Happy Christmas from the GREBE project

christmas-treeFrom all of us at GREBE, we wish all our followers a very Happy Christmas & all the very best wishes for 2016.

2016 will be a very busy year for the GREBE project.  In the first quarter, we will hold the official launch and our second partner meeting; our new website will be developed; our Industry Advisory Groups will meet in each region for the first time; and the Entrepreneur Enabler Scheme will be piloted in Northern Ireland.   For the rest of 2016, we will hold two more project meetings (in Scotland and Iceland); produce reports for our work packages and hold stakeholder engagement workshops in the partner regions.

Please continue to follow our project and share with your colleagues and friends !

Business Mentor List for Pilot Scheme

Mentor list GREBE

Fermanagh & Omagh District Council will launch a Call for Business Mentors in January 2016.   The GREBE Pilot Business Support Scheme will work with Renewable Energy businesses and entrepreneurs who are interested in the Renewable Energy sector to encourage growth and innovation in this sector.

To do this we need experts and mentors who can guide and coach business owners in all areas of business.  These experts will need experience in the Renewable Energy Sector as well as having a strong business background.

The Terms of Reference for the Business Mentor List for the GREBE Pilot Business Support Scheme will be available during January 2016.  All details will be posted on the @grebe_npa twitter account, Facebook and will be listed on http://www.fermanaghomagh.com – tender section.

We are keen to engage with a range of businesses within the sector from across our council area.



Karelia UAS Demonstrates Renewable Energy Solutions

Karelia CHP (1 of 1) (1)

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 a modern small-scale combined heat and power (CHP) -plant fueled with locally produced woodchips. In 2016, there will be additional investments in solar PV and heat, electric car/charging and biomass combustion.

According to Senior Project Manager Mr. Ville Kuittinen, Sirkkala Energy Park will form nationally unique multipurpose platform for hybrid energy system research, piloting, demonstration and learning:

“The platform gathers together enterprises, students, and education and research organisations and provides an environment to demonstrate the self-sufficiency in heat and power by forest biomass and in future by solar energy.”

Students from the Energy and Environmental Technology and Information and Communications Technology have already utilised the new educational facilities in learning assignments and projects related to data storage, combustion and life cycle analyses.

The 140 kW CHP -unit (40 kW of electricity, 100 kW of heat) is produced by the Finnish Volter Ltd. The plant of Karelia UAS is a mobile version allowing also promotional and tailored research and development activities outside the campus, such as regional events of Farmer 2015 Fair and Ilosaarirock Festival in July 2015. The plant can operate off-grid, which makes it unique solution also for the isolated communities with available high quality woodfuel.

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.


Harsh weather and the effect on renewable energy SMEs

NSP blog post 15-12-2015The company ‘Narvik Science Park’ (NSP) is located in Narvik in the Northern Norway about 250 km north of the polar arctic circle.  NSP are responsible for Work Package 4 in the GREBE project.  Work Package 4 is directed towards the influence of environmental conditions in the NPA and Arctic regions and how SMEs in the regions are coping with weather constraints. The weather may affect the companies in many different ways, for example, in infrastructure, logistics and production.

The aim of Work Package 4 is to get an overall picture of the effects of weather related constraints in the different sub-regions and to estimate if there is a negative impact on Renewable Energy SMEs concerning and how production and results are affected by weather.

As an example, the Norwegian Metrological Institute has registered 180 weather warnings in Northern Norway during 2014.  How does this impact the renewable energy regarding installations, infrastructure, profit and competition in the sector?

This is the daily challenge for many SMEs in the renewable energy sector – approximately every second day there will be severe weather conditions which in some way will affect their business, and according to several climate reports, the situation will be even worse in the coming years.

Narvik Science Park will lead Work Package 4 and the aim is to publish a report on the different weather conditions affecting the regions within Northern Periphery & Arctic (NPA) programme and to follow up demands and successful solutions that improve the situation for doing business in the NPA and Arctic regions of Europe.

Apple Juice success is bittersweet in light of proposed policy changes

Allt_Breugach_ApplecrossHydro_source 10-12-2015

The Highlands and Islands of Scotland are blessed with massive renewable resources. The Scottish Government policies, such as the Community And Renewable Energy Scheme, are trying to encourage the isolated communities in this region to utilise this resource.

One community based project which has recently seen success is Apple Juice, a 90 kW hydro scheme. The location for this development is Applecross, a remote peninsular on the west coast of northern Scotland. The hydro scheme run by Apple Juice (Applecross) Limited will use Allt Breugach, a burn which flows from the hills behind Shore Street into Applecross Bay. Surplus income from the scheme will go to Applecross Community Company to be spent on projects identified through consultation with the community. A novel approach was taken to part fund the development, crowdfunding was used with a call being put out for people to buy shares in the scheme. This call was so successful that the £780 000 target was reached in under a month. For more information visit the project website http://www.applecrosshydro.scot/.

Unfortunately the tenability of other communities replicating Apple Juice is currently in jeopardy, due to the UK Government’s proposed changes to the feed-in tariff laid out in the Consultation on a review of the Feed-in Tariff scheme. The consultation document lays out massive cuts and hydro is one of the technologies these fall most heavily upon. The smallest schemes (under 100 kW), like Apple Juice, will be the hardest hit of all hydro projects, with the proposed changes reducing the feed-in tariff from 14.43 p/kWh for 2015 projects to just 10.66 p/kWh (the equivalent to106.6 £/MWh) in 2016. Given the UK Government’s support for the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station these proposed scale and speed of these cuts seem astounding. If the 3200 MW Hinkley nuclear plant operates at a capacity factor of 80% with the level of subsidy the UK Government have agreed (92.5 £/MWh – more than double the current wholesale price of 44 £/MWh) £1 088 million will be paid out in subsidy every year just for the electricity; this is without considering the grants, government backed loans and costly waste issue which has historically fallen to government. This is whilst the total feed-in tariff subsidy came to £866 million in the most recent 1 year review period.

Renewable energy: Subsidy cuts ‘could cost 10,000 jobs’


Wind farm
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Government-backed incentives for wind power and other energy sources are due to end within 18 months.


Up to 10,000 jobs could go in Northern Ireland as a result of the decision to end subsidies for renewable energy, an energy advisory organisation has said.

Government-backed incentives for wind power and other energy sources are due to end within 18 months.

Michael Doran of Action Renewables told the BBC’s Inside Business programme that some people who had invested in wind turbines faced massive losses.  He said jobs would be lost unless a replacement incentive was introduced.  He is a director of the organisation which advises provide expert advice on renewable energy to both the government and commercial investors.


“I’m aware of 15 individual farmers who’ve already bought wind turbines which they now will not be able to put in because they don’t have the grid connection from NIE [Northern Ireland Electricity],” Mr Doran told the programme.

“Those have cost them between £100,000 and £200,000 each already – so already I’m aware of individuals who have lost over £1m.

“My guess is, if there is nothing to replace the renewables obligation whatsoever, it would lead to between 5,000 and 10,000 job losses within Northern Ireland – it’s significant.”

It was announced that the current subsidy system for on-shore wind energy in Northern Ireland is set to end next April, a year earlier than planned.

Stormont’s Enterprise Minister Jonathan Bell started a two-week consultation on the proposal.


Forest resources in Finland

Finnish logsIn Finland, some 23 million hectares is under forest cover (76%), according to the National Forest Inventory (NFI) the volume of growing stock has increased to 2,332 million m3 in 2015. This is an increase by more than 40% since 1971. As a major carbon sink absorbing large amount of CO2 from the atmosphere, in 2015 Finnish forests sequestrated nearly 40% of the CO2 emissions from Finland´s industry.

The use of wood-based fuels has increased in Finland since the 1990s and account for approximately 25% of the total energy consumption, the share of wood-based fuels of all renewable energy sources accounted for over 85%.

Increasing growing stock

Since the mid-1970s, wood equivalent to the current volume of the tree stock, about 2,332 million m3, has been harvested and used. In Finnish forests, the annual increment exceeds the drain by 30%.

The Finnish forest sector contribute 4% of the GDP of Finland and employ about 65 000 people. The value added in forest is 6.7 € billion. The most important market area of Finnish forest industry products is Europe, 70% of the export of the wooden products. Wooden-based bio-products widen the future development of the forest industry.


Jari Parviainen & Markus Lier 2015. Finland´s forests 2015. Natural Resources Institute Finland