Renewable energy demonstration network to be established in North Karelia, Finland

Solar PV Joensuu
A Solar PV of 27 kW, Etra / Green Park, Joensuu.

Poveria Biomassasta Project (Power from the Biomasses), collaborating with the NPA Project GREBE, is establishing a network of renewable energy demonstration sites in North Karelia, Finland.

Several of the sites, such as Eno Energy Cooperative or small-scale combined heat and power of Kuittila Power Ltd., are already famous examples of sustainable energy at the local level. Together with updates of current sites, there are number of new examples for demonstrating new technologies and business models. Poveria Biomassasta will gather the energy sites as a demonstration network and provide access to them through the GREBE Renewable Energy Business Portal.http://www.renewablebusiness.eu/

The energy enterprises in North Karelia have joint development on the integration of solar energy solutions into district heating plants – and a new project, Poveria auringosta (Power from the Sun), has been launched for the purpose. The project will support attending enterprises in energy system planning and carrying out the investments and follow-up. In addition, there has been new interest in energy storage opportunities in the region, and several investments for energy storage are prepared. The practices in wood energy, technology manufacturing, and hybrid systems will also be demonstrated through the network.

The renewable energy demonstration network in North Karelia will be launched at the end of 2017. Karelia UAS will provide further information of the demonstration network and available case examples through the GREBE and Poveria Biomassasta projects.

GREBE participates in Galway Chamber’s Energy Conference

Panel-Discussion-3

The GREBE Project participated in Galway Chamber’s energy conference in the Galway Bay Hotel on Friday 12th May 2017.  As part of the panel on the International Perspective, Pauline Leonard (GREBE Project Co-ordinator) stressed the benefits of renewable energy for the social and economic development of peripheral regions and the benefits of working with international partners in terms of technology and knowledge transfer. Other participants on the international panel included Chris Stark (Scottish Government Director of Energy and Climate Change), Denise Massey (MD of Energy Innovation Centre UK), Alex White (Energy Policy Group Chair at the Institute of International & European Affairs and former Minster for Energy) and Jim Mulcair (Chairman of Roadbridge).

The conference was organised by Galway Chamber of Commerce and its president Conor O’Dowd expects to see 30% more people living in Galway by 2050. Minister of State for Natural Resources Seán Kyne TD, outlined the Government’s position on the energy sector and stressed how important this sector is to the region.  The leader of the Green Party, Eamon Ryan highlighted the need for a zero carbon society by 2050

The conference was sponsored by Coillte and SSE, and James O’Hara of SSE stated that the development of Galway Wind Park will herald a huge increase in renewable electricity generation in the West of Ireland.  It will involve 69 turbines, powering up to 84,000 homes and effectively replacing 190,000 tonnes of carbon generated electricity each year.  The wind park near Moycullen will become Ireland’s largest onshore wind farm to date and will assist Galway in achieving the status of a net exporter of renewable energy.

Brian Sheridan of the Galway Harbour Company and John Breslin of SmartBay outlined the potential for marine energy in the region, with discussions about offshore wind and the generation of wave and tidal power.

The third energy market package agreed between EU and EEA/EFTA states

The Third Energy Market Package – EU energy market rules, were incorporated into the EEA/EFTA Agreement last week. Norway and the EU are closely connected through the energy market – by including the Third Energy Market Package into the EEA/EFTA Agreement, Norwegian actors are secured access to the EU-market. 

NSP 18-05-2017

The aim of the Third Energy Package is to improve the functioning of the Internal Energy Market. The package separates energy supply and generation from the operation of transmission networks, and strengthens the independence and cooperation of energy regulators. It also covers cross-border cooperation between transmission system operators and increases transparency in retail markets to benefit consumers. The Joint Committee Decision (JCD) contains substantial adaptations necessary for the participation of the EEA EFTA States in the Internal Energy Market. The approval of the Third Energy Package – by both sides – is the result of constructive discussions between the EU and the EEA EFTA States.

25th anniversary – The EEA Joint Committee provides a forum for the EEA EFTA States and the EU to exchange views and take decisions by consensus to incorporate EU legislation into the EEA Agreement. The meetings last week marks the 25th anniversary of the signing of the EEA Agreement since the first one in Porto, Portugal. The Agreement brings together the EU and EEA EFTA States in a Single Market, ensuring legal homogeneity. Since its entry into force in 1994, a lot of  acts have been incorporated.

EEA – The European Economic Area (EEA) brings together the EU Member States and three of the EFTA States (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway). It was established by the EEA Agreement, an international agreement which enables these three EFTA States to participate fully in the Single Market. The objective of the EEA Agreement is to create a homogenous European Economic Area. All relevant EU legislation in the field of the Single Market is integrated into the EEA Agreement so that it applies throughout the whole of the EEA, ensuring uniform application of laws relating to the Single Market.

NSP 18-05-2017 - v2

Renewable energy sector – The Third Energy Package Agreement between EEA/EFTA and EU is also of importance for the renewable sector in Norway – this means that there will be a close connection to the EU renewable energy market.

Repowering onshore wind in the Highlands and Islands

wind turbine 16-05-2017

Planning permissions and consents for onshore wind farms in the UK generally require decommissioning and restoration after a 25-year lifetime. With some of the earliest windfarms being built in the early 1990s we are starting to look at what happens next. With proper operations and maintenance, there is no reason that windfarms can’t operate past this lifetime, especially if they’re receiving ROC payments.

It is important if we want to continue to decarbonise the economy that these existing consented sites continue to produce low carbon electricity and this is represented in Scottish Planning Policy:

‘Proposals to repower existing wind farms which are already in suitable sites where environmental and other impacts have been shown to be capable of mitigation can help to maintain or enhance installed capacity, underpinning renewable energy generation targets. The current use of the site as a wind farm will be a material consideration in any such proposals.’

We are now coming to a stage where many of the first windfarm sites using small clusters of 600KW turbines at around 70m in tip height are coming to the end of their operational lifetime. In many cases, and in eventually in all cases it will be more economic to “repower” the site.

There are numerous benefits in utilising a site, which is already powered: they are grid connected, planned for and there’s years of real data that can inform new design. There can be some difficulties if bases needed replaced or grid connection needs upgraded, the key however is that the sites have the planning permissions in place, if not for larger turbines.

Some sites might even be economically viable to repower before the 25-year lifetime is achieved due to the financial performance of the site and the rapid evolution and increase in wind turbine size. The progress in the last 20 years has been phenomenal with prices tumbling as hub height increases and economies of scale are seen.

There are many options for repowering sites such as maintaining the grid connection capacity by increasing turbine size but lowering numbers. Some sites may wish to maintain turbine numbers but increase the size and capacity but how do these large turbines affect the visual requirements of the area? Sometimes few larger turbines are deemed more acceptable.

Although many sites will not be considered for repowering before the mid-2020s the procedures need to be put in place now and trialled on some of the earliest Highland wind farms. Given the time it has taken to consent these original windfarms there can’t be considerable downtime between decommissioning and repowering considering the ambitious decarbonisation targets the Scottish Government has set.

In an ideal world, we would move to planning for perpetuity.

South West College in Northern Ireland lead the Digital and Environmental Skills for Facilities Management (DEFMA) Project

DEFMA

The DEFMA project is co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union, which involves the development and making available of educational resources & materials for facility managers that aim to address the existing occupational digital and green skills needs and strengthen the employability of the profession across the EU.

South West College in Northern Ireland are the lead partner in the project which commenced last Autumn and will be completed in March 2019.  South West College is also an associated partner of the GREBE Project. DEFMA is being implemented by a partnership of five partners from five countries. The composition of the consortium guarantees that all aspects of the work plan are carried out in a competent way, ensuring high quality outcomes and efficient and effective working methods.

The Consortium of the DEFMA project consists of the following organizations:

  1. SWC -South West College, United Kingdom
  2. PROMEA -The Hellenic Society for the Promotion of Research and Development Methodologies, Greece
  3. SNS –Scuola Nazionale Servizi Foundation alongside Facility Management companies, Italy
  4. BGFMA -Bulgarian Facility Management Association, Bulgaria
  5. VSRC -Vilnius Builders Training Centre, Lithuania

The main objective of DEFMA is to develop and make available to stakeholders, organizations and companies, a novel training program on sustainable environmental management that will empower facility managers with a new skill set of competences related to energy efficiency technologies and building sustainability issues, connecting in this way Vocational Education and Training programmes with the needs of the sustainable building sector. At the same time, the DEFMA project will facilitate the validation of developed earning outcomes at European level.

Facility managers, apart from technical and management competencies, require a combination of digital and environmental skills to be able to maintain high-performance buildings capable of significantly reducing energy and water consumption. There is thus an increasing need to equip facilities managers with the skills and capacities required to:

a) support carbon emission reduction measures,

b) monitor resources consumption,

c) use “smart” building controls and up-to-date environmental technology systems (e.g. building automation),

d) identify energy losses and water leaks, rectify small faults, and carryout simple maintenances.

The project will address this challenge by increasing the relevance of VET provision for facilities managers to match their competences and skills with environmental and sustainability needs of the built environment and promote employability and mobility within the sector.

The development of the DEFMA curriculum and all related educational resources are expected to be completed in the upcoming months. It’s worth noting that all educational resources (learning units, educational material, training manuals) will be freely available online for non-profit use in the form of a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course).

Further information can be obtained from the project coordinator at South West College at defmaproject@gmail.com or on the website http://www.defma-project.eu/

Report reveals massive range of UK wind, wave and tidal energy industries’ exports

Offshore wind

A report published by RenewableUK shows for the first time that UK-based companies working in the wind, wave and tidal energy sectors are exporting goods and services worldwide on a massive scale. 

Export Nation: A Year in UK Wind, Wave and Tidal Exports” reveals that in 2016, an illustrative sample of 36 UK-based firms featured in the report signed more than 500 contracts to work on renewable energy projects in 43 countries in Africa, Asia, North America, South America, Europe and Australasia. The contracts featured ranged in value from £50,000 up to £30 million each.

This is the first time that the industry has assessed the extent of Britain’s global reach in these innovative technologies, and the wide range of products and services we sell overseas. The diverse reach of the contracts indicates that the UK is well placed to benefit from the $290bn global renewables market, trading with countries inside and outside the EU.

Projects featured include: Gaia-Wind in Glasgow which is exporting small onshore wind turbines as far afield as Tonga; JDR Cables which is manufacturing massive subsea power cables in Hartlepool for German offshore wind farms; and Sustainable Marine Energy in Edinburgh, which is making tidal turbine platforms for Singapore. The UK’s world-leading wave and tidal testing centres off the coasts of Cornwall and Orkney are highlighted as the destinations of choice for global companies testing full-size devices in real sea conditions.

The UK is exporting its knowledge too, with renewable energy consultancy firms in places such as Bristol, Newcastle, Colchester and Winchester, winning contracts to plan and oversee the development of wind farms and other renewable energy projects in dozens of countries including the USA, China, India, Chile, Japan, Indonesia, Taiwan and Mauritius.

RenewableUK’s Executive Director Emma Pinchbeck said: “The UK’s wind, wave and tidal energy exports are great British success stories on the international stage. Our businesses are securing hundreds of contracts, worth millions of pounds, across six continents. Our leadership in this $290bn renewables marketplace will be even more important as we leave the EU.   

“We need to act swiftly to retain this competitive advantage or other nations will capitalise on the hard work our businesses have done to build opportunities. This year, as part of its Industrial Strategy, the Government will be looking to identify and support world-leading, innovative industries with global trade potential. This report shows that the UK’s wind and marine energy sectors can offer much to the Government’s Industrial Strategy. Britain must secure its position as a leading exporter in tomorrow’s global energy market”.  

The study is released in the same week as the Global Wind Energy Council’s annual report (on Tuesday 25th April), which will highlight developments in the international wind energy market, offering further opportunities for British exporters.

Notes:

  1. RenewableUK is the trade and professional body for the wind, wave and tidal energy industries. Formed in 1978, and with more than 400 corporate members which employ more than 250,000 people, RenewableUK is the country’s leading renewable energy trade association.
  2. The report is available here (NB it is a large file which will take several minutes to download). The study covers a sample of 36 companies based on a survey of member companies by RenewableUK. It also includes data from publicly announced contracts.  In 2016, these 36 companies signed 557 export contracts for work on 527 renewable energy projects overseas in the onshore wind, offshore wind, wave and tidal energy industries. These range from individual orders for small turbines to multi-million pound contracts to provide massive components and heavy-duty infrastructure for offshore wind farms. The actual number of UK companies exporting, and the number of contracts signed, will be higher as the sample represents less than 10% of RenewableUK’s membership.  The purpose of this study was to begin to assess the extent of export activity among UK-based wind, wave and tidal energy companies.
  3. The UK wind industry has an annual turnover of more than £5.9 billion in direct economic activity, according to the Office for National Statistics. This rises to over £11.3 billion when indirect economic activity is included. Offshore wind alone is bringing over £20 billion in investment to Britain over the course of this decade.
  4. GWEC’s annual Global Wind Market Report will be published on Tuesday 25th April. It provides a comprehensive snapshot of the global wind industry in more than 80 countries. This year’s edition includes insights into the 20 top wind markets across the world, including new entrants Vietnam and Argentina, and a five-year global market forecast out to 2021.

LUKE and Karelia UAS hold GREBEs second Industry Advisory Group meeting in Finland

Finland IAG May 2017
GREBE partner Lasse Okkonen (Karelia UAS) presenting at the Finnish Industry Advisory Group meeting

GREBE Industry Advisory Group (IAG) contributes towards dissemination of GREBE outputs and learnings among their wider networks, including at local, regional and national policy level where possible.

The second annual meeting was organized at LUKE, Metla-talo Joensuu on Wednesday 26th of April 2017.  Finnish GREBE project partners updated the IAG on the project developments and outcomes over the last year, introduced the GREBE Renewable Business Portal (Robert Prinz, LUKE) and its contribution to the business mentoring through the Entrepreneurship Enabler Scheme (Lasse Okkonen, Karelia UAS).

The group discussion was interesting and highlighted the importance of marketing & sales skills in companies and SME´s. The discussion also included the planned online/virtual course preparation and video production of Finnish technology & renewable energy cases showing the entire chain from the raw material to the end-use. The IAG provided valuable insights for the GREBE activities on support scheme, business calculations, entrepreneur enabler scheme and demonstration cases and mentioned the importance of National languages in dissemination material such as in videos or other selected material.

IAG also discussed on how to link and work together with other activities, projects and support and how GREBE activities can most effectively be implemented, based on their own experience of working in or supporting the renewable energy. The IAG in Finland includes representatives from the renewable energy SMEs, research and education, business development companies, regional authority and agricultural producers and forest owners union.