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NS-284 - Use of energy willow for heat generation in the Republic of Moldova

Republic of Moldova

NAMA Seeking Support for Implementation

  • A Overview
    • A.1Party
      A.2Title of Mitigation Action
      A.3Description of mitigation action

      This NAMA considers the potential for using willow biomass as input fuel for heating residential and non-residential buildings in the Republic of Moldova. Currently, more than 82% of Moldova’s final energy consumption is met by imported sources of energy. As such, the development of local energy willow projects could positively contribute to the country’s energy security. Furthermore, because willow biomass would displace carbon-intensive fuels currently used for heating, it would also contribute to improving Moldova’s emissions profile. Both of these outcomes are strongly aligned with Moldova’s strategic policies concerning the energy and environmental sectors.  This NAMA aims to support the cultivation of energy willow over 20,000 ha across Moldova, starting with a 62.64 ha pilot project in Taraclia. It is expected that willow biomass will be used for decentralised heating by both households and non-residential institutions like hospitals and schools, avoiding between 186 and 295 ktCO2e of annual emissions from fossil fuels used for heating, and reducing the yearly demand for fossil fuels by 3.55%.

      The energy willow is a dicotyledonous woody plant, which grows extremely fast – up to 3.5 cm per day. One of the main advantages of energy crops over other agricultural crops is their ability to grow on damaged or sloping land, where other crops would never grow. It has high productivity, absorb a lot of nutrients, and can thus degrade the quality of soil. The energy resulting from a 100 ha plantation can heat up about 35 thousand m3 of living space, i.e. more than 7 thousand flats. The calorific vale of pellets or briquettes produced from energy willow (4,900 kCal) is higher than that of beech or oak, and is comparable to that of coal and natural gas.

      To date, there are only a few energy willow plantations in Moldova, totalling an area of up to 50 ha. There is, however, great international experience with growing and processing such biomass (e.g. Sweden, Hungary, and Romania). This, together with the know-how accumulated by existing local entrepreneurs, provides a good starting point for implementing such projects on a wider scale in Moldova.



      A.6Type of action

      A.7Greenhouse gases covered by the action

  • B National Implementing Entity
    • B.1.0Name
      B.1.1Contact Person 1
      B.1.5Contact Person 2
      B.1.9Contact Person 3
      Add Additional Entity
  • C Expected timeframe for the implementation of the mitigation action
    • C.1Number of years for completion
      C.2Expected start year of implementation
  • D Currency
    • D.1Used Currency
      Conversion to USD: 1
  • E Cost
    • E.1.1Estimated full cost of implementation
      Conversion to USD: 93,764,554
      E.1.2Comments on full cost of implementation
      Based on the analysis carried out for this NAMA, the specific average investment in pellets production from willow grown on agricultural land is 1.35 €/tone of pellets (calculated for the entire project lifetime of 25 years). Total investment required for this NAMA implementation amounts to 72.48 million, of which 65 million is donor contribution and 7.22 million is beneficiary equity. The remaining funds are aimed to support the NAMA Implementation Unit operations, of which 0.04 million are national budget co-financing and 0.22 million are provided as technical assistance. 
      E.2.1Estimated incremental cost of implementation
      Conversion to USD: 0
      E.2.2Comments on estimated incremental cost of implementation
  • F Support required for the implementation the mitigation action
    • F.1.1Amount of Financial support
      Conversion to USD: 84,359,638
      F.1.2Type of required Financial support

      F.1.3Comments on Financial support
      The preliminary total requirement for international financing is 65.21 million. Of this, 50.55 million is in the form of loan and 14.66 million is in the form of grant. This reflects the entirety of donor support needed to (i) implement the NAMA projects on 20,000 ha in Moldova, and (ii) cover NAMA Implementation Unit management costs. 
      F.2.1Amount of Technological support
      F.2.2Comments on Technological support
      Technology Support is needed to purchase equipment for pellet plants. Seeding and harvesting of willow will be done by contracting machinery to qualified enterprises
      F.3.1Amount of capacity building support
      Conversion to USD: 284,605
      F.3.2Type of required capacity building support

      F.3.3Comments on Capacity Building support

           The Capacity Building Programme will offer a series of trainings and workshops for the beneficiaries identified in the Site identification and Planning stages, and for the staff of the NAMA Implementation Unit, the Energy Efficiency Agency, research institutions and local public authorities. Training sessions will be tailored to the specific requirements of the audience (e.g. project developers vs. public authorities etc.), but on aggregate will cover the following aspects:

      •             Technical, including necessary equipment, available suppliers, installation procedures, pellet storage requirements, and land productivity;

      •             Economic and financial, including capital costs, available financial resources and their costs, cash flows, pay-back period;

      •             Operational, including asset depreciation, operation and maintenance costs;  and

      •             MRV, which are highly specialised and can baffle even domain experts. 
  • G Estimated emission reductions
    • G.1Amount
      G.3Additional imformation (e.g. if available, information on the methodological approach followed)

      It is expected that 641 tons of conventional coal (t.c.c.) will be replaced by pellets for heating purposes every two years under the pilot project.  This would mean 204,556 t.c.c. for this NAMA overall. The target is for 3.55% of yearly consumption of fossil fuels to be replaced with willow biomass.

      GHG emissions reductions for this NAMA are determined using the approach described in (Stolarski, M. J. y otros, 2015. Willow biomass energy generation efficiency and greenhouse gas reduction potential. Polish Journal of Environmental Studies, XXIV(6), pp. 2627-2640.), tailored to a two-year cycle for willow pellets production.  GHG emisssions are produced during the soil processing before planting, harvesting the biomass, transportation the biomass to the pellets production plants and converting the biomass into heat. Belowground biomass and litter remain in the field. The potential for GHG reduction from replacing fossil fuels with willow biomass as input for heat generation is a function of three variables. The first one is the product between the heat produced from biomass combustion and the GHG emitted from producing the same energy using fossil fuels. The second variable is the amount of CO2e sequestered in soil, and the third relates to emissions from willow biomass production. The estimation of the amount of carbon sequestered in soil and belowground vegetation were based on methodological approach used in two CDM Afforestation/Reforestation projects -Moldova Soil Conservation Project and Moldova Community Forestry Development Project. 

      Two baseline emissions reduction scenarios are considered. The first baseline scenario (BLS1) assumes that willow pellets will replace fossil fuels proportionately to the shares by which these fuels are currently used to heat buildings in the commercial, administrative, social (schools, hospitals, and kindergartens) and household sectors. The second baseline scenario (BS2) assumes that the main buyers of pellets are those that currently use coal-fuelled boilers. GHG emissions reduction due to fossil fuel replacement are expected to approximate 4,642 GgCO2e and 7,364 GgCO2e in the first and second scenarios respectively. This corresponds to an annual average of 186 GgCO2e and 295 GgCO2e respectively. 

      On net, it is expected that NAMA implementation would lead to between 4.37 and 7.1 cumulative MtCO2e emissions reduction over 25 years. Most reductions would be achieved under BLS2, where all willow biomass replaces coal as input for the purpose of heat generation.

  • H Other indicators
    • H.1Other indicators of implementation

       Since the measurements of the GHG emissions in this NAMA will cover both the activities where emissions are emitted and where these are avoided, besides the sequestered carbon the MRV parameteres will include parameters related to energy crops planting and  harvesting, biomass transportation and pellets production.The electricity consumed for pellets production (in kWh/year) is used to calculate GHG emissions. The amount  of GHG emissions will be substracted from the amount of GHG removals generated by the willow plantations. Such indicator as fuel (in ton/year) used for soil processing, planting, harvesting, transportation of biomass will be used to calculate GHG emissions, which also will be substracted from the GHG removals generated by the willow plantations.    

      At the same time, avoided emissions from replacing the fossil fuels with biomass will be estimated based on the volume of sold pellets. This parameter (measured in tons) will measure the volume of fossil fuels displaced by energy willow pellets as input for fuel for heating. These calculations can then be used to derive the volume of emissions avoided due to the switch from fossil fuels to biomass. 


      The implementation evaluation and monitoring indicators of this NAMA are:

      - The surphaces of the areas planted with  willow

      - The amount of pellets sold

      - Electricity consumed for pellets production

      - Fuel used for planting, harvesting and transportation of energy willow, and for producing pellets

      - Amount of insecticides and fertilises used for willow growing

  • I Other relevant information
    • I.1Other relevant information including co-benefits for local sustainable development

      In addition to carbon sequestration, the NAMA will have an important impact on sustainable development in the Republic of Moldova by delivering tangible environmental, social and economic benefits to the population. Most important environmental benefits will be delivered due to the fact that the use of energy crops as an alternative fuel for heating will reduce the pressure on the existing forests and reduce the number of illegal logging for heating purposes. Moreover, this NAMA will contribute to climate change mitigation by supporting the use of climate-friendly fuel for generating decentralised thermal energy at small and medium scale.   It is expected that under the pilot project 641 tons of conventional coal (t.c.c.) will be replaced by pellets for heating purposes every two years.  This would mean 204,556 tons for NAMA overall. The target is for 3.55% of yearly consumption of fossil fuels to be replaced with willow biomass.

      The use of energy willow as an additional source of thermal energy will reduce the country's import dependence. 

      Socio-economic benefits include an increase of formal employment opportunities for local people in planting and harvesting energy crops, and in the production of wood pellets as well as an improved access to heating services. Energy willow as input fuel for heating is cheaper than natural gas. Moreover, this NAMA will make important contributions to achieve a number of  Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the new Agenda 2030 for sustainable development that was adopted by the United Nations (UN) in September 2015
  • J Relevant National Policies strategies, plans and programmes and/or other mitigation action
    • J.1Relevant National Policies

      In 2010, the Republic of Moldova joined the Copenhagen Accord and submitted an emission reduction target to the UNFCCC Secretariat.

      The Environmental Strategy for 2014-2023 and the action plan for its implementation were approved in 2014. The Strategy sets out both a national and sector-specific targets for GHG emissions reduction by 2020 and relative to the BAU scenario. In particular, the national target is  20%; for the energy sector –  25%. The Strategy provides that the energy sector objective shall be achieved through an improved efficiency of energy generation, supply and consumption, alongside with the use of renewable energy resourses.

      The Moldova’s Energy Strategy until 2030, which aims to increase the use of energy produced from renewable sources – as share of total internal gross consumption – to 20% by 2020. The role of biomass for thermal energy production is key in achieving this objective.  

      The Low Emission Development Strategy (LEDS) of the Republic of Moldova until 2030 and the Action Plan for its implementation, GD no. 1470 from 30.12.2016. The overall target will be achieved through unconditional (and conditional) emissions reduction targets for seven sectors. In particular, by 2030 and relative to 1990, the emissions reduction target for the energy sector is of 74% (82%) and for the buildings sector – 77% (80%).

      Other important documents with NAMA reference are: The Law on promoting the use of energy from renewable sources (2016); National Action Plan for Renewable Energy 2013-2020; the Strategy for sustainable development of national forestry sector; the Law on improvement of degraded land through afforestation; the Moldova Climate Change Adaptation Strategy until 2020.

      J.2Link to other NAMAs
  • K Attachments
  • L Support received
    • L.1Outside the Registry
      L.2Within the Registry
      Support providedSupportTypeAmountCommentDate
      No records to display.