Irish Bioenergy Associations Study Tour to Denmark featured in the Irish Farmers Journal


In September GREBE Project Coordinator Pauline Leonard, participated in a Study Tour to Denmark with the Irish Bioenergy Association who are an Associated Partner in the GREBE project.  Other participants included representatives from a broad range of sectors including Irish biomass boiler manufacturers, Coillte, private forestry and farming interests, pellet producers, representatives from Údarás na Gaeltachta, and other government agencies focusing on building sustainable rural energy projects.

Donal Magnier from the Irish Farmers Journal was part of the group and wrote an article in the papers forestry section with details of the groups meeting with the State of Green, who outlined the vision of the Danish Government and renewable energy stakeholders, and details of the site visits undertaken by the group.  Donal also explored what Ireland can learn from the Danes Danes in renewable energy development.


Further information on this can be found on the Irish Farmers Journal website

Ireland rejects 125MW Maighne – Element Power’s 47-turbine plan in Kildare and Meath


Element Power has been refused permission to build its up to 125MW Maighne wind farm in Ireland.  National planning authority An Bord Pleanala (ABP) has ruled against the developer’s 47-turbine project in Kildare and Meath.

Its officials said allowing permission would be “premature” in the absence of “any national wind energy strategy”.  ABP also said the “widely dispersed cluster-based layout” would have an “inevitable adverse” impact including a “disproportionately large visual envelope”.

Element Power initially lodged the plans in April last year. It had hoped to build turbines with 169 metre tip heights.   ABP also shot down the developer’s proposals for an up to 120MW Emlagh wind farm in Meath earlier this year.

Finnish Forest Sector Economic Outlook, released by Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke)


The Finnish forest industry’s production and export volumes, except for paper, will increase over last year’s. Demand is highest for sawnwood, pulp and cardboard. According to Finnish Forest Sector Economic Outlook, released by Natural Resources Institute Finland, the competition will lead to falls in export prices in all main product groups except plywood this year, but prices will stabilise next year.

The consumption of forest chips is expected to grow to around 8.2 million m3

The low prices of fossil fuels and emissions allowances alongside uncertainties about subsidy policy are holding back investment decisions and curbing growth in forest energy use.

The consumption of forest chips is expected to grow to around 8.2 million m3 (solid volumes) this year, with equal figures forecast for next year. Correspondingly, the average purchase price of forest chips at plants in 2016 and 2017 is expected to remain at almost the same level as in 2015. This year, the production of wood pellets in Finland will remain equal to last year’s level, but will increase by a few percent next year.

Lively timber market with moderate price trends

As the use of timber in the forest industry grows, commercial fellings will rise in Finland this year to 59.5 million m3 and to 61.8 million m3 next year. Roundwood imports will rise slightly this year.

The stumpage prices of spruce sawlogs will rise only slightly this year, as demand for spruce sawnwood is good but export prices are rising only moderately. The increasing use of spruce pulpwood in cardboard manufacturing will raise stump prices slightly. The stumpage prices of other timber assortments will fall this year. Next year, the increase in softwood pulp production will increase demand for pine pulpwood and raise its stump price.

In non-industrial private forestry, gross stumpage earnings will rise this year to around EUR 1.7 billion, and to slightly more next year. The operating profit per hectare of private forests will be EUR 110 in 2016 and EUR 115 in 2017.” (Luke News)

The original news article can be found from the news section of GREBE partner Luke under:

GREBE Project meets in Iceland


The fourth partner meeting of GREBE project was held in the third week of September in Ísafjörður Iceland.  Before the actual meeting we had a successful policy meeting in Reykjavík. The policy meeting is part of the GREBE project and have similar meetings been held in Ireland, Northern Ireland and Finland. One of the key objectives is to identify and promote opportunities for policy to provide an effective supporting framework for sustainable renewable energy business.  Current policy framework has been reviewed in each partner region.  Michael Doran director of Action Renewables and partner in GREBE presented the summary report on the meeting in Reykjavík. The report is available in GREBE´s homepage

Furthermore, several informative presentations were delivered on Iceland´s policy in renewable energy. Ingvi Már Pálsson, Director of the Department of Energy and industry in the Ministry of Industry and commerce ( ), presented government policy in the field of renewable energy in Iceland.  Baldur Pétursson from the National Energy Authority ( discussed the regulations and the support system for RE business in Iceland and Jón Björn Skúlason, general manager for Nýorka (, looked into challenges with integration of eco-friendly fuels.

After the policy meeting we had several site visits on the way to Ísafjörður. First stop was the Innovation Center Iceland ( were Kristján Leosson managing director for Materials, Biotechnology and Energy told us about the startup company XRG Power ( and other ongoing projects at his department. We also met HS Orka ( were Albert Albertsson the concept creator of the Geothermal Resource park welcomed us. ( Finally we met with Einar Hreinsson specialist at Marine Research Institute which introduced us to prototype of a new fishing gear where light is used as a herding stimulus. This fishing gear has a considerable reduction of towing resistance, compared to conventional trawls and could cut fuel costs per kg fish caught by 40%.


Aurivo Co-Operative Society shortlisted for SEAI Sustainable Energy Awards 2016


Aurivo Co-operative in Ballaghaderreen, Co. Roscommon has been shortlisted as Leadership Finalists 2016 in the SEAI Sustainable Energy Awards 2016.  

Aurivo is striving to reduce its impact on the environment through energy efficiency and energy from biomass, with recent initiatives offsetting over 8,000 tonnes of CO2 in the first four months of 2016.  In 2015, Aurivo installed a 15MW biomass boiler which replaced a heavy fuel oil boiler to dry liquid milk.  The plant is the first of its kind in the west and Aurivo became the first large scale milk processor in the country to switch to biomass as a source of energy. Previously the owners used 1 tanker of heavy fuel oil, before installing a biomass boiler which uses c.30,000 tonnes of wood chip per annum.

Auviro is one of four organisations who have successfully progressed as finalists in the Leadership category. These companies have demonstrated extraordinary leadership and ambition in advancing sustainable energy in their organisation or community over a prolonged period.

You can vote for Aurivo here

BioTECH 2016 – Opportunities in Biomass – CREST Centre, Enniskillen – 21st October 2016


CREST (Centre for Renewable Energy and Sustainable Technologies) at South West College, is hosting a free biomass seminar, tour and demonstration on Friday 21st October 2016.  CREST is an associate partner in the GREBE project and this event is being run in partnership with Biomass Energy Northern Ireland (BENI) and it will run from 10.00 a.m. to 2.30 pm in the CREST pavilion.

Aimed at growers, biofuel suppliers, landowners biomass end users and anyone interested in the sector, the event will focus on ‘Opportunities in Biomass’ and will give an overview of the economic outlook, energy crops, fuel quality, funding for innovation and the future prospects for the industry.  The event will also include a tour and demonstration of CREST’s R&D biomass processing facilities and testing laboratories, which are state-of-the-art.

These facilities support research and development activities on behalf on the SME businesses across Northern Ireland  and has wider collaborative linkages across Europe.

Biomass Energy Northern Ireland (BENI) is a self-funded organisation whose members are actively engaged in all aspects of the production, marketing and use of biomass energy in Northern Ireland with a strong emphasis on Biomass Renewable Heat.  John Martin, Chairman of BENI commented “There is still a target of 10% of Heat from renewable sources by 2020, despite the closure of the Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme.  A clear strategy needs to be put in place by the Department for the Economy(DfE) as a matter of urgency, to ensure this target is met”.

Other speakers at the event include:

  • Michael Doran: (Action Renewables, GREBE Partner) and President of the Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA)
  • Barry Caslin: Bioenergy & Rural Development Specialist in Teagasc
  • Jim Clarke: Deputy Principal Sustainable Development in Invest NI
  • Stewart Cameron: Glendale Tree Services and BENI Member
  • Paul Cairns: CREST Biomass R&D Technician

To register for Biotech 2016 or for further information, contact Gary Logue at or telephone 028 (048 from ROI) 66342251 by Monday 17th October 2016.

Solar energy technology demonstration starts in North Karelia


Choosing the most suitable PV or solar thermal system for you is not always easy.

Karelia UAS has invested in number of different solar PV and thermal technologies. Sirkkala Energy Park will house five different PV panel and inverter combinations, four solar thermal collector types and one PV-T hybrid panel system.

Various different PV technologies are commercially available and the most common and the most promising ones were acquired to Sirkkala Energy Park. Silicon polycrystalline and monocrystalline cells dominate the markets with nearly 90 % market share. Monocrystalline based PV-systems have lower production and investment costs compared to polycrystalline cells, but what they gain in investment costs will be lost in efficiency in most cases. Thin cell PV technologies will be demonstrated in the form of CIGS (Copper Inidium Gallium Selenide) and amorphous silicon. There are also various emerging technologies being researched, but most of them are not yet commercially available.

Various types of PV system architectures and technologies will be demonstrated, including single panel power optimisers, panels in series with maximum power point tracking (MPPT), panels with microinverters and mobile thin cell technologies. Total gross area of installed PV will be 80 m² and total peak power over 11 kW.

Solar thermal collectors are used to produce heat by absorbing sunlight. Two types of main technologies exists; evacuated tube collectors and flat panel collectors. Total of three types of flat panel collectors with different absorber material (copper, aluminium and stainless steel) and one type of evacuated tube collector will be demonstrated. Gross area of solar thermal collectors will be 32 m².

Hybrid PV/Thermal –panels are also demonstrated to assess the feasibility of this technology. Size of the hybrid panel array will be 8 m² with peak power of 1,1 kWp.

According to Project coordinator Mr. Markus Hirvonen, after installation of solar systems the Sirkkala Energy Park will be able to provide unique information on solar energy technologies and the characteristics of each different setup.

“The different solar energy setups provide new information on solar technologies in North Karelian environment and makes it easier for consumers and companies to make good solar PV and thermal investment decisions.

Within the GREBE –project context, Sirkkala Energy Park provides new insights into the market access paths of modern RE solutions, and their business opportunities and challenges.

Sirkkala Energy Park, located in Sirkkala campus of Karelia UAS in Joensuu, is a research, development and education facility of RE technologies. The energy system established in 2015 includes different solar and wood based i.e. a modern small-scale combined heat and power (CHP) -plant fueled with locally produced woodchips.