Government approves scheme to diversify green energy

DNaughten

A new scheme designed to diversify the State’s renewable energy production and boost its chances of meeting key EU targets has been approved by the Government. The Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) is designed to help the State meet its renewable pledges up to 2030. Its first priority is to boost renewable energy production quickly to help turn 16 per cent of the State’s energy needs “green” by 2020. The scheme will incentivise the introduction of sufficient renewable electricity generation by promoting investment by community groups in green projects. Offshore wind and tidal projects will be central if the State is to meet its targets, while it is expected to also support an immediate scale-up of solar projects. Projects looking for support under the scheme will need to meet pre-qualification criteria, including offering the community an opportunity to invest in and take ownership of a portion of renewable projects in their local area.

Auction system

The RESS scheme introduces a new auction system where types of energy will bid for State support. It is proposed that the scheme be funded through the Public Service Obligation Levy, which is a charge on consumers to support the generation of electricity from renewable sources. Individual projects will not be capped, but the Government will limit the amount that a single technology, such as wind or tidal, can win in a single auction. The auctions will be held at frequent intervals throughout the lifetime of the scheme to allow the State to take advantage of falling technology costs. The first auction in 2019 will prioritise “shovel-ready projects”. “By not auctioning all the required capacity at once, we will not be locking in higher costs for consumers for the entirety of the scheme,” Minister for the Environment Denis Naughten said. In effect it should make it easier for solar and offshore wind to get investment, yielding multiple billions for green projects over the next 15 years.

2020 vision

It is hoped renewable energy will represent 40 per cent of the State’s gross electricity consumption by 2020, and 55 per cent by 2030, subject to determining the cost-effective level that will be set out in the draft National Energy and Climate Plan, which must be approved by the EU and in place by the end of 2019. In addition the scheme is intended to deliver broader energy policy objectives, including enhancing security of supply. “This scheme will mark a shift from guaranteed fixed prices for renewable generators to a more market-oriented mechanism [auctions] where the cost of support will be determined by competitive bidding between renewable generators,” said Mr Naughten. The next step for the Government is to secure EU approval for the package, which typically takes six to nine months. It is estimated that the first auction will be in the second half of next year.

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/environment/government-approves-scheme-to-diversify-green-energy-1.3575492

Advice Notes on Wind Technology Economics for the NPA Region

Biomass

The Advice Notes aim to provide introductory material for entrepreneurs, startups and SME’s, considering to enter into the renewable energy sphere and based in the NPA regions partners to GREBE. The scope of the Advice Note covers regional, trade and industry, renewable energy (RE), technology information from Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Iceland and Finland. Different partner regions have different level of deployment of the various RE technologies covered by the Advice Notes. Thus, the level of information will vary depending on the level of deployment for each technology. For example, wind is not deployed on a large scale in North Karelia (Finland); however, it is widely deployed in Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Full details are available on the GREBE website:

http://grebeproject.eu/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/GREBE-Advice-Notes-Biomass.pdf

The focus of the Advice Notes is on regional information of some of the main economic characteristics sited as imperative, when making an informed choice, regarding which RE technology may be the optimal choice for a new business venture:

  • Costs and economics associated with the relevant technology
  • Support schemes available, relevant to the technology
  • Government allowance/exemptions, relevant to the technology
  • Funding available for capital costs of the relevant technology
  • List of the relevant to the technology suppliers/developers, with focus on local/regional, suppliers/developers and the products and services they offer.

The economics of a biomass system are governed by the capital cost, the biomass fuel cost, the offset fuel costs and the incentives available. The capital cost of a biomass boiler is dependent upon the size, fuel type used and level of automation of the system.

Biomass is the world’s fourth largest energy source, contributing to nearly 14% of the world’s primary energy demand. The most common fuel is wood, which can be supplied in three forms; logs, chips and compressed wood pellets. However, biomass energy also includes energy crops, food waste streams, agricultural residues, industrial wastes and residues which can be used for heating in certain, specific circumstances. A range of biomass boilers are available, in sizes to suit homes, small businesses, community buildings through to large hospitals and industrial processes. A reliable feedstock supply chain is vital for the economic viability of a biomass boiler system.

Fuel costs are central when considering the levelled cost of electricity, since ongoing running costs far outweigh capital investment. Thus, it is imperative before considering investment in a biomass boiler system to ensure that the right fuel can be sourced locally. Economic benefits of biomass include relatively inexpensive resources; locally distributed energy sources provide constancy and reliability, price stability and generation of employment opportunities in rural communities. Risks included price volatility and availability of feedstock.

Farmers warned felling licences taking a year to process – IFA

2014-10-21_bus_3962775_I1 (1)

Forestry felling licenses are taking up to a year to process farmers are being warned by the IFA. National Farm Forestry Chairman, Pat Collins said that the latest IFA Timber Price report shows that palletwood prices have increased by up to 15pc since February, while average sawlog prices are in excess of €85/tonne. Pat Collins said, “With demand for timber predicted to remain high at a domestic and global level, it is a good time to consider forestry. There are several options available under the Afforestation and Woodland Creation scheme to suit the soil, size, location and management objectives”.

He said that the size of a viable forest from a timber perspective is very location specific, for example a small forest that is near a road and easy to work can generate comparable timber incomes per hectare as a larger forests, particularly if managed as part of a harvesting cluster. “For those who have already planted, but who have not managed the forest or have timber in hard-to-access locations – now is the time to have your asset valued and look at realising a good price”. A farmer is legally required to apply to the Forest Service for a felling license before they can fell a tree in his plantation. If you are planning to apply for a felling licence, approvals can take up to 12 months to issue.

“Farmers are very concerned with the delays in getting felling licence approval”, said Mr. Collins. “The introduction of a single 10 year felling licence and the new public consultation process, although welcomed, is causing further delays”. He said that the Department must work to reduce the turnaround time for felling licence approvals so farmers can avail of the strong timber prices.

https://www.independent.ie/business/farming/forestry-enviro/forestry/farmers-warned-felling-licences-taking-a-year-to-process-ifa-36945543.html

Advice Notes on Biomass CHP Technology Economics for the NPA Region

Biomass CHP

The Advice Notes aim to provide introductory material for entrepreneurs, startups and SME’s, considering to enter into the renewable energy sphere and based in the NPA regions partners to GREBE. The scope of the Advice Note covers regional, trade and industry, renewable energy (RE), technology information from Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Iceland and Finland. Different partner regions have different level of deployment of the various RE technologies covered by the Advice Notes. Thus, the level of information will vary depending on the level of deployment for each technology. For example, wind is not deployed on a large scale in North Karelia (Finland); however, it is widely deployed in Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Full details are available on the GREBE website:

http://grebeproject.eu/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/GREBE-Advice-Notes-biomass-chp-2.pdf

The focus of the Advice Notes is on regional information of some of the main economic characteristics sited as imperative, when making an informed choice, regarding which RE technology may be the optimal choice for a new business venture:

  • Costs and economics associated with the relevant technology
  • Support schemes available, relevant to the technology
  • Government allowance/exemptions, relevant to the technology
  • Funding available for capital costs of the relevant technology
  • List of the relevant to the technology suppliers/developers, with focus on local/regional, suppliers/developers and the products and services they offer.

Combined heat and power (CHP) is a method that delivers both heat and power on site in a single, highly efficient process, normally over 80% efficiency. CHP creates electricity and as a by-product of the generation process it produces heat. Wood biomass is fed into the CHP system similar to a normal biomass boiler and the produced gas is then fed to an engine which is connected to a generator generating electricity while the heat produced, can be fed into a heating system. Biomass is the world’s fourth largest energy source, contributing to nearly 14% of the world’s primary energy demand.

Small scale (<100kW) and micro-scale (<15kW) biomass CHP are particularly suitable for applications in commercial buildings, such as hospitals, schools, industrial premises, office building blocks, and domestic buildings. Optimum system design and implementation is crucial for cost-effective operation and it is established that the best economic performance come about with high load factors when the maximum amount of both electricity and heat sold on-site is maximised.

 

Finnish experience in co-operative partnerships in small forest-based local heating energy businesses – outcomes from the MADIE project

LUKE1LUKE2

The MADIE project published a booklet which highlights the economics and organizational aspects of small local heating energy supply schemes set up in rural regions as a market-driven business by their owners for earning them a profit and, apart from private self-interests, for promoting the social claims of their stakeholders.

The booklet tells about the Finnish experience in co-operative partnerships, especially in small forest-based local heating energy businesses. Start-up entrepreneurs and their partners need inspiration and guidance in how to establish and operate their business successfully. Besides technical and market information, for starting and organizing a business, multifaceted upfront information is needed. Here, decisions as to the legal form, ownership, liabilities, participation rights and selecting the right partners, are crucial for the continuity of the business. There is a need for arguments that help persuade stakeholders about the legitimacy of the business and related social benefits.

The booklet addresses, among others, forest owners, rural entrepreneurs and their public stakeholders. Policy makers have been attracted by a business model that meets the triple bottom line: by offering an attractive return to investment, providing support to renewable energy transition, and creating jobs and income in rural economies. Co-operatives have been able to demonstrate to be a convenient participatory model of organizing joint business activities.

The booklet, with its focus on renewable energy co-operatives, contributes to the outcomes of the MADIE-project, an initiative supported by the European Union’s Erasmus programme, which offers a comprehensive range of views on multifunctional agriculture as a driver for innovation in rural Europe.

MADIE is funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union and coordinated by the German Starkmacher e.V. with partners Natural Resources Institute Finland (LUKE, Finland), County Governor of Hordaland (Norway), NAK Nonprofit Kft. (Hungary) and Terre di loppiano srl (Italy).

The booklet “Co-operatives and forest-based heating entrepreneurship in a rural setting – the Finnish experience” can be found from here or from the library at https://www.ruralacademy.org/contents

The booklet is available in English and also in Finnish (as summary report from the English version).

Information gained during the MADIE project are beneficial also for the GREBE project and are supporting the activity towards a guideline supporting enterprises in introducing new to market energy solutions.

Online Presentation on the Community Farming Model and the REDIRECT project, Thursday 21st June from 11am – 12pm

Online Discussion

The ReDirect Ireland project would like to invite you to an online meeting on Thursday 21st June from 11am – 12pm. This is an opportunity to hear the details of a ReDirect Partner approach. In Wales a community trust called ‘Cwm Harry’ are taking existing residual biomass, putting it through the ‘IFBB’ process, followed by a pyrolysis, with the intent of producing biochar or activated carbon products and by-products for sale in the economy. They are in the process of getting the site operational. 

An online discussion around the community farm model experience in FFarm Moelyci (Wales) and the RE-DIRECT project aims to utilise waste or low value biomass for the production of energy and value added carbon products such as biochar and activated carbon.

Click here to register.

Contact:

Mr. Stephen McCormack, stephenmccormack@wdc.ie with any queries.

IrBEA Seeks to Appoint a Chief Executive

irbea1

A New chief executive is being recruited for the Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) to champion the case of the growing bioenergy sector, including wood energy, biomass, anaerobic digestion and biogas and energy crops.

The new recruit will lead and manage the busy Association’s activities and will operate under the direction of the President and the Board of Directors. He/she will also lead, manage and oversee the administration and business of the Association, Des O’Toole, IrBEA President, said.

“IrBEA is looking for candidates with a minimum of three years proven management and leadership in a member association, or an SME, with a degree-level qualification, familiarity with good corporate governance practice and an understanding of the Renewable Energy/Bioenergy sectors in Ireland. They should have some experience of working with stakeholders in the sector and in the relevant Government Departments.”

IrBEA is a members’ association with approximately 170 members. It features a number of sub-groups covering, typically, Bioenergy Northern Ireland, Biogas and Anaerobic Digestion, District Heating, Domestic Biomass Fuels, Energy Crops, REFIT and Grid Connections, Renewable Heat Incentive. The Association sponsors and provides administrative support to the Wood Fuel Quality Assurance Scheme.

The new Chief Executive will be required to work with the President and Board of Directors to define and implement strategy in accordance with the constitution of the association. He/she will provide effective leadership to the staff of the Association and be responsible and accountable for the proper management and safeguarding of all funds under the control of the Association, consistent with good financial management.

The position will be offered as a two-year contract, with a 6-month probationary period. The new Chief Executive will be expected to work full-time from the IrBEA office which is currently located in DCU Alpha, Glasnevin. The salary is negotiable.

  • Completed applications should be emailed to the IrBEA secretary, Padraic O’Neill, at padraic@envirovalue.ie by 12 pm on Friday 6th July 2018. A detailed job specification including the full requirements of the application process are available on the Association’s website irbea.org