The origins of the Holzenergie Rikon AG [Rikon Wood Energy Joint-Stock Company] community heating system sited on Kuhn Rikon AG land reads like a fairy tale:
"Once upon a time"… in 1996 a small local heating system was supplying the local community administration offices, parts of the school complex in Rikon and a private property with heating from a small woodchip heating system in the old people’s home Im Spiegel. Due to the need to overhaul this heating system as the result of age and air quality requirements, but also because of diverse building extensions in the school complex, this plant had to undergo mandatory adjustments. For various reasons the Zell town council awarded the operation of the community heating system in 2014 to a private investor, the newly established Holzenergie Rikon AG. Different interest groups (forestry owners, woodchip supplier, potential major heating purchasers) have come together to form a syndicate in this joint-stock company. Not only as a land and forestry owner, but also as a potential major heating purchaser, Kuhn Rikon played a significant role in this phase. It was the aim of the syndicate at the centre of the heating purchasers to operate an expanded local heating system with woodchip heating in Rikon. The intention was to strive for ecological, CO2-neutral heating production with natural woodchips from the surrounding forests produced in the local area.
After much research, planning applications, building permits and heating supply contracts, the time had come. In mid-October 2015, the ground-breaking ceremony took place for the construction of the new heating system stations in the grounds of Kuhn Rikon AG, which assigned the land under the building lease. Promptly and according to plan, the construction work took place on the building and the technical infrastructure. It was only with the laying of the heating pipes under the River Töss and under the railway lines that delays occurred. Despite everything, the community heating system was able to commence operations on time, ready for the 2016/2017 heating season, and supply the first heating purchasers with hot water from 1 September 2016. As well as the premises of the old local heating system, at this point our firm's large factory site was also being provided with heat.
Now we already have our first winter behind us and after some fine adjustments only to be expected on our, likewise new, internal heat distribution system, the heating in our various buildings is under control. Even if the current prices for fossil fuels would be more economic, we are convinced that, with our CO2-neutral solution, we are accepting our ecological responsibility, we are doing our bit to reduce CO2 output and at a single blow we are keeping the cantonal targets agreed up to and into the year 2020.
And as it is so nicely put at the end of the Grimm brothers' fairy tales: "And they all lived happily ever after" ... The Rikon local heating association has plans for expansion and future prospects and lives! As early as winter 2017, further remote heating pipelines will be laid in the ground and the second heating system boiler installed so that, from the 2017/2018 heating season, all residential properties belonging to Kuhn Rikon and further buildings in Rikon will be supplied with ecological heating. We are proud that, thanks to our active collaboration in a fabulous idea, we were able to help in the success of a visionary project – growth, processing, consumption by and in Rikon.
Some facts and figures