GREBE meets with energy engineering students from Galway – Mayo Institute of Technology

 

GMIT visitEnergy engineering students from Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, led by Dr. John Lohan, participated in a study tour to the Aurivo Dairy Ingredients Plant (ADIP) in Ballaghaderreen, Co. Roscommon.  A meeting was held at the Northern & Western Regional Assembly where information about ADIP and renewable energy work in the region was discussed.

GMIT at NWRA
Colin Donohue (Optien), Gerry Lavelle (NWRA), John Lohan (GMIT), Katie Wright (NWRA), Pauline Leonard (WDC & GREBE) and Marty Dervin (Aurivo)

Marty Dervin, Energy Manager at ADIP, explained the background of the dairy ingredients plant and their energy management policy. Aurivo is the largest indigenous agricultural co-operative in the West of Ireland with business activities in consumer foods dairy products, dairy ingredients, retail stores, animal feeds and livestock trading.  Aurivo Dairy Ingredients have a strong focus on energy management and are continuously performing energy reduction projects onsite.

One of the most significant projects undertaken to date is the installation of a large scale biomass boiler for the supply of thermal energy for the site. It was revealed that the site was consuming 8 million litres of heavy fuel oil (HFO) every year, and this was replaced with a 12MW biomass plant in May 2014. This provided an opportunity for a long-term, sustainable energy solution for Aurivos dairy ingredients business. The installation of the biomass boiler has delivered a 60% reduction in the greenhouse gas emissions for the site and is a major part of Aurivos commitment to their Origin Green programme.

Colin Donohue of Optien imparted some of his experiences as an energy engineer.  Optien is focused on providing world class mentoring services to their clients to facilitate performance improvement within their organisations, and specialise in complex and energy intensive industries and leverage a data driven approach to facilitate performance improvement.

Pauline Leonard presented information on GREBE and other EU funded projects to the students, and outlined some of the opportunities available to them, whether through accessing EU funded research as part of their studies, or through innovation and entrepreneurship schemes funded by the EU.

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Fermanagh & Omagh District Council Community Plan launched

Themes and outcomes 3

Following an extensive public consultation exercise in October/November 2016, we have finalised the first Community Plan for our district – Fermanagh and Omagh 2030 – and launched it at the end of March.

The Community Plan is a long-term strategic plan for our area which will be owned and delivered by the Community Planning Partnership comprising a range of statutory and support partners with the Council as lead partner.

The Community Plan will be supported by three detailed Action Plans, which we aim to publish by the summer of 2017. Together these will focus on achieving our Vision and Outcomes.

Detailed action planning is due to progress shortly based around the strategic actions which we consulted upon and, in line with the partnership ethos of the Plan, these will be led by the following agencies:

  • People and Communities: Western Health and Social Care Trust & Public Health Agency – in conjunction with FODC Director of Community, Health and Leisure
  • Economy, Infrastructure and Skills: Invest NI – in conjunction with FODC Director of Regeneration and Planning
  • Environment: Sport NI – in conjunction with FODC Director of Environment and Place.

The Community Plan will be managed using an Outcomes Based Accountability (OBA) approach, in line with the draft Programme for Government and training on this will be rolled out in the near future.  Information sessions on the Community Plan and how the Council’s Corporate Plan align to this will be scheduled for all staff.

For further information please contact Kim Weir, Community Planning and Performance (kim.weir@fermanaghomagh.com).

Heat entrepreneurship meeting in Lieksa, Finland

Esa Kinnunen
Esa Kinnunen (Finnish Forest Centre) presenting the socio-economic benefits of the Eno Energy Co-op

The heat entrepreneurs of North Karelia and Savo regions met in Lieksa to discuss the recent development of the sector. The meeting of entrepreneurs and bioenergy developers focused on the work safety aspects, the potential of the solar energy systems integrated in district heating, and the socio-economic benefits of bioenergy.

The importance of the work safety issue was emphasized by presentations on risk assessments, safety issues along the supply-chain and at the heating plant, and on legislation requirements. Practical examples were given on the realised risks – such as deaths in silos – and how they could have been avoided.

Eno Energy Cooperative is a famous example of a heat enterprise positively affecting at the regional economy. Bioenergy and bioeconomy specialist Esa Kinnunen from the Finnish Forest Centre presented the latest socio-economic study of the Eno Energy Co-op. The estimated socio-economic impacts of cost savings (i.e. replacing heating oil with renewable biomass) during the past 15 years have been about 75 jobs and 2.8 MEUR.

The heat entrepreneurs are considering investments on the solar energy systems integrated in the DH plans; technical and economic aspects of the PV and solar thermal were presented by Karelia UAS Renewable energy specialist Kim Blomqvist. Kim also presented the currently open GREBE Entrepreneurship Enabler Scheme call for local enterprises in Finland – heat entrepreneurs are among the key target groups of the scheme.

The RE-DIRECT Project publishes its first newsletter

The RE-DIRECT project, funded by the North West Europe programme, has published its first newsletter. This project will promote the efficient use of natural resources and materials by converting residual biomass into carbon products and activated carbon at smart regional decentralised units.

This newsletter outlines the projects participation at the North West Europe programme seminar in Lille in December 2016, and the first project partner meeting in January in Bonn, Germany, and the visit to PYREG in Dörth, Germany.  PYREG is a German manufacturer of small decentralised dry carbonisation units and is one of the potential manufacturers for the investments during the project. The existing PYREG plant, the PYREG 500, can convert approx. 1400 t of biomass per year into 300 t of biochar. In addition, it delivers 150 kW of thermal energy.

Further details are available in the project newsletter Newsletter_REDIRECT_1

GREBE publishes its 4th project E-Zine

Grebe_Ezine_April2017 - Cover

The GREBE Project has published its fourth e-zine to showcase the activities and ongoing goals of the project.  

We held our fifth partner meeting in Joensuu, Finland in February, where we held a joint conference with the IEA Bioenergy Task 43 and launched our online training and networking platform renewablebusiness.eu.

This e-zine will highlight details of our Report on the Influence of Environmental Conditions in the NPA & Arctic Regions, our report which identifies technologies which can be transferred from areas of best practice to areas where renewable energy uptake is low and our Growth Strategy Guidelines for SMEs in renewable energy.

We also have details of four participating companies in our Entrepreneur Enabler Scheme in Northern Ireland (MSL – McCrea Services Ltd., Moffitt & Robinson, Rowe Energy and Winters Renewables) and information on three more of our policy workshops.  To read our e-zine, please click here

Contracts for difference for new onshore wind?

ERI image 5

After the 2015 Conservative manifesto pledge to “end any new public subsidy” for onshore wind farms, developers have been locked out of the Contracts for Difference (CfD) framework*.  New research reveals however that ministers could allow onshore wind bid on new contracts without contradicting its previous pledge to end all new subsidies.

The report** produced by industry experts Baringa Partners, commissioned by industry body Scottish Renewables, states that by allowing developers to bid in the first round of the auction, the industry could deliver an extra 1GW of capacity in the UK at the hugely competitive price of £49.40 per MWh. This is around half of the strike price agreed by the UK Government for Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant, after being adjusted for inflation.

Since the 2015 subsidy ending announcement there has been a marked slowdown in the rate of development. Neil Stuart, Chief Executive of Scottish Renewables said:

“Some companies are continuing to look at projects, but it is very difficult to see them going ahead without some sort of intervention,”

“If you want to deliver onshore wind capacity at a scale, which will make a meaningful contribution to the UK’s work to meet climate change targets and secondly keep bills down for consumers then you will need a CfD framework.”

Bidding on the first round of the CfD auction would not represent a subsidy as more money would return to the consumer over the last two thirds of the contract than the limited top up in the first third as the wholesale price of electricity increases. This would represent an overall saving for consumers.

The report also highlights the incredible reductions in the costs of renewables, particularly onshore wind, around the world. The decreasing price of turbines and auction mechanisms to ensure competition have seen the price tumble worldwide. The government can still now plan an important role in offering a low-risk route to market for subsidy free onshore wind.

The report that allows the UK Government to provide subsidy free support to onshore wind comes after a Conservative thinktank Bright Blue published a new survey*** claiming that the majority of Tory voters actually support on shore wind.

*The CfD mechanism is in place to stabilise revenue and cost for developers, thereby lowering the cost of capital and in turn minimises the cost of energy.

** https://www.scottishrenewables.com/publications/baringa-sr-analysis-potential-outcome-pot-1-cfd-/

*** http://www.brightblue.org.uk/images/Green%20conservatives%20polling%20report%20Final.pdf

SSE plans Doraville Wind Farm facelift

Doraville Windfarm

SSE is to reduce turbine numbers and redesign the layout at its proposed up to 115MW Doraville wind farm in Northern Ireland.

The utility-developer is to file the new plans with Belfast’s Department for Infrastructure in response to a request for further planning information for the Tyrone project.  A reduction in turbine numbers from 36 to 33 is being envisaged, as is a new hardware layout plan.  SSE is to kick-off a further round of public consultation on the changes.

It first unveiled the project – that is yet to secure planning approval – in 2014.   SSE community liaison officer Vicky Boden said the company has made the “important revisions” after “listening to suggestions and concerns” raised during planning. “We believe this new design responds to those concerns, providing the maximum environmental protection balanced with delivering the best proposal that can go forward to help all of us meet the challenge of climate change,” she added.