Taxi drivers to get €7,000 grant for switching to electric cars


Taxi drivers and operators of other public service vehicles are set to benefit from a new €7,000 grant scheme aimed at encouraging them to opt for electric vehicles. Minister for Transport, Shane Ross, has announced a new incentive scheme offering a €7,000 grant towards the purchase of an electric vehicle for those with a small public service vehicle (SPSV) licence. That grant is on top of the existing electric car incentives – the €5,000 rebate on vehicle registration tax, a €3,800 grant from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), and the upcoming new grant from the SEAI for installing a home-charging point.

The Department of Transport grant applies to any fully electric vehicle up to six years old, although the amount reduces according to the age of the car. A smaller €3,500 grant applies if you want to buy a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) for taxi use, but only those with Co2 emissions lower than 65g/km. Conventional hybrids are excluded.

The move is the latest in a series of measures being introduced by the Government to promote electric car ownership. Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe introduced a one-year exemption on benefit in kind for electric vehicles in the budget, and it is expected that the exemption will be rolled out for at least three years, including a suspension of any benefit in kind levied on charging your electric car at work.

Meanwhile, Minister for the Environment Denis Naughten has stated that he is looking at other ways to encourage an increase in the move to electric vehicles, including making motorways tolls free for electric cars and banning sales of any non-hybrid or electric car from 2030 onwards. However, the current financial incentives are still not having much effect. Electric cars accounted for a paltry 0.25 per cent of the market last year, with just 622 sold in total in a total new car market of 131,335.



Scottish Government awards £2.6m to innovative local green energy solutions


The Scottish Government has awarded 12 projects a total of £2.6m as part of its Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme. The projects, among which are initiatives in Glencoe, Callander, Aviemore, Stromness and St Andrews, are tasked with developing local, green energy solutions.

Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy Paul Wheelhouse said:  “The Scottish Government has set some of the most ambitious carbon reduction targets on the planet – exceeding the requirements of the Paris agreement – and is making excellent progress towards meeting them.”

“We have also set our sights on eradicating fuel poverty – which is an unacceptable blight on too many households in Scotland in 2017 – as energy prices have risen steadily, at a time when wages have been depressed due to a weak UK economy and austerity. These twin challenges drive our ambition for innovative local energy projects, such as those for which we are today announcing £2.6 million of funding, as these will provide many consumers, including in some of Scotland’s most remote areas, with an alternative, greener, and potentially cheaper energy source. The construction and maintenance of these projects will also have the added benefit of creating and sustaining jobs, and in doing so can bolster local economies.”

A total of 10 projects received development funding to produce Investment Grade Business Cases, which received a share of £550,000, which will matched by project partners. Two other projects received capital support of £1.95 million, the largest being the Halo Kilmarnock Project. The HALO Kilmarnock development in the West of Scotland will feature a 2,000-metre deep geothermal well, from which hot water will be extracted using a small pump. It is due to be drilled in 2018. Scotland’s first deep geothermal district heating network has been allocated £1.8 million of grant funding by the government. This will involve a former bottling plant being converted into a low carbon development which will include hundreds of affordable homes.

Another project will be based around the low carbon heat provision at the University of the West of Scotland’s Ayr campus, energy efficient homes for older people in North Lanarkshire and an energy project in Glencoe Village.

Below is a table showing the projects, lead applicant, location, total cost and LCITP support received.


Generous Grants for Climate Projects


Reykjavík Energy along with the University of Iceland and other international scientific institutions have received two EU grants for climate projects to the combined amount of EUR 12.2 million. The grants will fund further development of methods fixing CO2 as a mineral in basaltic rock, now with special emphasis on the sea-bed.

Dr. Edda Sif Pind Aradóttir, the projects’ manager at Reykjavík Energy, says the grants, that will benefit a score of collaborators, are a valuable recognition of the projects’ merit and their contribution in the fight against climate change. Already, nine doctoral students have done their theses on fixing CO2 in rock.

Gas into rock:

Since year 2007, scientists have collaborated with Reykjavík Energy’s experts, technicians, and tradespeople on developing the idea and implementation of fixating CO2 into basaltic rock around The Hellisheidi Geothermal Power Plant. The power station co-generates electricity and hot water from geothermal steam which contains sporadic amounts geothermal gases. The same method as has been developed with CO2 is now also employed to sequester H2S, another geothermal gas. Already, 60% of the gases are now fixed as minerals in the bedrock and ON Power, Reykjavík Energy’s subsidiary that operates the power plant, aims at making the operation traceless in terms of these gases.

Looking to the oceans:

Because the methods employed to fix the geothermal gases in the bedrock crave both water and basaltic rock, scientists now have focused on the ocean floor. There, extensive field of basalt can be found and, naturally, lots of water.

More info at:


Innovation in the energy sector in Iceland

Þorsteinn Ingi Sigfússon, Professor in Physics, Laureate of the Global Energy Prize and Director of ICI (Innovation Center Iceland) wrote an article on research and Innovation in the energy sector in Iceland and how ICI has been a strong partner in that area. Here you can read a summary from his article.

Iceland is in a unique position in the world due to its variety of renewable energy resources. Large amounts of renewable energy in Iceland is in the form of electricity sold to aluminum factories which therefore leave a relatively low carbon footprint. The demand today is through further innovation in that category.

ICI has for years now been alerted to innovation in the energy utilization sector.  Regarding minimizing carbon footprints, a large chapter was written on analysis leading to the fact that energy spending is extremely high in fisheries.  The carbon footprint reaches 1000 kg for each 1000 kg fish landed. That problem has led to new solutions and licenses in using light instead of nets by trawlers. This solution has resulted in lower use of energy, lower carbon dioxide emissions and less damage to the sea bed. ICI has formed a co-operation around this project with the Marine Research Institute and companies in fish-net production and fisheries.  This co-operation has trusted the foundation of this research even more. Furthermore a company called Optitog Ltd. has been founded around this innovation.

ICI has also been focusing on minimizing multiple kinds of excreta from aluminum industry here in Iceland including ideas and realization on using rest material in mortar, rock wool and related products. The company Gerosion Ltd. run by Sunna Wallevík was founded around this project alongside the SER (Start-Up Energy Reykjavik) project.

Another project that ICI has been working on is how to produce electricity from low temperature-heat that otherwise is lost (waste heat), mainly from power plants.  The source of this waste heat has its physical explanation as a result of the efficiency in producing electricity from geothermal heat.  This is very low and becomes even lower as the heat of the geothermal plant gets higher. In 2015 in the accelerator program Startup Energy, a project around low heat electricity production was developed. The challenge lies mainly in the small size of the power generator which is only 1 Kw but can produce electricity from heat as low as 70 up to 135 °C.

The company XRG Power was founded around this exciting project and is managed by Mjöll Waldorff. Among the owners is VHE in Hafnarfjörður and a Startup Energy group which is led by Landsvirkjun and Arion Bank.

As can be read above various inventions and innovations in the renewable energy sector are in process which is in line with the urgency of minimizing various carbon footprints and other waste.