You are invited to attend Ireland’s first Student-led Energy Summit

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The event will take place this Thursday at 3pm in the Bailey Allen Hall, NUIG.

You can register for free at

We cannot wait to see you there!!!


Land competition between biogas plants and farmers


Northern Ireland’s expanding renewable energy industry is hungry for good quality land, pricing out farmers and now seeking leases in the Republic. Rental values for productive grassland in the north coast area of Northern Ireland have seen a sharp increase within the past fortnight as competition intensifies between larger dairy units looking to expand and farmers looking to produce grass for anaerobic digestion (AD) plants in the area.

Farmers and auctioneers report prices as high as £450/acre (€512/acre) have been paid at auction for top-quality silage ground in the Coleraine area to supply AD plants. Other auctions have seen silage ground making over £400/acre (€457/acre). With limited ground coming on to the rental market, the knock-on effect has seen conacre prices for less productive grassland in the surrounding area also rising, with reports of £200/acre (€228/acre) to £300/acre (€342/acre)being paid on leases secured in January. While some of these prices are inflated by area-based payments, there is no doubt that AD plant operators are in a strong position to bid as a result of government subsidies for AD.

Operators of AD plants in Northern Ireland have also begun to lease land south of the border to grow feedstock such as grass or maize silage. One auctioneer, one farmer and one agribusiness representative in the border area of the Republic reported that farmers in north Co Monaghan had difficulty competing with NI biogas producers for land leases. While this is reported to be on a small scale and the sources had no figures available, pressure could increase in the future as renewable energy support schemes become available from the end of this year in the Republic.


Third GREBE Industry Advisory Group meeting in Finland


The 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 third annual meeting was organized at LUKE, Metla-talo Joensuu on Thursday 22th of February 2018. Finnish GREBE project partners updated the IAG on the project developments, outcomes over the last year and presented GREBE deliverables (Robert Prinz, LUKE) and its business mentoring in Finland through the Entrepreneurship Enabler Scheme (Lasse Okkonen, Karelia UAS).

The third IAG meeting was the last meeting of the GREBE IAG with representatives from the renewable energy SMEs, research and education, business development companies, regional authority and agricultural producers and forest owners union. The IAG discussed on how to disseminate the final deliverables, cooperate with future activities and how GREBE activities can most effectively be implemented in practice, based on their own experience of working in or supporting the renewable energy.

Following the GREBE IAG meeting, the regional Poveria Biomassasta project hosted a local workshop with over 20 participants at the same premises on energy business including IAG representatives, entrepreneur enabler scheme participants and other stakeholders from the field. The workshop focused on bioenergy business models and experiences of entrepreneurs in the business area with a main topic on heat entrepreneurship and biogas delivery. The event was targeted for farmers and possible heat entrepreneurs as well as other interested stakeholders.

Use of data and technology to grow and harvest more wood


TECH4EFFECT is a collaborative research project to increase access to wood resources. Data and knowledge based management will enable more efficient silviculture and harvesting, but also reduction of soil and environmental impact from forest operations with the TECH4EFFECT benchmarking system.

The strategic objective of TECH4EFFECT is to improve the efficiency of European forest management by enabling a data-driven knowledge-based revolution of the European forest sector while also providing key incremental improvements in technology. The TECH4EFFECT (Knowledge and Technologies for Effective Wood Procurement) project recently published a new animation video:


The TECH4EFFECT project has received funding under the Horizon2020 BBI (Bio-Based-Industries) programme by the European Union. The TECH4EFFECT project objectives are relevant also for the Northern Periphery regions and GREBE partner countries.

More information about the project can be found under



Canada needs EU for the development of bioeconomy


According to the Conference Board of Canada, Northern peripheral areas in Canada have about 300 distant communities, where sustainable development for energy, waste management and clean water could be developed much further than where they currently are. Natural Resources Institute Finland sent Dr. Lauri Sikanen to Ontario to Lakehead University for four months to investigate renewable energy opportunities in distant communities.

Dr. Sikanen sees a great potential to support Canada in their development and to open also markets for European advanced technology of bioenergy and cleantech. Dr. Sikanen hosted the visit of Finnish Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Mr. Kai Mykkänen and a delegation of about 20 leading Finnish bioeconomy companies in Thunder Bay 10.-12. of October and now further steps of most promising leads are in his schedule.

Distance communities are producing their energy by transported diesel and that takes energy price in communities sky high. It is normal to pay five or even ten times higher price for energy in those communities than elsewhere.  Large numbers of communities are located in forested areas and have remarkable amount of solar and wind available as well. Using biomass, solar and wind would also bring more economic activity into communities.

EU and Canada just recently made a CETA agreement to harmonize regulations in trade between them. Now export of good and services should be easier for both, but bioeconomy development in Northern areas in Canada needs an extra attention. NPA programme already welcomes some areas of Canadian Maritimes into projects but the need for the development supported together is actually also (and even more) elsewhere. It would be good to have northern areas of provinces like Quebec and Ontario included and joint programme with Canadians could be created.

Western Development Commission undertakes biomass survey in Ireland

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The Western Development Commission is undertaking a survey of current and potential biomass use in the Western Region.  The WDC along with the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, were tasked to ‘complete a regional renewable energy analysis on the use of biomass as a local contribution to the national renewable heat target and develop a range of actions to support the development of renewable energy in the region’ under the Action Plan for Jobs.

This will inform how we support and develop biomass use in this region.  We are keen to understand more about how you operate your heating systems, any plans you have for further biomass investment or use and your general views on biomass.

All information provided will be treated in strict confidence and we hope you will click here to participate in our on-line questionnaire <>

Your support in this survey will be greatly appreciated and will help us develop the biomass sector in the Western Region, supporting jobs and growing our low carbon economy.

Further information on this survey and the reasons for undertaking it can be found WDC biomass survey background


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: