Irelands Renewable Heat Incentive scheme to receive €7m in Budget 2018

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Minister Denis Naughton

Irelands Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe announced that a total budget of €17 million will go towards the RHI scheme and the encouragement of greater uptake of electric vehicles as part of Ireland’s commitment to its climate change obligations.

€7 million will be allocated for the government’s long-anticipated Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme in 2018. The allocation is lower than predicted by industry representatives, but with applications only expected to open in the second half of 2018, next year will not be a full operational year for the scheme.  The scheme is aimed at encouraging industrial and commercial heat users, in the Republic of Ireland, to switch to greener technologies.  An RHI scheme was first considered as part of the Bioenergy strategy consultation in 2013, and included in the Draft Bioenergy Plan in 2014.

The RHI will support the replacement of fossil fuel heating systems with renewable energy systems – such as biomass boilers. The scheme will present a significant opportunity for the domestic bioenergy sector benefiting farmers, foresters and rural communities.

Further details on the RHI scheme can be found on the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment website http://www.dccae.gov.ie/en-ie/energy/consultations/Pages/Renewable-Heat-Incentive-Consultation.aspx

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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 roundwood harvests to a record level in 2016

 

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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/

Heat entrepreneurship meeting in Lieksa, Finland

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Esa Kinnunen (Finnish Forest Centre) presenting the socio-economic benefits of the Eno Energy Co-op

The heat entrepreneurs of North Karelia and Savo regions met in Lieksa to discuss the recent development of the sector. The meeting of entrepreneurs and bioenergy developers focused on the work safety aspects, the potential of the solar energy systems integrated in district heating, and the socio-economic benefits of bioenergy.

The importance of the work safety issue was emphasized by presentations on risk assessments, safety issues along the supply-chain and at the heating plant, and on legislation requirements. Practical examples were given on the realised risks – such as deaths in silos – and how they could have been avoided.

Eno Energy Cooperative is a famous example of a heat enterprise positively affecting at the regional economy. Bioenergy and bioeconomy specialist Esa Kinnunen from the Finnish Forest Centre presented the latest socio-economic study of the Eno Energy Co-op. The estimated socio-economic impacts of cost savings (i.e. replacing heating oil with renewable biomass) during the past 15 years have been about 75 jobs and 2.8 MEUR.

The heat entrepreneurs are considering investments on the solar energy systems integrated in the DH plans; technical and economic aspects of the PV and solar thermal were presented by Karelia UAS Renewable energy specialist Kim Blomqvist. Kim also presented the currently open GREBE Entrepreneurship Enabler Scheme call for local enterprises in Finland – heat entrepreneurs are among the key target groups of the scheme.

Burning of fresh woodchips – discussion in the Finnish forest energy sector

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In the autumn of 2015, a 10 MW grate boiler plant and a modern flue gas scrubber with a heat pump connection were commissioned at Kauhavan Kaukolämpö Oy’s Kauhava plant. The concept of the plant and operations is based on the burning of fresh woodchips – from harvesting timber through the logistical chain to burning and heat recovery. Based on the operational experience of the past winter, the concept of using fresh woodchips is working very efficiently, providing significant cost savings in the acquisition of fuel to the plant operator. Despite high moisture, the burning of woodchips can be controlled and specific emissions are low. 

As a concept, the burning of fresh woodchips is new and rather heretical. The traditional way to burn woodchips is to store the felled timber on roadsides and allow them to dry before chipping and burning. Practical issues of logistics have also contributed to this model. It can be assumed that the concept of fresh woodchips works efficiently in part because a significant portion of the volatile components contained in timber is included in combustion, rather than allowed to evaporate into air.

The use of fresh woodchips requires a completely new kind of thinking from the plant and logistics. The concept can also be applied to old plants if the structure of the boiler is suitable for burning moist fuel. Fresh fuel also sets some requirements for the fuel storage and fuel supply systems.

An essential part of the system is, however, a flue gas scrubber system that efficiently recovers heat from flue gases, condensing the moisture of the fuel vaporised in the boiler. The scrubber should work reliably and efficiently under all conditions, regardless of the variation in the return temperature of district heating. With a heat pump integrated in the scrubber, flue gases can be cooled efficiently to even below +30°C, making it possible to utilise a significant part of the condensation heat of the water contained in the flue gas. For the purpose of optimising and ensuring the profitability of heat production, a heat pump scrubber has, in practice, been established as the only potential recovery technology for lost heat.

Summarized from article by Mika Nummila: http://www.elomatic.com/en/elomatic/expert-articles/voc-emissions-of-timber-felled-for-fuel-%E2%80%93-a-significant-energy-loss.html

Bioenergy 2017 – The IrBEA National Bioenergy Conference – 9th February 2017

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2017 will be a pivotal year for Ireland’s energy policy; the industry expects clarity by then for roll-out of a Renewable Heat Incentive.  It’s agreed that we need to move towards clean technologies, currently in Ireland we have a renewable market share of 8.7% – Bioenergy contributed to 2% of this. It’s imperative that the Irish government builds an energy policy that allow for greater growth in the Bioenergy sector – this will be under discussion at the IrBEA National Bioenergy Conference.

IrBEA will again have a strong line up of speakers, both international and national, presenting industry models, policy perspectives and investment opportunities to stimulate lively discussion and strong media coverage.  Speakers will discuss their experiences of working in Ireland with the current energy policy framework.  A full agenda for the conference can be downloaded here

Recent budget spending announcements will also be discussed, how would we like to see the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE) spend their extra €50m budget or the capital spend of €90m on climate change actions which was announced.

The conference will give delegates and exhibitors an opportunity to network. IrBEA also plan to organise a network dinner after the event around 6.00pm. Organisations interested in sponsoring elements of the conference (whole or parts of) are asked to contact Teresa O’Brien contact@irbea.ie

Register here for Bioenergy 2017

Forest biomass, carbon neutrality and climate change mitigation

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A new report on “Forest biomass, carbon neutrality and climate change mitigation” has been recently published by the European Forest Institute (EFI) with involvement of the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) within EFI´s “From Science to Policy” series.

“World leaders finalized a historic global agreement to combat climate change in Paris in December 2015. They agreed on the need for global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to peak as soon as possible; to achieve GHG neutrality in the second half of this century; and to hold global warming well below 2°C relative to pre-industrial levels.”

“A key issue in the debate about the climate impacts of bioenergy is the question of ‘carbon neutrality’: bioenergy systems can influence the cycling of biogenic carbon between the biosphere and atmosphere, but studies sometimes disregard this when estimating GHG balances. In other words they assume that bioenergy systems can be considered neutral in regard to the biosphere-atmosphere CO2 flows.”

“This report provides insights into the current scientific debate on forest biomass, carbon neutrality and climate change mitigation. Its objective is to provide a balanced and policy-relevant synthesis on the issue, taking into account EU and global perspectives. Other societal objectives and interests are briefly touched upon but the focus is on climate change mitigation.”

The link to the series on EFI pages can be found here: http://www.efi.int/portal/policy_advice/publications/from_science_to_policy/fstp3/