‘Innovate Energy 2016’ event in Enniskillen – 8th December 2016

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Supporting the Development of Innovative Energy Technologies

“If you are developing an innovation in energy technology, or are interested in seeing what innovations in energy technology are being developed, come to the SWC Seminar to find out how the FREED project can help you.”

FREED will support existing and start-up SMEs to utilise and develop innovative energy technologies as viable business offerings. If you are an SME make sure you sign up for the opportunity to pitch your idea.

This event will take place at the CREST Pavilion, Technology & Skills Centre, South West College, Enniskillen, BT74 4EJ, Northern Ireland

Refreshments and lunch will be provided.

Register at eventbrite https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/ or contact Michelle McDonald on 028 8225 5223

 

Finlands Energy and Climate Strategy 2016

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Finland’s long-term objective is to be a carbon-neutral society. This challenge is particularly great in the energy sector. Approximately 80% of all greenhouse gas emissions in Finland come from energy production and consumption, when energy used for transport is included.

The Finnish government has set ambitious national targets on renewable energy in its program. Finland is committed to EU’s 2030 energy and climate targets and will continue increasing use of renewable energy and improving energy efficiency even though no national binding targets are set after 2020.

According to the government program, Finland will ambitiously increase use of renewable energy and energy self sufficiency in 2020s. The main focus is on the promotion of bioenergy and advanced biofuels for transport.

Preparations of a new national energy and climate strategy has been started. This work will be finished by the end of 2016. In this work, all the relevant ministries are involved. The main industry sectors, stakeholders and citizens are involved in investigating and preparing future policy options.

The energy and climate strategy determines ways to reach the ambitious energy targets set in the government program. The energy and climate strategy is also a part of the work that is done for preparing Energy Union’s National Energy and Climate plan and it will indicate how Finland is going to reach the EU’s 2030 targets for renewable energy, energy efficiency and also EU effort sharing.

The following targets in the government program will be thoroughly considered when developing the national energy and climate strategy. In addition, uncertainty caused by future EU decisions on biomass sustainability and state aid rules for energy and environmental aid will be assessed.

  • The use of emission-free, renewable energy will be increased in a sustainable way so that its share will rise to more than 50 % by the end of 2020s and the self-sufficiency to more than 55 %, also including peat.
  • Coal will no longer be used in energy production and the use of imported oil for the domestic needs will be cut by half by the end of 2020s.
  • The share of renewable transport fuels will be raised to 40 % by 2030.
  • Finland will create new support programmes for renewable energy. Aid will be based on technology neutrality and ranking of economic priorities

More information: petteri.kuuva@tem.fi and strategia2016@tem.fi

GREBE Report on the Influence of Environmental Conditions in NPA & Arctic Regions

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Global climate change impacts Europe in many ways, including: changes in average and extreme temperature and precipitation, warmer oceans, rising sea level and shrinking snow and ice cover on land and at sea. These weather phenomenons have led to a range of impacts on ecosystems, socio-economic sectors and human health and safety. There is no doubt that the changes in climate will have a strong impact in our daily life, whether we accept extreme weather conditions as a new phenomenon or not. Adaptation to the past history data, present observed and future predicted impacts will in the coming decades be needed, as well as be complementary to global climate mitigation actions. Narvik Science Park has made a report on this in the GREBE-Project.

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Background

The harsh climatic conditions experienced in many NPA regions, particularly high north and arctic regions, present significant challenges to SMEs and start-ups that can seriously impact on the viability of their businesses. Winter storms regularly occurring in the high north, known as polar lows or arctic weather fronts, can bring about sudden and extreme drops in temperatures, with debilitating ice and snow conditions developing quickly. Also, in the North West Europe the influence from the North Atlantic Oscillation give rise to storms, resulting in high winds and precipitations. These conditions frequently give rise to unsafe working conditions and suspension of business operations, particular in the case of technology installations. Operational environments in these areas are often vulnerable irrespective of climatic conditions, given their isolated, remote locations, far away from technical maintenance staff, and which are often difficult to access by road, air or sea. Businesses located in these areas must compensate for fragile and less robust parameters, in order to cope with unforeseen sudden disturbances (for instance, climate change effects).

There are significant climate challenges in the partner regions with different types of harsh weather. Low temperature, hard winds, and rain/ snow conditions can be extreme in the NPA regions. The question is – how to find the best process conditions for business in remote NPA communities, where knowledge transfer is an important aspect. A harsh local/regional climate, sparsely populated areas together with rural geographic related issues and poor infrastructure have a tendency to bias the company’s business models.

Effects on GREBE regions in Northern Europe

Findings from the work of NSP – In the northeastern part of Europe there is a high societal disturbance caused by wind, rain and in some sense also freezing rain. Since the occurrence of harsh weather conditions are not frequent, the effect will be more palpable. In comparison the norther part of Europe, i.e. Iceland has a frequent presence of high wind conditions that in this case will be more of a “normal” continuous state in daily weather.  In the northeast coastal regions of Europe, the weather is more unpredictable with suddenly arising storms, i.e. polar lows, delivering both rain/snow and windy conditions. In the mainland northeast regions there are precipitation and in conjunction with this often cold climate.

“Local extreme weather” – The weather impact on societal infrastructure in the different NPA regions is considered to be affecting the business activities. The phenomenon of “local extreme weather” is serious for the single business when affects and may have serious consequences to compete in an open market. The trends in towards more local extreme weather is indicating the following spread in northern Europe:

  • Ireland/Northern-Ireland – Wind & Storms
  • Scotland – Rain & Wind
  • Iceland – Wind & Cold
  • Norway – Snow & Cold
  • Finland – Ice & Snow

The economic outcome is then a vulnerable factor in these NPA regions that gives a negative bias for local business and a non-favorable competitive disadvantage compared to similar businesses in other EU regions.

The Regional readiness

The readiness from the society to handle harsh weather and local “extreme” conditions varies from country to country in northern Europe. The regional readiness in local “extreme weather conditions” should be an important measure when establishing new enterprises and a serious risk analysis should be made before each activity starts, by taken in account the possibility for weather disturbance. Based upon the description below from each GREBE partner region, an indicative regional or even local perception has to be defined. The overall measure that indicates some connection between local “extreme weather frequency” and a corresponding indication of society readiness can be of great value. This opens for a discussion and action plans or even a business strategy plan, concerning suddenly weather extremes that are changing in a fast manner, like for example in frequency and behavior. This will also reflect the current climate change in coherence with business activities that we are experiencing and specifically when it is expected to make the biggest noticeable effect on the environment in the Arctic and sub-arctic regions. The regional readiness in society is of great importance when considering time loss of energy, restriction in transportations or not operational production.

However, the impact of “local extreme weather” is considered manageable and moderate in most of the northern EU regions. The frequency of these weather phenomenons can be severe when an indirect impact occurs, e.g. avalanches, coldness, strong winds and flooding will also in the future cause disturbances in the society. These occurrences mainly affect the accessibility to production plants and the mobility of staff. Nevertheless, there is always a high risk that the safety aspect will in each situation not be fully understood. The “local extreme weather” is always important to relate to for both personnel and business operations.

Conclusions –  climate effects on society business

  1. Regional cooperation – The widely spread geographical areas of northern Europe, is experiencing a number of joint challenges in relation to its location, but also possible opportunities that can be overcome and realized by regional cooperation. The experience from each region may be introduced to other Northern European areas and innovations from different parts in society can be used to create specific growth initiatives and common efficient business opportunities of the European Northern and Arctic regions in a climate efficient way. One major impact of challenges and initiatives in business operations is the influence of weather conditions on society and in the extension also SME business operations and productivity located in these areas.
  2. Strategic handling – Today, many operators in society refer to weather as a restriction in budget and argue that it is a phenomenon that has an actuable impact on business. However, the weather can be a strong benefit for the business when an updated insight into the specific local conditions is available and by using a strategic handling document based upon regional knowledge and experience from other businesses. Even national weather organizations are today providing companies this service.
  3. Variety of weather – The final implication is that a change in weather pattern will result in a variety of weather phenomenon that can affect the NPA regions in a different matter. There are different effects on the society, depending upon the specific region, i.e. flooding, wind, and disturbance on roads by fallen trees and avalanche.

You can download the report from the GREBE Project website:

http://grebeproject.eu/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/GREBE-Report-on-the-Influence-of-Environmental-Conditions-in-NPA-Arctic-Regions.pdf

First Power from MeyGen Tidal Energy Project

Caithness Scotland Maygen tidal generation site

What is set to be the largest tidal array in the world met a significant milestone earlier this week in the north of Scotland. In the Inner Sound of the Pentland Firth the first 1.5MW tidal turbine, made by Andritz Hammerfest, delivered electricity to the mainland UK Grid. The device is the first of four turbines in Phase 1a of the project, which when completed, will generate close to 400MW of clean, reliable and predictable electricity.

Generation of electricity for the first time is just one step in a long journey for the MeyGen project. Earlier work at the site has seen subsea cables laid, foundation ballast block installation ready for the installation of the turbines in the latter half of this year.

MeyGen is set to be the largest tidal array farm in the world, its first stage has been funded through a combination of debt, equity and grants from Atlantis the majority owner of the scheme, as well as Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Crown Estate and the former Department for Energy and Climate Change. A total of £51.3 million has been raised for the first stage of development.

The company’s CEO Tim Cornelius said:

“This is the moment we have been working towards since we first identified the MeyGen site back in 2007. 

“I am immensely proud of and grateful for the remarkable team of people who have contributed to this milestone – our suppliers, our funders, our supportive shareholders, and of course the project team, whose commitment, tenacity and belief have been without equal.

“I look forward to bringing more news of the project development over the coming weeks and months as we move into the full operational phase.”

The remaining three turbines, another two Andrizt machines and one built by Atlantis, will be installed over the coming weeks. Atlantis have also revealed that one of the turbines is to be named “the Calum Davidson” in honour of Calum Davidson for his contribution to the marine power sector. Davidson is Director of Energy and Low Carbon at Highlands and Islands Enterprise, a member of the Scottish First Minister’s Energy Advisory Board and has worked tirelessly over the last decade to bring the marine renewables sector to the Highlands and Islands of Scotland.

Cornelius said:

“This project would not exist without Calum,” Cornelius said. “We faced many problems along the path to financial close: finance, licenses, leases, grid and so on. Every time things seemed really bad, I would turn to Calum and he would find a way to make it work. He believes in us and what we are doing. More importantly, he believes in the future of the marine power industry that he has helped create in Scotland. He is one of the reasons why Scotland leads the world in tidal energy development.”

 

The Bioeconomy: Creating Value for Farmers & Foresters

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Teagasc together with IT Tralee, IFA and IBEC are holding a Bioeconomy Conference at the City west Hotel Dublin on Wednesday November 23rd. The event will focus on the bioeconomy including grass bio refining, Wood based polymers, New value chain opportunities.  Here is the full agenda: bioeconomy-conference-nov-23rd-city-west-hotel

The event will be an ideal networking opportunity and will bring attendees up to date on developments within the biobased economy including the long awaited Renewable Heat Incentive which will be discussed during a panel discussion including Frank Groome from Department of Communications, Climate Awareness and Environment (DCCAE) who are soon launching a public consultation in this area.

Spaces will be limited and the following link can be used when to register for the event: www.agriforvalor.eventbrite.ie

Natural Resources Institute Finland and Qvidja Kraft Ab have together taken a major step in bringing environmentally friendly energy to market

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“Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) has sold the pending patents for the biomethane reactor it developed to Qvidja Kraft Oy. At the same time, the researchers responsible for the development work transferred to the company´s employment.

The method both stores renewable energy and produces biomethane with a high efficiency ratio. The new technology can help in achieving a carbon-neutral society.”

“The agreement between Qvidja Kraft Ab and Luke is an important opening for Luke in transferring to practice innovations developed through research. During the long period of development, patents have been sought for a number of innovations made. (…) Luke´s scientists will transfer with the transaction to Qvidja Kraft Ab. This will enable the development work to continue. The development of the reactors and new products will be continued and further expanded at Qvidja Kraft. (…) Qvidja Kraft Ab is a wood and biogas company which develops renewable energy solutions both at farm level and at industrial-scale level.”  (Luke News)

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

https://www.luke.fi/en/news/qvidja-kraft-purchases-lukes-innovation/

GREBEs Summary Report on Policy Initiatives & Schemes in the NPA region

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One of the objectives of the GREBE work package on Policy & Funding Mechanisms for renewable energy businesses is to ‘identify and promote opportunities for policy to provide an effective supporting framework for sustainable renewable energy (RE) business (both new and emerging)’. 

This work package is a fundamental part of identifying the existing policies that already exist in each partner region and assessing how effective these policies have been throughout their life span. The main aim of this work package is to identify new initiatives that will promote RE entrepreneurship in each partner region and to ensure that further positive interventions continue to be made.

Action Renewables have published a summary report of the relevant policy initiatives and schemes in each of the partner regions. This report can be downloaded from the GREBE Project website here.   This involved carrying out a comprehensive desktop review of the policy framework for all partner regions and collating and analysing information supplied by the project partners.   This report will seek to examine the impact and influence of policy initiatives in terms of how they support business development for RE entrepreneurship, established businesses in the RE sector, and emerging micro-enterprises and SME’s looking to enter this market. The focus of the report is on entrepreneurial business activity which supports RE development, not incentives or obligations.

The RE sector is heavily influenced by and reliant on a supporting policy framework. It requires policy stimulation to enact behavioural change, to incentivise the increase of RE, to promote R&D in new technology adoption and to encourage investment. While all policies have broadly similar aims, the make-up of many of the initiatives and schemes are varied. This can be partly explained by the existence of different governance structures in each partner region.

Each partner has provided information on existing policies related to developing business opportunities in the RE sector. This information will help ensure the work package objectives can be carried out successfully. A SCOT (Strengths, Constraints, Opportunities and Threats) analysis has been carried out on each policy initiative so that policy barriers and facilitators for RE enterprises are clearly identified. The policies have been carefully categorised into the following:

  • Emerging micro –enterprises & SME’s looking to enter the RE market
  • Support business development for RE entrepreneurship
  • Established businesses in the RE sector

Based on the analysis and further research Action Renewables has created a report analysing which policy initiatives have been successful and why. It is important to recognise that the effectiveness of policies can be difficult to assess. Many policies aim to accomplish broad conceptual goals that are subject to different interpretations and are difficult to quantify. Policy assessment can also be challenging as many of the targets set can be overly ambitious and hard to achieve. Variations in natural resources from region to region will also have an impact on making a comparative analysis. (Source: Boundless. “Policy Evaluation.” Boundless Political Science. Boundless, 17 Jun. 2016. Retrieved 22 Aug. 2016 from https://www.boundless.com/political-science/textbooks/boundless-political-science-textbook/domestic-policy-15/the-policy-making-process-95/policy-evaluation-517-6176/)

This report can be downloaded from the GREBE Project website

http://grebeproject.eu/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/GREBE-Summary-Report-on-Policy-Initiatives.pdf