Another record in Finland: “Record-high consumption of wood fuels last year”

luke 31-07-2017
Photo: Erkki Oksanen / Luke

Another record in Finland: “Record-high consumption of wood fuels last year”

“In 2016, heating and power plants consumed a total of 19.3 million solid cubic metres of solid fuelwoods, representing an increase of 6 per cent from the previous year, and more than ever before. The total consumption of wood fuels reached an all-time record as well.

In 2016, wood fuels were the most important source of energy in Finland, accounting for 26 per cent of the total energy consumption.

Forest chips used as in the previous year

The most significant solid wood fuel used by heating and power plants was forest chips, the consumption of which increased by one per cent year-on-year to 7.4 million cubic metres.

The use of forest chips in the combined production of heat and power continued to decrease, shrinking by 6 per cent year-on-year to 4.5 million cubic metres, says Senior Statistician Esa Ylitalo of Natural Resources Institute Finland.

However, the use of forest chips in the generation of heat only increased by 14 per cent, to 2.9 million cubic metres. Together with the forest chips burned in small-scale housing, total consumption reached 8.1 million cubic metres.

Small-sized trees the most significant raw material of forest chips

More than half, or 3.9 million cubic metres, of the forest chips consumed by the plants were manufactured from small-sized trees, i.e. pruned small-diameter stems and unpruned small-sized trees. The second most common source, 2.5 million cubic metres, was logging residues. The use of stumps as raw material for forest chips came to 0.8 million cubic metres, and that of large-sized timber, not suitable for the manufacturing of forest industry products, to 0.3 million cubic metres.

The use of solid by-products for energy generation on the rise

Plants consumed 8 per cent more forest industry by-products and wood residues than in the previous year, a total of 10.9 million cubic metres. The main material used in burning was bark, accounting for almost 70 per cent, or 7.3 million cubic metres, of by-product wood. The use of nearly all types of solid wood fuels increased from the previous year. Proportionally, the greatest increase (+31%) was seen in the consumption of wood pellets and briquettes, and recycled wood (+29%).

The consumption of solid wood fuels was highest in the Central Finland region, while most forest chips were burned in Uusimaa and most forest industry by-products and wood residues in South Karelia.

Record-high amounts of wood used in energy generation in 2016

Based on preliminary data by Statistics Finland, the consumption of wood fuels in energy generation was record-high in 2016, a total of 96 terawatt-hours (TWh). Of the total consumption of wood fuels, solid wood fuels of heating and power plants covered 37 TWh, the combustion of black liquor 41 TWh, the small-scale combustion of wood 17 TWh and other wood fuels 2 TWh. Wood fuels were the most important source of energy, accounting for 26 per cent of the total energy consumption.” (Luke News)

The Original news article can be found from Luke´s news section under:

https://www.luke.fi/en/news/record-high-consumption-wood-fuels-last-year/

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Iceland Geothermal Conference to be held in Harpa, Reykjavik on 24-26 April 2018

IGC image

Registration is now open for the 4th Iceland Geothermal Conference (IGC) will be hosted in Harpa, Reykjavik in April 2018. The conference offers an in-depth discussion of the challenges in development of the geothermal sector.  It also focuses on the business environment built on three separate themes: vision, development, and operations.

This conference in 2018 offers science trips to nearby geothermal areas and easy access to Icelandic geothermal experts.  IGC historically offers quality lectures presented by carefully selected speakers from around the world.  This conference is the home for networking where buyers and sellers get the opportunity to form new relationships that could lead to new business opportunities.  The founders of IGC are familiar of the fact that networking is the key to any good conference.

Past IGCs have been a success, with an average of 700 participants each year.  IGC is a nonprofit event sponsored by the Iceland Geothermal Cluster Initiative.  The conference was set up as an international platform for the geothermal industry and project developers, to gather and share views on how to improve the business environment for geothermal projects.

Iceland Geothermal Cluster Initiative (IGCI) is a non-profit organization which goal is to promote geothermal energy as a competitive renewable energy solution for businesses and society. Geothermal resources in general are renewable and ideally suited to supply baseload energy improving energy security and encourage growth.

The IGCI and its members take part in hosting events and workshops, receiving delegations, sharing knowledge and experience, and assist in promoting geothermal energy. The cluster participates actively in defining best practice methodology for the sector and building up international cooperation to map best practice methods across the world, as well as performing energy related analyses and publishing reports and paper.

Registration and further information about the conference can be found on the IGCI website www.igc.is

Furthermore a youtube video on the IGC 2018 can be seen by following this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y7o_zAWMFMk

Ireland’s first National Mitigation Plan is published

Denis Naughton
Minister Denis Naughton

Irelands Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten T.D., published Ireland’s first statutory National Mitigation Plan last week, in line with its Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act, 2015, and designed to complement the country’s Paris Agreement commitment towards lowering its emissions. The 200-page document, with a foreword by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, it outlines the nation’s next era of energy engagement through to 2030 and 2050.

The first National Mitigation Plan represents an initial step to set Ireland on a pathway to achieve the level of decarbonisation required. It is a whole-of-Government Plan, reflecting in particular the central roles of the key Ministers responsible for the sectors covered by the Plan – Electricity Generation, the Built Environment, Transport and Agriculture, as well as drawing on the perspectives and responsibilities of a range of other Government Departments.

The measures that will be implemented through this first Plan will lay the foundations for transitioning Ireland to a low carbon, climate resilient and environmentally sustainable economy by 2050. This is the Government’s new blueprint for reducing greenhouse emissions in Ireland by 80 per cent before 2050.  To support this ongoing work, the Plan also includes 106 individual actions for various Ministers and public bodies to take forward as Ireland moves to implementation of what will be a living document. Importantly, the Government recognises that this first Plan does not provide a complete roadmap to achieve the 2050 objective, but begins the process of development of medium to long term mitigation choices for the next and future decades.

Environmental analysis was undertaken as part of the development of the Plan and information on how environmental considerations and the views of consultees and stakeholders influenced the Plan are set out in the Environmental Statement and the final Natura Impact Statement.

The plan has been described by Minister for Climate Action Denis Naughten as the “initial step to set Ireland on a pathway to achieve deep decarbonisation”.

The National Mitigation Plan can be downloaded from the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment website Here

Fermanagh & Omagh District Council continues commitment to sustainable development

FODC logo

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council are committed to positively contributing towards the achievement of sustainable development and as such have a Sustainable Development Policy in place which is also accompanied by an annual Sustainable Development Action Plan.

Sustainable development is about meeting the needs of people today and providing them with a good quality of life without compromising the quality of life of future generations.

It is characterised typically as achieving an optimum balance between social, environmental and economic considerations.  In achieving this balance, sustainable development aims to maximise the benefits of social, environmental and economic initiatives by mitigating negative and increasing positive impacts.

By working in accordance with our Sustainable Development Policy, Fermanagh and Omagh District Council will:

  • Consider sustainability in all its actions and decisions
  • Progressively integrate sustainability principles into its daily activities
  • Seek to increase the awareness of sustainable development generally
  • Ensure that where possible, council activities support the achievement of sustainable development
  • Strive to act as an exemplar for sustainable development, ensuring policies and actions provide a lead to the local and wider community

To download a copy of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council’s Sustainable Development Policy and Action Plan, or to find out more about sustainable development projects and initiatives which the Council are involved in, visit https://www.fermanaghomagh.com/your-council/sustainable-development/

For further information on sustainable development in general, visit http://www.sustainableni.org/

Heat Entrepreneurship generates significant benefits for the local economy

KUAS mid July

An ongoing study by Karelia UAS, Natural Resources Institute Finland (LUKE) and Finnish Forest Centre analyses local socio-economic impacts of heat entrepreneurship based on local wood fuels.

The study focuses on the case of Eno Energy Cooperative – a local heat enterprise producing annually about 15 500 MWh heat with local woodchips for both public and private customers.

In Eno, replacing heating oil with renewable alternative has resulted 4.1 MEUR cost savings in 2001-2015. The savings, resulting mainly from significant price difference, are allocated to both public municipal customers (1.8 MEUR) and private household customers (2.3 MEUR). As this income is further invested, it generates additional socio-economic benefits. Assuming that public sector used the savings for local social services and households for local retail/commerce, additional induced socio-economic income impact was about 2.85 MEUR and employment impact about 75 jobs.

These impacts, resulting of cost savings, are very significant for the local economy. As the study continues, also the forest owners’ benefits, impacts of the plant construction, and the economic supports will be considered in detail.

Eno Energy Cooperative attends GREBE EES Scheme in Finland (autumn 2017). The Co-op also shares actively identified practices through the networks of heat entrepreneurs both regionally and nationally, and is also know reference site for international visitors.

New support program for hydrogen in Norway

NSP 13-07-2017
A hydrogen fuel station in Reykjavik (Iceland)

The national public financial support agency Enova, has launched a new support program for a national rollout of hydrogen refuelling infrastructure.  Enova will now support faster growth in the use of hydrogen vehicles, and assess the growth pace and support scheme annually in accordance with vehicle development in the coming years.

Program Goals: Emission free transport sector

When the cost of hydrogen vehicles become competitive, hydrogen can be an important contributor in making the transport sector emissions free. Therefore, Enova now wants projects that help reduce costs and build experience. Enova earlier this year made it possible for the professional market to get support for the purchase of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, and the support for filling stations is well suited to this.

Targeted infrastructure development program

Enova wants to contribute to a customized and targeted infrastructure development:

Hydrogen stations that have a customer base will be given priority in the competition for the funding available. It improves the profitability of the project, and enables the Enova hydrogen program to get usage experience as early as possible. Particularly stations whose attributed to larger car fleets in commercial and public transport can provide useful operating experience quickly.

Facilitation of a faster growth

Projects which are economically successful could show both private and business professionals that hydrogen is a real alternative. In this way, the support offer facilitates a faster growth in the hydrogen market when access to hydrogen cars is increasing. If you can demonstrate that selling hydrogen is profitable, the commerical investment would take place.

Support opportunities

The program for a national rollout of hydrogen refuelling infrastructure is part of the range of support opportunities Enova has for using hydrogen in the transport sector, and Enova believe that the range of support programs will help realize a number of good hydro projects in the coming years.  Support opportunities include:

  • Innovative hydrogen technology
  • Hydrogen vehicles
  • Building of hydrogen fuel station  

New offer to public players

A new offer is that public and private players seeking support for hydrogen vehicles can also get support to build filling stations at the same time. In addition, Enova can support municipalities and county municipalities that wish to build hydrogen stations to electrify public transport services.

Business motivation

The Norwegian hydrogen business community welcomes this new national support scheme, and the country’s Hydrogen business sector is fully motivated to maximise the impact of hydrogen-based transport in Norway. But the hydrogen business sector believe even stronger actions and a clearer commitment on national level is needed for a stronger growth:

Build more and faster

Hydrogen is a competitive energy storage medium for large scale integration of renewable electricity that can be used in the Norwegian transport sector. The European Commission made this conclusion already in 2012 – let’s go for Hydrogen together with private and public players and with targeted support programs.

Hydrogen 13-07-2017

Brexit implications for business and the environment in Northern Ireland

Brexit

In addition to the 2020 renewable energy and environmental objectives, the EU has defined its new   objectives for 2030. They are a 40% reduction of greenhouse gasses, a 27% improvement in energy efficiency and a 27% share of renewable energy in the primary energy supply. This objective has been defined, including the United Kingdom and revolves around two main axes: the reduction of greenhouse gasses and the share of renewable energy in the energy supply. The United Kingdom’s exit from the EU will impact on the total commitment made for 2030.

It is unclear how this will affect Northern Ireland, which never had legally binding targets, but was expected to contribute to the overall UK commitment. Much of our Environmental and Renewable energy targets were driven by EU Directives and it remains to be seen if the Northern Ireland Assembly, which has not convened since January 2017, because of political issues, has the determination to continue to support the environment, and mitigate climate change.

Businesses in Northern Ireland have to cope with a great deal of uncertainty, even more so than their UK counterparts, because of the land border with Ireland. Over the last twelve months, since the vote for Brexit, there has little clarity about what might happen in Northern Ireland, because the political plans for the shape of Brexit have not yet been drawn up.

If, during the course of the last year, there was greater clarity about how Brexit might be delivered, then businesses could now be clearer about what they will need to do to cope with Brexit. It is remarkable that after a year, businesses probably know less about the future shape of Brexit than they did a year ago, because the roadmap is less clear and it has become even more unclear, because of the UK General Election. The level of uncertainty has increased over the year,  rather than diminished.

The issues surrounding the Renewable Heat Incentive, in Northern Ireland, have created a situation where there now appears to be a low level of trust, in both Government circles, and within social society for renewable energy. It makes the work of GREBE even more relevant in Northern Ireland, than before, and highlights the need for future policy initiatives, to support RE businesses which are trying to survive and to grow.