Towards a more effective wood procurement – TECH4EFFECT conducted field trials with cut-to-length machines

The TECH4EFFECT (Knowledge and Technologies for Effective Wood Procurement) project successfully conducted field trials near Jyväskylä, Finland, on the efficiency of cut-to-length harvesting machines during last week. The field tests were conducted by the project partners Luke, CNR-IVALSA and Ponsse in cooperation with a contractor and their operators.

The project focuses on increasing access to wood resources through more efficient silviculture and a better understanding of the business models governing the procurement of forest operations services. The project further considers increasing efficiency in forest harvesting and collection, and the reduction of soil impact from forest operations, and puts forward ways of making this a measurable and integrated part of operational efficiency. TECH4EFFECT offers the potential to revolutionize forest operations with a state-of-the-art knowledge-based efficiency development system, providing easily accessible decision support exploiting the large amount of data available in modern industrial forest management. The ambition of TECH4EFFECT is to implement such as management tool, enhanced through 4 years of intensive R&D in close cooperation with the end-users of the Efficiency Portal in 5 participating countries. It is the project’s hope that implementation will result in such obvious benefits amongst the industrial partners that its application will become widespread within the European forest sector.

The conducted study provides information aiming at reducing fuel consumption in timber harvesting and extraction. The aim of this activity and task was to map the potential fuel saving measures in cut-to-length harvester operation.

The TECH4EFFECT project has received funding under the Horizon2020 BBI (Bio-Based-Industries) programme by the European Union. The project is led by the Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO) and has partners from Italy, Austria, Denmark, Germany, Norway, Poland and Finland. GREBE partner Luke is leading the working package “Increasing access to wood resources“ and involved in other working packages. The total budget of the project is 5.3 million euros.

The TECH4EFFECT project objectives are relevant also for the Northern Periphery regions and GREBE partner countries.

Tech4effect

 

This project has received funding from the Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 720757.

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GREBE publishes its fifth project e-zine

Grebe_Ezine_Aug2017

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

We held our 6th partner meeting in Narvik, Norway in June, and the Western Development Commission, Action Renewables, the Environmental Research Institute and the Natural Resources Institute attended the Arctic Project Clustering Event in Skelleftea, Sweden, organised by the NPA, Interreg Nord, Botnia-Atlantia and Kolartic Programmes.

Our partners in Finland and Norway held Industry Advisory Group meetings and to coincide with this, a policy workshop was organised by Narvik Science Park.  Our work is continuing on other project activities. Narvik Science Park has published a Report on Innovations from Local Technology and Business Solutions.  Our Entrepreneur Enabler Scheme in Northern Ireland is complete and we have started to roll it out in Finland and Scotland.  Full details are outlined in our e-zine which can be downloaded from the GREBE Project website here

Conversion of the Icelandic vehicle fleet to renewable energy

ICI 28-08-2017

“It is without a doubt reasonable to convert the vehicle fleet in Iceland” is the opening sentence in Visir news media from Bjarni Már Júlíusson CEO of ON Power.

The Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Björt Ólafsdóttir recently reported that they expect to see the entire vehicle fleet converted to renewable energy by the year 2030. To be able to achieve those goals the government would have to encourage further construction of electrical power stations.

Bjarni also stated an important issue in this debate is that nearly 100% energy is derived from domestically produced renewable energy and 70-80% of the population live in specific areas.

Bjarni talks about the “devils circle”. Individuals who do not change to electrical cars because there are too few power stations in the countryside and the power stations are not in the countryside because of lack of demand. Bjarni stated that this situation needs to change.

He stated that the government needs to walk the talk when it comes to this and reassure increased capital to the energy fund. The governments needs to balance the ratio between tax collections from gas and diesel against construction of power stations. In 2016 they collected around 1,9 billion ISK meanwhile energy fund spent around 200 million ISK in constructions of powerstations. “They should spent a ceartain percentage of these tax collections on the conversion process” reports Bjarni.

ICI 28-08-2017 - V2
Özur Lárusson

Özur Lárusson, CEO of the automotive trade association has another view on the time of the full conversion. Too many cars have too much lifespan left and individuals not ready to throw their fossil fuel cars for an electrical one if the former still is running. He reports that too many challenges are to be solved until we are fully ready for the conversion.

The Visir Daily News article concludes on the matters that both Özur and Bjarni agree upon. They see the development towards electrical cars is fast and see great possibilities in starting conversion of the public bus and coach transport. Stræto Ltd. for example has already ordered five buses and even though they do not have as good a range on the power supply as fossil fuel equivalents, this is a certain development in the right direction. “We just need to put more power into the process” says Bjarni.

Source from Visir daily news 5. ágúst 2017 http://www.visir.is/g/2017170809456/langskynsamlegast-ad-breyta-bilaflotanum-

Energy In Agriculture 2017 event in Gurteen College, Roscrea – Tuesday 22nd August

Energy In Agriculture 2017

The Energy in Agriculture Open Day will take place at Gurteen College, Balingarry, Roscrea next Tuesday (22nd August) from 10am. This large outdoor and indoor event includes practical demonstrations, classroom talks and demonstrations from exhibitors of energy efficient and renewable technologies for the agri-sector.  The inaugural event last year was a huge success with 1500 farmers and 45 exhibitors in attendance.  The brochure for the event can be downloaded here

Energy in Agriculture 2017 will highlight opportunities for farmers with regards to renewable energy and how they can adopt a sustainable approach to their farming processes. The event is FREE to attend. This event will feature talks on all aspects of energy use and generation on the farm, practical demonstrations and sixty industry exhibitors.

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten TD will open the event. He will also take part in a panel discussion on Sustainability in Agriculture facilitated by RTE Countrywide’s Damien O’ Reilly.

The event is being organised by Tipperary County Council in conjunction with Teagasc, Tipperary Energy Agency and the Irish Farmers Association. Paul Kenny, CEO Tipperary Energy Agency said “The full extent of climate change and our obligations are now becoming a reality for policy makers in Ireland. Rural areas will fuel and power the energy transition from imported fossil fuels to sustainable electricity and bio based energy systems. Farmers need to ensure they are up to speed on the potential for growth in this area”. Dr. Phyll Bugler, Cathaoirleach Tipperary County Council added “Tipperary County Council recognises the huge potential for the agricultural community to be part of the energy transition and to generate economic development in rural areas. The Energy in Agriculture Event seeks to highlight opportunities across all renewable energy and efficiency options, to support Ireland’s farming community in becoming leaders in reducing carbon emissions”.

New in 2017 are the FREE 1 to 1 Energy Clinics. Farmers can book an advice clinic to discuss their energy project with an expert. The clinics will be run on the themes of Finance, Legal, Energy Projects, Planning and Tax. You can book your slot in advance on www.energyinagriculture.ie

Case Studies on the day include heating and cooling in Dairy, renewable energy production on pig farms, combined heat and power (CHP) in horticulture and grain drying with straw burning. There will be a total of 18 talks on the day.

The event will also feature numerous practical demonstrations. These include the wind turbine and biomass boiler in use at Gurteen College. Attendees will see an anaerobic digester from Gas Networks Ireland at work on the day. There is also be an opportunity to see a ‘no energy’ water ram pump in action, which offers a cheap alternative to a traditional fuel or electric water pumps.

For further information, see www.energyinagriculture.ie and register online at http://energyinagriculture.ie/register/

Finnish heat enterprises investing in solar power

Solar PV at Eno
Satellite picture based 3D model of the solar PV plant in Eno (Kim Blomqvist, Karelia UAS)

The heat entrepreneurs have been actively involved in the latest developments of the solar power in North Karelia, Finland. Several investments will take place this autumn to provide renewable electricity for district heating plants.

Finnish heat entrepreneurship is mostly based on biomass. The number of heating plants has increased steadily between the early establishments in 1990’s, to 330 plants in 2006 and 618 in 2015. About 25 % of the plants were connected to the district heating network, and the median size of the heating plants is 500 kW. The heat enterprises are mostly private companies (43%), cooperatives (12.7%) and other types of firms, mostly single entrepreneurs (44.5%).

The heat entrepreneurs have become increasingly interested in solar power integrated to the heating plans. The plans have stable electricity consumption profiles, i.e. less hourly variations compared to many other end-users. The systems require very limited service and maintenance work, and profitability is better than in solar thermal. The economic analyses indicate that the new investments in DH plans located in North Karelia will have approximately 11-15 years paybacks and 5-9 internal interest rates.

The Power from the Sun project, run by Kim Blomqvist from GREBE project partner Karelia UAS, has supported the establishment of the systems in four energy enterprises in Eno, Tuupovaara, Kiihtelysvaara, Kontiolahti and Biowin Karelia Ltd. The investments have received 25% energy support from the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation. Seven solar power plans have total capacity of 70 kW, varying between 5 to 21 kW, and estimated annual production is 52 000 kWh. The systems will be provided by a local company Mirotex Ltd. and installed in September.

Fair Isle, one of the UK’s most remote inhabited islands, will soon have 24/7 supply of electricity

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Fair Isle, is a three mile long, island in northern Scotland, belonging to the Shetland island group. It is located 24 miles south of the Shetland mainland, between Orkney and Shetland.

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Since 1980, the community of Fair Isle, currently totalling 55, has been reliant on a combination of diesel generators and wind power for its electricity needs. However, none of the two, has proved to be sufficient to provide the required amount of energy. One of the two turbines has stopped working, while the other one is reaching the end of its days.

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In addition, the back-up diesel generator frequently is turned off during the night, in order to preserve fuel stocks, as deliveries are reliant on the ferry running. Thus, currently, if the wind is not blowing at Fair Isle, the lights need to be off between 11pm and 7am. Furthermore, at present there is no storage ability or capacity for new residents.  Fair Isle is yet another example of the challenges faced by peripheral, isolated, island communities. The community has acknowledged the significance of developing an infrastructure, to allow them to sustain and grow its population, as well as, to transform life on the island.

In the beginning of this year, the project was awarded over £1m of capital stage support by the Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme’s (LCITP) funding call for large scale transformational low carbon infrastructure demonstrator projects. LCITP is supported through the European Regional Development Fund and is a partnership programme led by the Scottish Government, with support from HIE, Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Futures Trust and Resource Efficient Scotland. The Scottish government has promised half the cost of the project (£1.325m), with Scottish Water and HIE Shetland pledges to match fund the project. The Big Lottery Fund has been approached for £600,000 (not yet confirmed),  the National Trust may contribute up to £100,000 and Fair Isle Electricity Company will put in £20,000. The Shetland Islands Council (SIC) political leader Gary Robinson said:

“It is clear that no stone has been left unturned in this one in search of funding. What we have here is a well thought through and carefully worked up proposal. It’s absolutely clear that Fair Isle needs to have a reliable energy scheme. I am really pleased to see the lengths gone to bring in external funding”.

The £250,000 funding granted by the Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), marks the completion of the full funding package totalling at £2.6m. Fiona Stirling, development manager at HIE’s Shetland area team, said: “It’s a key factor in attracting new people to the island as well as helping businesses to develop.”

Great Glen Consulting was selected to be the project manager assisting and developing the project, while the technical design and engineering of the project will be carried out by Arcus. The project is being led by a community group, known as the Fairs Isle Electricity Company. The company director Robert Mitchell said:

“Having a constant electricity source may help to attract more people to live in Fair Isle as well as benefit the residents. It will also bring new employment opportunities and sustain existing employment. This ambitious project is the first step in ensuring that the community of Fair Isle continues to thrive.”

The £2.65m investment is for three 60kW wind turbines, a 50kW solar array and lead-acid battery storage of 500 kW hours. According to the project manager Maurice Henderson the summary of costs is the following: £620,705 will be spent on the high-voltage system; £609,435 on the storage; £660,000 on the wind turbines; £125,000 on the solar power; £98,000 on new diesel generators; £192,000 on project management and £345,786 on a contingency fund. Mr Henderson acknowledges that the scheme is not of the highest technology quality available, but he asserts that it is intended for robust reliability, which is an essential consideration for a remote island. It is envisioned to make best use of the use of wind in times of low demand. The scheme will also extend a high voltage network to the north of the island to enable grid connections to the Scottish Water treatment works, Fair Isle Bird Observatory, the airstrip and the North Haven harbour.

South Mainland councillor Allison Duncan believes that the project would help secure the future of Fair Isle, as three new families were moving in, after years of population decline. Project manager Maurice Henderson said: “I would consider this as a key project in the development plan for Fair Isle for growing more population.”

Responding to the announcement, Stephanie Clark, Policy Manager at Scottish Renewables, said: “Renewable technologies are bringing power to remote communities which otherwise either wouldn’t have electricity, or would have to rely on diesel generators for their supply. It’s great to see Fair Isle will soon join the likes of Eigg and Gigha in taking advantage of a green electricity network. Scotland’s geography and abundant renewable energy resource make it the perfect place to test these advanced energy system.

Interest grows in large-scale solar in Ireland

AR solar 03-08-2017

Irish power utility EBS and wind specialist Bord na Móna are planning a giant solar project across three counties in the middle of Ireland. Meanwhile, large-scale PV projects with a combined capacity of 1.47 GW were submitted to the local grid operator for approval.

Ireland’s state-owned power utility Electricity Supply Board (ESB) and local wind power specialist Bord na Móna announced a plan to develop a giant PV project across four locations in Roscommon, Offaly and Kildare, in the middle of the country.

In their press release, the two companies said the plant will be able to power 150,000 homes and businesses in the area, without releasing additional information. Local media, however, reported that the installation will have a capacity of 570 MW, and that it will require a global investment of around €500 million ($545.9 million).

The Irish Minister for Communications, Climate Action, & Environment Denis Naughten welcomed the co-development agreement between ESB and Bord na Móna claiming that it will place solar technology “at the heart of the solutions needed by the Irish economy and society.”

“Wind will continue to have a major role to play in supporting the decarbonisation of our energy system, but I am acutely conscious of the need to diversify our renewable generation portfolio in order to meet our ambitious climate and energy objectives. I therefore expect other technologies, including solar, to have a growing role,” Naughten said.

This is not the first investment that ESB has made in the Irish solar sector. In October 2016, the company invested €2.5 million to acquire a majority stake in Irish company Terra Solar. “This strategic investment will see the development of multiple solar PV farms within Ireland in the future, which will result in a lower carbon footprint and contribute to increased energy production from renewable sources,” the company said at the time.

That interest in large-scale solar project is increasing in Ireland was confirmed to pv magazine by the local grid operator EirGrid, which revealed that, as of the end of February 2017, it had received approximately 1,474 megawatts of solar applications from approximately 20 developers. All of these applications were for PV projects exceeding 40 MW. “It is worth noting,” said EirGrid, “that this represents a minority of solar generation applications, the majority of which are seeking connection to the distribution system operated by ESB Networks.”

Despite this growing interest for MW-sized PV projects, Ireland has currently an installed PV capacity of around 6 MW (which is almost entirely on rooftops), according to the report Ireland’s Solar Value Chain Opportunity recently published by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland.

SEAI said that the main driver for this 6 MW was Part L of the domestic building regulations, which requires a proportion of the energy consumption of a dwelling to be provided by renewable energy sources. According to the report, almost 4,000 new dwellings recorded in the country’s Building Energy Rating (BER) database have included some solar PV generation capacity.

The Irish government has certainly shown a clear commitment to renewable energy sources within the country, but has yet to finalize its renewable energy policy or the financial incentives that will be made available to renewable developments. One thing that makes the country particularly attractive for solar PV development is the growing deployment of energy storage solutions across Ireland, which should make solar technology easier to integrate.

The Irish solar landscape could grow to around 3.7 GW by 2030, said a report released in November 2015 by the Irish Solar Energy Association (ISEA).

The report concluded that the rapid cost reduction of solar seen globally since 2008 could deliver large-scale solar in Ireland at a cost of €150/MWh, and if just €670 million in investment in the sector was forthcoming between 2017 and 2030, the solar industry of Ireland could support around €2 billion of Gross Added Value.

Further information is available at https://www.pv-magazine.com/2017/05/02/ireland-interest-grows-in-large-scale-solar/