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.

Finnish roundwood harvests to a record level in 2016

 

luke 03-07-2017
Photo: Erkki Oksanen / Luke

The total amount of roundwood removed from Finnish forests for the forest industry or energy production was 70 million cubic metres in 2016. The figure was a new record and more than two million cubic metres higher than during the previous year.

According to statistics by the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), a total of 62.1 million cubic metres of roundwood were harvested for export or for the production of forest industry products. Of this volume, sawlogs accounted for 26.3 million cubic metres and pulpwood for 35.8 million cubic metres. The total volume increased by 3.3 million cubic metres or six per cent on the previous year. The industrial roundwood removals exceeded the annual average of the previous ten-year period by 9 million cubic metres or 17%.

A total of 8.2 million cubic metres of stemwood were harvested to be used as wood chips in heat and power plants or as fuelwood in residential housing. The volume decreased by 11% on the previous year, but was eight per cent higher than the average of the previous ten-year period. In addition to stemwood, logging residues and stumps were harvested from forests for energy production, totalling slightly less than three million cubic metres.

Volumes of wood to be used as wood chips are now recorded in the statistics on the basis of information reported by harvesting organisations, while in previous years the statistics were based on consumption volumes. This means that the information relating to the area where the forests are located and the right time, similarly to industrial roundwood, says Senior Statistician Jukka Torvelainen of the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke).

Total roundwood removals 70 million cubic metres, more than 85% of the maximum sustainable felling potential

The forest land used for wood production has close to 2,200 million cubic metres of roundwood. Luke estimates based on the results of the National Forest Inventory 11 that 81 million cubic metres of stemwood can be harvested in a sustainable way annually in this decade. Of this volume, 70 million cubic metres or approximately 87% were harvested in 2016. However, there was considerable regional variation in the utilisation rate of felling potential. Roundwood removals exceeded the estimated annual felling potential in many regions in Southeast Finland and in Häme. The utilisation rate for spruce was higher than that for other tree species, says Torvelainen.

Roundwood drain increased to 86 million cubic metres

The total annual drain is the combination of roundwood removals, logging residue left in the forest and naturally dead trees left in the forest. In 2016, the latter two totalled just over 15 million cubic metres, causing the annual drain to reach almost 86 million cubic metres. The volume was four per cent higher than during the previous year.

The annual increment of growing stock totals approximately 110 million cubic metres. It thus exceeded removals and natural drain by almost 25 million cubic metres even last year.” (Luke News)

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

https://www.luke.fi/en/news/finnish-roundwood-harvests-record-level-2016/

Three Finnish companies selected for the Entrepreneurship Enabler Scheme

Eno energy 29-06-2017
Eno Energy Cooperative district heating plant.

An open call for businesses to participate in GREBEs Entrepreneurship Enabler Scheme (EES) in Finland was launched in April 5th and ended in May 12th.  The three companies to participate in the EES mentoring process during next autumn are Eno Energy Cooperative, Rajaforest Ltd. and Havel Ltd.

GREBE partner Karelia UAS shared information on the Finnish EES roll-out in public industry events and website. The scheme received the attention of SMEs considering renewing their business strategy and improving production development and efficiency. The selected companies are famous for long-term operation and innovation activities in forest energy.

Eno Energy Cooperative has been an example of heat entrepreneurship based on local forest raw materials. The cooperative with 54 members (mostly forest owners), was rewarded in 2014 as a Heat Entrepreneur/enterprise of the year. The cooperative is also famous as active developer in the sector, and generates significant socio-economic benefits to its surrounding region.

Rajaforest Ltd. is a forest contracting company and a heat enterprise. The company supplies timber and forest fuels, operates three municipal biomass district heating plant in Tohmajärvi, and owns and operates one in Kesälahti.

Havel Ltd. is a metal and plastic products manufacturer located in Ilomantsi. The company is a famous innovative product developer for forest technology and forest energy sector, among others. The company has also significant growth potential, in which GREBE EES can provide tailored support.

The EES in Finland has started with preliminary interviews and mentoring sessions will begin in autumn 2017.

The GREBE Project meets with renewable energy companies in Norway

IMG_5955

As part of the GREBE Project meeting in June, the Norwegian partner, Narvik Science Park, organised visits to hydropower installations and wind parks, as well as meetings with companies operating in the renewable energy sector in Norway.

The first meeting was held with Dag Smedbold of Statkraft (https://www.statkraft.com/).  Statkraft is a leading company in hydropower internationally and Europe’s largest generator of renewable energy. The Group produces hydropower, wind power, gas-fired power and district heating and is a global player in energy market operations. Statkraft has 3800 employees in more than 20 countries.   Dag outlined their development and the leading role they play in renewable energy in Norway and in Europe, particulary in the hydro sector.

Following our meeting with Statkraft, we met with Matthew Homola of Nordkraft (http://www.nordkraft.no/).  Nordkraft is an energy group focusing on the development, development, production and distribution of all natural renewable energy. The group also has interests in power sales and other energy-related businesses.  The renewable energy production comes from magazine power plants, small hydro and wind power. The distribution network covers Narvik Municipality, as well as wall in Evenes Municipality.

The group’s history dates back to 1913, when the first power plant was put into operation in Håkvik valley in Narvik municipality. It has mainly been public or publicly-owned owners all the time, except for some years in the 2000s when Danish E2 / Dong Energy were owners. As a result of this came the wind power initiative.

Matthew brought us Nygårdsfjellet wind farm, which was acquired by Fortum  along with two other wind power projects in late 2016.  Nordkraft continue to manage and operate this project. This wind farm consists of 14 turbines with a total capacity of 32,2MW.  Windmills have an installed capacity of 2,3MW each. The entry of Nygårdsfjellet wind farm was done in two stages. The first 3 turbines were put into operation in 2006 and the last 11 in 2011. Average annual production is 105GWh, corresponding to normal consumption of about 5200 Norwegian households.

Our last visit was to Nordkrafts first power plant in Håkvik valley.  Fred Johansen of Narvik Science Park outlined the history of the development of this hydropower plant and the development of renewable energy in northern Norway.

What is the cost of Ireland not achieving its renewable energy targets?

Can we remain hopeful despite not achieving renewable targets? Michael Doran, Director, Action Renewables and GREBE project partner discusses the issues surrounding Ireland’s progress towards 2020 energy targets in his article Ireland’s Inconvenient Truth, We face a triple cost for not achieving our energy targets by 2020′

Ireland is not close to achieving its energy and emissions targets. We are currently one of four countries in Europe expected to miss the 2020 targets set out by the European Directive. The other countries set to fall short are Luxembourg, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Ireland is approximately 7% short of the 16% target. These legally binding targets from the 2009 Renewable Energy Directive, were set with the goal of reducing the greenhouse effect, securing energy supply, maximising renewables and saving money.

According to the SEAI, the cost to Ireland will be between €100-€150 million for each percentage point the country is short of the target. The SEAI report on Ireland’s Energy Targets: Progress, Ambition and Impacts depict the current progress towards achieving the targets, shown in the graph below, Figure 1.

AR 14-06-2017

The full article can be downloaded from the Action Renewables website here