. UiT is the third largest in Norway and the northernmost university of the world. Its location on the edge of the Arctic implies a mission. The Arctic is of increasing global importance. Climate change, the exploitation of Arctic resources and environmental threats are topics of great public concern, and which the University of Tromsø takes special interest in. At UiT The Arctic University of Norway you can explore global issues from a close-up perspective.

In 2017, UiT established the Arctic Centre for Sustainable Energy (ARC). This is an interdisciplinary centre focusing on Arctic challenges and conditions within renewable energy and greenhouse gas management. The centre will combine expertise in physics, humanities, chemistry, social sciences, applied mathematics, marine biology, computer science, and electrical engineering. The initiative will permeate the university in its entirety and will strengthen existing research activities at UiT within the scope of the centre.

This year UiT is celebrating 50 years as a university.


Renewable Energies Agency (AEE), Germany

The German Renewable Energies Agency (AEE) provides advocacy for a swift and complete transition to a sustainable energy supply. It is our mission to strengthen the public support for renewable energies in the power, heat and transport sectors. Therefore we communicate the advantages and opportunities of renewables while debunking myths and misconceptions about them.

The Renewable Energies Agency is supported by companies and associations from the renewable energy industries. We work throughout Germany on a cross-party and cross-society basis. Several of the communication projects are funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conversation and Nuclear Safety as well as by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture. This projects inform different target groups on energy policy, technical possibilities and business models. This includes an Internet database showing the status quo of the energy transition in each of Germany’s 16 federal states along with the latest facts and figures or hands-on knowledge for local policy-makers engaged in renewable energy projects with monthly best practice examples, conferences and an internet knowledge base. A comprehensive information platform with regular updates on all issues relevant to renewable energies in Germany, that is also available in English: www.renewables-in-germany.com

The AEE is a founding member of the IRENA Coalition for Action to Bolster Public Support for Renewable Energies and has a well established network with several European institutions and NGOs as well as overseas partners.


Jokkmokk Municipality, Sweden

Jokkmokk municipality is one of the Northern communities facing the challenge of increasing energy costs and risks associated with climate change and depopulation. The municipality is actively striving for responding to these challenges by implementing sustainable management of community water assets, waste heat use and innovative renewable energy solutions. Already now, Jokkmokk is a centre of climate-friendly energy production (11 hydropower station, producing 12.5 TWh/year) and even a centre of energy related vocational education in cooperation with energy business. The municipality is a Covenant of Mayor signatory and member of the Swedish Eco-Municipalities.

Within the Interreg IVA project NNCC and the IEE SEAP-Plus project, Jokkmokk created interlinkages with municipalities in all over the Northern region (Norway, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and beyond). Jokkmokk municipality coached 10 communities in Sweden and Latvia in developing Sustainable Energy Action Plans according to the Covenant of Mayors.

European experience
Jokkmokk municipality is highly experienced in participating in and coordinating national and EU co-financed projects. Jokkmokk municipality participated in the IEE funded project SEAP-Plus and were lead partner for the Interreg IVA Nord project Northern Network on Climate Change. Jokkmokk worked in further projects related to energy and climate, e.g.: Rural Development Programme (Landsbygdsprogrammet) and Swedish Energy Agency programme Strategic work with Energy Efficiency in Municipalities. 

Údarás na Gaeltachta, Ireland

Údarás na Gaeltachta is the regional authority responsible for the economic, social and cultural development of the Gaeltacht (Irish speaking regions in Ireland). Údarás na Gaeltachta’s objective is to ensure that the Irish language remains the main communal language of the Gaeltacht regions. We endeavour to achieve that objective by funding and fostering a wide range of enterprise development and job creation initiatives and by supporting strategic, cultural and community based projects and activities. We support community co-operatives and have a broad development brief and a property portfolio which comprises large and small businesses.

We have a partnership with the SEAI (Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland) and are involved in a number of renewable energy initiatives including the Better Energy Communities and Sustainable Energy Communities. We are currently transforming one of our business parks into a Green Business Park and are planning a new low-carbon innovation park.

Údarás has been involved in a number of INTERREG projects, the most recent being ECOLAND, MITKE, ANCORIM and the GREAT (Growing Renewable Energy Applications) Project of which we were Lead Partner. The GREAT project aims were to encourage communities and small to medium size enterprises to develop technological solutions for Smart Grid, Renewable Energy and Distributive Generation. Údarás are delighted to be involved in the LECo project and believe that the project objectives will contribute to achieving self-sufficient rural communities with a sustainable energy supply using innovative technologies and locally available natural resources.


Lohtaja Energy Co-operative, Finland

The co-operative of Lohtaja was founded in year 2001 and its aim is to collect mostly stem wood from the forests of it’s 40 members, chip it, run an energy plant and supply energy for few buildings near the energy plant. The co-operative´s aim for the future is to expand its activities either to other nearby villages or to other renewable energy resources. The co-operative is also member of the LECo-project.

The co-operative owns one 300 kW heating plant manufactured by Tulostekniikka Oy. The boiler of the plant is Thermia Bio, which uses wood chips as a fuel, about 1400 loose m3 of wood chips annually. The plant was completed in 2002 and the investment cost 75 000 eur. 2004 a backup system of 32 000 eur running with light fuel oil was added to the plant. The troubles in the heating plant are treated with stand-by duty. Four board members get a message alarm to their mobile phones and duty person(s) solve the problem immediately. The co-operative does not have any regular monthly employees.

All the wood chips are bought from the members of the co-operative. Annually about 10/40 members sell the wood to the co-operative and they get paid by the energy content of the wood material, depending on quality and moisture content. One of the members is an entrepreneur, who takes care of chipping and transportation and is responsible for the supply of the wood chips.