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Knezice Village

Energy-independent village

Kněžice is the first energy self-sufficient village in the production of heat and electricity within the Czech Republic.

Waste material is transformed into biogas and, combined with direct combustion of phytomass, forms a closed circle of energy that generates electricity for sale to the public and heat energy for local consumption of the town inhabitants.

The story behind

In the first half of the 20th century, villagers required only as much energy as was required on the place where they lived and worked. They had feed for animals, good food for themselves, wood for the stove and ash back into the nature. With composted animal and plant waste replenished they nutrients for fields. Horses and stock cattle gave them a cheap and easily renewable tensile strength, independent of oil or natural gas. This, in its general scope created self-sufficiency of the region and the country.

Today, of course, is different time, but we also want to have a warm home, good quality food and the beautiful, unspoiled nature and in addition we want to put everything in line with the current trend of sustainable development.


Idea that became a reality

Each year in fall and winter, when ash from domestic coal boilers fell on rotting piles of branches and grass, and when domestic cesspools often overflowed into surface waters, thoughts about all this raced through the minds of local residents of a small Czech village called Kněžnice, located at Městec Králové. Drainage systems for Kněžnice and its two nearby parts (total population of 508 at that time) would had been complicated and very costly. The locals came up with the idea of using waste, including biological waste, in a biogas-making device, which would substitute for sewage treatment as well as sewage system.

Bioenergy center

The project of the bioenergy center, which consists of a biogas plant with CHP (with an electrical output of 330 kW / thermal output of 405 kW), and the municipal’s heating plant (with two boilers of 800 and 400 kW), came into being. Since 2007, the technological unit costing CZK 138 million, supplies with heat over 90% of the village population, and produces more electricity than the village can use up, which enables it to sell leftover power back to the grid. In addition, the center, which is fully operated by the municipality, produces energetic pellets for family houses’ heating in the neighborhood. Cereal and flaxen straw, energetic sorreal stalks in large bundles, and small garbage are provided mainly by local farmers to the plant. Ash and the biogas station digitate are used for land fertilization.

The village has managed to get CZK 83.7 million from the European Development Fund, and CZK 11.1 million from the State Environmental Fund. The return on investment of the remaining CZK 43.2 million, which the village had to pay from its own sources, is estimated to be around 15 years (Whereas sewer system with a sewage treatment plant would come to about CZK 45 million, their tax policy has changed as well – today, the municipality may be a subject to VAT, thus is could reduce the price by another 19%).


"I would definitely recommend this system to other municipalities. Our project definitely affected our environment. Every year we save over ten thousand tons of CO2 emissions and it shows even while walking around the village", says the mayor of Kněžice village Mr. Milan Kazda. 

Communities for Green Energy

Kněžice is co-founding a Czech club of towns headed toward energetic self-sufficiency. The team of the project Communities for Green Energy, in collaboration with five towns and the Society for Rural Regeneration as the partner for this project, is also trying to establish the RURENER Club, whose name is derived from the European Network of rural communities for ENERgetic neutrality. Adjoined to the Society, the Club ought to unite rural communities and regions of the Czech Republic that focus on energy self- sufficiency, and social effects from local energetics, and, as well, ensure the exchange of experience, counseling, and cooperation.

A Czech village as an inspiration for world leaders


A parliamentary hearing, titled “Building political will to one hundred percent renewable energy”, was organized by the World Future Council and the Climate Services Center, and took place in the European Parliament in Brussels. The two-day meeting was attended by over 40 leaders from around the world. The meeting was attended by Maciej Nowicki (the formore Minister of Environment of Poland), Rainer Hinrichs – Rahlwes (EREC), Torsten Wöllert (ES), Stefan Schurig (WFC), and many others. Among the many guests was also a representative of the Czech Republic – Milan Kazda, the mayor of Kněžice, which is titled as the only self-sustaining community within the Czech Republic.

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