Fermanagh and Omagh District Council will launch a new renewable energy business support programme which will focus on the challenges of peripheral regions as places for doing business and help develop renewable energy business opportunities.
The €1.77 million transnational project is co-funded by the EU’s Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme and the Fermanagh and Omagh District Council area is the only council area in Northern Ireland to benefit from the three-year programme which includes eight partners from six countries including the Republic of Ireland, Scotland Finland, Norway and Iceland.
Generating Renewable Energy Business Enterprise – GREBE – will be launched on the final day of the Council’s first ever Enterprise Week. The launch will take place at the BALCAS plant, Ballycassidy, Enniskillen on Friday 4 March 2016
The Chair of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Councillor Thomas O’Reilly said that the Council was delighted to have secured funding from the Periphery and Arctic Programme to participate in GREBE.
“The Council is honoured to be chosen to carry out this pilot scheme to demonstrate its effectiveness within this sector and to use that pilot to inform the other regions participating on the programme on how to roll it out within their areas. Included in this will be the provision of a resource pack for use by all partners which demonstrates best practice in mentoring,” the Councillor said.
Speaking about the merits of this unique programme, Councillor Reilly said that renewable energy provides substantial benefits for the climate, health and the economy.
“Renewable energy projects have untold economic development benefits by keeping money within the local economy. As well as cutting down on energy/operating costs for small businesses leading to considerable savings for them, renewables show that businesses are adapting a responsible approach to the environment.
“Businesses in the Programme area face innumerable challenges including a lack of critical mass, dispersed settlements, poor accessibility, vulnerability to climate change effects and limited networking opportunities. GREBE will equip SMEs and start-up businesses with the skills and confidence to overcome these challenges and use natural assets for renewable energy to best sustainable effect. The renewable energy sector contributes to sustainable regional and rural development and has potential for further growth,” Councillor O’Reilly continued.
Focusing on the location for the launch of the Progamme, Councillor O’Reilly said it was fitting that BALCAS had been chosen as the venue as the company was not only a leading timber products supplier but has pioneered biomass renewable energy in the UK and has led the development of the market for wood pellet fuel in Ireland and Britain
For further information on GREBE, please contact Una Porteous, Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, telephone 0300 303 1777 Ext 21211 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org