Fermanagh & Omagh District Council (FODC) launch their Community Plan ‘From Talk to Action’ – 8 week Consultation

 

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Following the launch of the Community Plan, an Action Plan has been produced including actions which will help to begin to jointly tackle the major issues in the district.  A high level of partnership will be required to achieve this, with a focus on prevention and early intervention.   Some of the actions can be delivered in the short to medium term, others will take longer to fully achieve.  The draft Fermanagh Omagh 2030 Community Plan Action Plan can be downloaded here

Community Planning

Community planning brings together partner organisations from the public, private and community/voluntary sectors. Partners work together with local communities to deliver better public services which meet local needs and to improve the lives of local people.

Community planning is a new statutory duty which came into operation on 1 April 2015 as part of the full implementation of local government reform. As the lead partner, the Council is responsible for making arrangements for community planning in its area. You can find out more about the statutory duty here.

The “Fermanagh Omagh 2030” Community Plan is the overarching plan for the Fermanagh and Omagh district, bringing together the knowledge, expertise and collective resources of a wide range of partners, all working towards a single agreed vision. The Community Planning Partnership  believes that services and quality of life for all in the district can be improved by getting the public, private and community/voluntary sectors working together better towards our agreed vision and 8 long-term outcomes.

The plan has been co-designed with input from all key stakeholders including the wider community. The co-design process took place over 2015 and 2016 and the plan itself was launched in March 2017.

The draft Action Plan is available for consultation for 8 weeks between 18 December 2017 and 11 February 2018.  As the plans are about citizens place and their future, their say and engagement is important.  The Community Planning Partnership is keen to hear the views of citzens about what is included in the Action Plan.  You can complete an online survey here

FODC invite people to attend their Drop-in Public Information Events which will be held in January on the dates below.

Lisnaskea Library 16th January 2018, 6pm – 8pm

Omagh Library 17th January 2018, 10am – 8pm

Enniskillen Library 23rd January 2018, 10am – 8pm

Owenkillew Community Centre, Gortin 24th January 2018, 6pm – 8pm

Special arrangements will be made to accommodate attendees at each workshop.  Please contact FODC in advance for special requirements where requests will be accommodated where possible.  At the events, people will be given an opportunity to talk to trained facilitators who will discuss the Action Plan and note comments and input.

Following consultation, a report will be prepared and presented to the Community Planning Strategic Partnership Board for consideration before agreement of the final Action Plan.

You can make comments on the Action Plan via FODCs digital platform through Facebook and Twitter.  FODCs Facebook and Twitter accounts are @fermanaghomagh.  The Fermanagh and Omagh Community Plan also has a hashtag where all communications are brought together for collective viewing: #fermanaghomagh2030

If you would like more information about the Community Plan Action Plan, please contact Oonagh Donnelly, Community Planning Officer by telephoning 0300 303 1777, ext 20213, textphone 028 8225 6216 or email community.planning@fermanaghomagh.com

 

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Weather conditions causing blackouts in eastern Finland

KUAS

Power companies in eastern Finland have struggled for about a week to restore power to homes plunged into darkness as a result of power lines giving way under the burden of heavy snowfall shortly after the New Year.

The power companies in Kainuu, Northern Savo and Noth Karelia have deployed hundreds of electricians, and several helicopters and military vehicles to locate tree falls, and clear and repair downed power lines. Resident evacuations have been carried out in several rural municipalities due to lack of back-up heating systems and dropping temperatures. So far, about 20,000 households have experienced blackouts, some in most remote areas lasted over a week.

In Finland, national contingency planning is based on the contingency legislation stating responsibilities of organisations, institutes and privately-owned companies to prepare for emergencies. The system encompasses the society in all levels, and helps to respond in events such as experienced heavy snow and tree falls. The current operation in eastern Finland is coordinated accordingly by the Rescue Services.

The GREBE project investigates the impact of extreme weather conditions to the renewable energy business in northern and arctic peripheral areas. This includes sharing information on contingency planning, among others, which is essential topic as the latest challenges prove in the eastern Finland.

Contingency planning in Finland: https://arctic-council.org/eppr/resources/national-contingency-planning/finland/

Scotland’s First Energy Strategy

ERI Blog

The Scottish government revealed far-reaching novel strategies to increase the use of renewable fuel in electricity, transport and heat across the country, under its first ever Energy Strategy. Business, Energy and Innovation minister Paul Wheelhouse said in a statement:

“This strategy recognises and builds on our achievements to date and on Scotland’s capacity for innovation. It places consumers, and their interests, more firmly than ever at the heart of everything that we do. We are leading the way in promoting community and locally owned renewable energy – well ahead of the rest of the UK – as figures announced today demonstrate. This strategy will guide decisions of the Scottish government over the coming decades. We want to make sure, within the scope of our devolved powers, good stewardship of Scotland’s energy sector – something we have called the UK government to step up to for years.”

The Strategy sets a new objective for at least 50% of all Scotland’s heat, transport and electricity consumption to be supplied from renewable sources by 2030. Another target set by the Scottish government is a 30% increase in energy productivity across the economy. To drive advancement towards the new targets, the Scottish government promised £80m fresh investment in the energy sector – £60m for low-carbon innovation and £20m for energy investment, coupled with, a confirmation for a publicly owned energy company.

Scotland’s first Energy Strategy was published on the 20th December 2017 and details can be found here – http://www.gov.scot/Resource/0052/00529523.pdf

Ireland to test floating offshore wind concepts in Galway Bay

Galway Bay

The Irish government has confirmed that permission has been granted to use a site in Galway Bay to test marine renewable energy, including floating offshore wind. Ireland’s Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, Damien English said Ireland’s Marine Institute has been awarded a foreshore lease for the Galway Bay Marine and Renewable Energy Test Site.

The test site, located 1.5 km off the coast of An Spidéal, will allow for the deployment and testing of a range of prototype marine renewable energy devices, innovative marine technologies and novel sensors. The facility will also provide access to the SmartBay observatory allowing researchers and scientists to conduct research in the marine environment. The Marine Institute had operated a test site at the same location for 11 years until March 2017, generating a significant research knowledge base. The test site will provide researchers and those involved in developing ocean energy devices with an area in which to test and demonstrate quarter-scale prototype ocean energy converters and related technologies.

A maximum of three marine renewable energy test devices will be deployed at the test site at any time and will only be deployed for a maximum duration of 18 months, with the exception of any floating wind device which may only be deployed for a maximum of 12 months. The lease has been granted on the basis that there is no provision to export power from the test site to the National Grid. The Galway Bay test site will operate for up to 35 years, with devices on site intermittently throughout the year. Under the terms of the lease, the Marine Institute will produce an environmental monitoring plan for the test site, and make all the findings of the monitoring programme available to the public.

Published on Thursday 21st Dec 2017 by David Foxwell

 

 

GREBE publishes its seventh project e-zine

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

Since October we have continued to carry out the project activities and meet our objectives. Our 7th partner meeting in Enniskillen was hosted by Fermanagh & Omagh District Council and included a networking event and site visits. The aim was to highlight the benefits of renewable energy for SMEs and start-up businesses, and give participants the opportunity to meet with biomass experts from the Natural Resources Institute in Finland. Details can be found on page 3. A policy workshop was held by the Western Development Commission as part of their Regional Heat Study for the Western Region. Details can be found on page 4.

GREBE’s Funding Options tool has been launched and provides information on the funding mechanisms currently available in the partner regions. More details on this can be found on page 6 and is available at http://support.renewablebusiness.eu/

Another highlight for the GREBE project was the launch of the Renewable Business Portal. The Portal is an online training and networking portal which allows for flexible and easy access to training material and technology transfer information. Details can be found on page 7 and 8 and can be visited at http://renewablebusiness.eu/

Our Entrepreneur Enabler Scheme in Northern Ireland is complete and has now been launched in Finland, Scotland and Ireland. Details can be found on page 9. Our e-zine can be downloaded from the GREBE Project website here. This has been a great year as far as achieving our targets are concerned, and we have many more activities lined up for 2018.  We wish you a joyful and peaceful Christmas, and a prosperous New Year.

Hybrid solutions case information from Finland now available!

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A Case video has been published by GREBE partner LUKE on Itikka farm Iisalmi, Finland. The Itikka farm is located in a rural forest and agriculture dominated region very near to the city of Iisalmi in the region of Northern Savo, Finland. Currently energy production plays an important role in the farm´s business. The energy production on the farm includes an own biodiesel production unit, a wind turbine, solar panels and a ground source heat pump.

The Itikka farm is in a private family ownership since the year 1905. The farm has a high annual energy consumption of approximately 150 000 kWh especially high needs for seed processing and drying. The Itikka farm currently employs three external employees with one being employed in the field of energy.

The system is driven by the objective of being self-sufficient by meeting the energy demand of the farm with local resource and moving away from fossil energy. Currently a self-sufficiency of about 50-70% is achieved. Own energy consumption (electricity, heat and fuels) of about 150 MWh, drives own production. The farm has available by-products that can be utilised in bio-oil and briquette production.

The Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) has now published a GREBE video on the Itikka farm hybrid solutions case. The video is available in two language versions, English and Finnish.

Please have a look at the hybrid solution of this farm and check the English version of the case video here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWQ3NpsFsc0

The Finnish language version is available under:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_BfWx9T-ujA

The GREBE case study report on the Itikka farm can be found under:

http://grebeproject.eu/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Hybrid-Energy-Solutions-Itikan-Tila-Iisalmi-Finland.pdf

More information on the renewable business topic in general can be found from GREBE’s Renewable Business Portal under: http://www.renewablebusiness.eu

Iceland’s new government puts environmental issues and global warming at the forefront

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A new government was formed in Iceland on the 30th of November after an election in October. The Left Green movement, the independence Party and the Progressive Party joined forces and formed a government. Katrín Jakobsdóttir, chairman of the Leftist-Green Movement is Iceland’s new Prime Minister, making her the second woman to hold that position in Iceland, as well as the first ever socialist leader in the country.

In the government agreement are the environmental issues and global warming at the forefront. Iceland is guided by the goal of the Paris Agreement of 2015 to limit the average increase in temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere to 1.5°C from the reference level. The main aim of the government’s climate policy is to avoid negative effects of climate change on marine life. In no other part of the world has the temperature risen as much as it has in the Arctic. Thus, it is incumbent upon Iceland to conduct more extensive studies of acidification of the ocean in collaboration with the academic community and the fishing industry. Iceland is moreover bound to achieve a 40% reduction in emissions of greenhouse gases, based on the 1990 level, by 2030.

It is the government’s wish to go further than is envisaged in the Paris Agreement and to aim to have a carbon-neutral Iceland by 2040 at the latest. The aim is to achieve this by making a permanent reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions and also through changes in land use in accordance with internationally recognized standards and by incorporating approaches that take account of the local ecology and planning considerations. Support will be given to industrial sectors, individual enterprises, institutions and local authorities in their attempt to set themselves targets pertaining to climate-change.

The government aims to have all major public projects assessed in terms of their impact on the climate-policy targets. Concessions for new investment projects will be subject to the condition that the projects have been assessed in terms of their impact on climate and how they conform to Iceland’s international undertakings regarding reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions. Emphasis will be placed on involving all players in society, and the general public, in reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, and support will be given to innovation in this sphere. A climate council will be established and a plan of action on emission reductions will be drawn up, with a time-scale, and financed.

The plan of action will include targets regarding transport and the proportion of vehicles powered by environmentally friendly fuels in the total number of vehicles in Iceland, utilization 22 — levels of fuel and power in business and industry, the introduction of international conventions on the protection of the oceans, ‘green steps’ in state operations and a Climate Fund, and moves will be made to prohibit the use of heavy oil in vessels within Iceland’s economic zone. Collaboration will be established with sheep farmers on neutralizing the carbon emissions from sheep farming in accordance with a plan of action. Other production sectors will also be invited to collaborate on comparable projects.