Authors:Zoltan Illes, Peter Szendro, and Janosne Unk
The existing effective domestic regional development framework requires analyses for increasingly wider areas (micro, meso and even macro regions) before operational – short-term – local developments to be prepared and implemented.
Such comprehensive complex studies or larger-term programmes may demonstrate the profitability of the given project and can complement it with combined utilization technologies; in the case of Himesháza several locally known renewable energy sources could facilitate geothermal heat, later electricity supply, e.g. local biomass (biogas-based) recovery technology (organic waste of the local pig farm) and, for example, the construction of a low-power “dwarf” hydroelectric power plant chain based on rich watercourses of the region (the “southern dwarves” in Hungary) and the connection of existing solar utility facilities to a modern “smart grid” system in the longer term.
Himesháza, located in southern Hungary in Baranya county, is developing; it has a detailed feasibility study of a thermal energy supply network and an energy supply development plan.
Based on the geothermal characteristics of Baranya county it would be reasonable to encourage the development of smaller-scale, decentralized heating systems for dynamic settlements. Several settlements in close proximity to Himesháza have already explored thermal wells. Power generation with a small scale, closed-loop system can be used in the project region for thermal water with an outflow temperature of 90 °C. The heating system may also be able to fulfill the needs of recreational, vacation-based or complex thermal spa facilities formerly planned in the region. Moreover, the system could also be capable of utilizing a larger spectrum of renewable energy through its combination with photovoltaic technology.
Due to the country's favorable agricultural characteristics, Hungary's biomass potential is higher than the European average. The utilization of organic waste from agricultural and farming sectors is highly recommended in Baranya county; biogas production seems to be the most suitable in the region of Himesháza too, broadening the utilization of renewable resources.
The realization of the current project could contribute to shifting the energy resource sector in a more modern, environmentally conscious direction.
The background for shorter-term plans and investment (carried out within the framework of operational programs) necessary for the optimal operation and maintenance of longer-term (25–50 years) energy development strategies is created by the analysis (at multiple scales) of complex regional characteristics and future potential, and the selection of optimal sites.