Landsvirkjun sees potentials in Windmill Park in Iceland

Iceland wind

On Landsvirkjun’s (The National Power Company of Iceland) promotional meeting they announced their will to develop further ideas about founding windmill parks in Iceland. Althingi (The National Parliament) has one area for those parks on a waiting list within a Master Plan for Nature Protection and Energy Utilization which was accepted 14th of January 2013. Another area, Blönd­u­lund­ur is again on a utilization list within the Master Plan mentioned above.

Hörður Arnarson the CEO of Landsvirkjun is of the opinion that electricity from wind could easily become the third electricity source that adds to hydro and geothermal heat. He claims that on Iceland the conditions for utilizing wind is in highest category worldwide when it comes to utilizing each windmill. Today the utilizing rate is 50% in Iceland as for only 28% globally.

Furthermore Hörður states production price is decreasing and costs parallel to geothermal heat.

As mentioned above there are certain hindrance when it comes to places. Blöndulundur for example has negative aspects as the transport route of power therefrom is quite limited and adding the third power plant there would call for further reinforcement of the transport route.

Great contribution to the climate issues

Hörður would be interested in installing 50 windmill park in Iceland with the power of 10-20 Megawatt each. The big issue today is the visual part according to Hörður. Both windmills and power lines are more visual than for example Hydro Power plants which are more adapted to nature.

Finally, Hörður talks about the future in solar and wind power. Both of these sources of power is well applicable today as the technique has gone through huge development as can be seen in many places globally, where these power sources are the most inexpensive ones.

Derived from mbl.is 7th march 2017

http://www.mbl.is/vidskipti/frettir/2017/03/01/landsvirkjun_horfir_enn_til_vindorku/

Scotland sets 50% renewable energy target

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The Scottish Government has followed a world leading climate change target of cutting 66% of emissions by 2020 with a hugely ambitious renewable energy target – that 50% of all energy will be met by renewables by 2030.

The announcement was made at the end of January with the launch of the draft Scottish Energy strategy that aims to build on the strengths of the Scottish renewable energy sector and reduce emissions for 2050.

Paul Wheelhouse, the Energy Minister, has said that he hopes the “document stimulates debate about the energy challenges in Scotland and the policies needed to meet the aspirations of the people of Scotland to deliver a secure, sustainable energy future for all, in the best interests of our communities, economy and environment.”

The draft plan has a number of proposals such as a Scottish government-owned energy company with responsibility for helping local and community energy projects grow. It also sets out the ambition that Scotland will become the first place in the UK where onshore wind can thrive without subsidy.

Scottish Renewables, the representative body of the Scottish renewable sector, said the proposals are a “landmark moment in Scotland’s transition to a low-carbon economy”.

Jenny Hogan, director of policy at Scottish Renewables, said: “The new draft strategy shows that Scotland is serious about building on the fantastic progress made in renewable power over the past decade and maintaining our position as a global leader in green energy.

“Setting a new target for renewables to deliver half of our energy needs by 2030 sends a strong signal that renewable energy will be at the heart of Scotland’s economy and is key to meeting our climate change targets at lowest cost.

The strategy sets out a “renewed focus” on stalled efforts for energy efficiency with the hugely ambitious target of making Scotland’s buildings near zero carbon by 2050. It also seeks out views on alternative financial models for supporting low carbon technologies and services such as green bonds.

The Scottish Government has been proud of its progress but now looks at addressing challenging areas with this draft Energy Plan such as low-carbon heat, and transport. Opposition parties have welcomed the commitment but have stated that the challenge is in the implementation of energy policy.

Winter climate change might have a negative effect on forest growth and productivity

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“According to an experiment conducted in Luke, denser snowpack or lack of snow cover due to warmer winters could have a major impact on forest ecosystems. Winter climate change might have a negative effect on forest growth and productivity that could partially counteract the positive growth effects predicted due to increasing summer time temperatures.

Winter warming is expected to affect snow cover in boreal forests by increasing ground ice encasement, snow compaction or even events of complete lack of snow cover. Of these predicted changes ice encasement appeared to be the most harmful winter conditions to Scots pine and Norway spruce seedlings. These effects could influence forest regeneration with important implications for boreal forest ecology and the associated economy such as forest regeneration costs. (…)” (Luke News)

The Original news article can be found from the news section of GREBE partner Luke under:

https://www.luke.fi/en/news/winter-climate-change-might-have-a-negative-effect-on-forest-growth-and-productivity/

From the GREBE perspective, the GREBE project is looking at the Influence of Environmental Conditions in NPA & Arctic Regions, a recent report can be found from the project´s website:

http://grebeproject.eu/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/GREBE-Report-on-the-Influence-of-Environmental-Conditions-in-NPA-Arctic-Regions.pdf

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

GREBE Report on the Influence of Environmental Conditions in NPA & Arctic Regions

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Global climate change impacts Europe in many ways, including: changes in average and extreme temperature and precipitation, warmer oceans, rising sea level and shrinking snow and ice cover on land and at sea. These weather phenomenons have led to a range of impacts on ecosystems, socio-economic sectors and human health and safety. There is no doubt that the changes in climate will have a strong impact in our daily life, whether we accept extreme weather conditions as a new phenomenon or not. Adaptation to the past history data, present observed and future predicted impacts will in the coming decades be needed, as well as be complementary to global climate mitigation actions. Narvik Science Park has made a report on this in the GREBE-Project.

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Background

The harsh climatic conditions experienced in many NPA regions, particularly high north and arctic regions, present significant challenges to SMEs and start-ups that can seriously impact on the viability of their businesses. Winter storms regularly occurring in the high north, known as polar lows or arctic weather fronts, can bring about sudden and extreme drops in temperatures, with debilitating ice and snow conditions developing quickly. Also, in the North West Europe the influence from the North Atlantic Oscillation give rise to storms, resulting in high winds and precipitations. These conditions frequently give rise to unsafe working conditions and suspension of business operations, particular in the case of technology installations. Operational environments in these areas are often vulnerable irrespective of climatic conditions, given their isolated, remote locations, far away from technical maintenance staff, and which are often difficult to access by road, air or sea. Businesses located in these areas must compensate for fragile and less robust parameters, in order to cope with unforeseen sudden disturbances (for instance, climate change effects).

There are significant climate challenges in the partner regions with different types of harsh weather. Low temperature, hard winds, and rain/ snow conditions can be extreme in the NPA regions. The question is – how to find the best process conditions for business in remote NPA communities, where knowledge transfer is an important aspect. A harsh local/regional climate, sparsely populated areas together with rural geographic related issues and poor infrastructure have a tendency to bias the company’s business models.

Effects on GREBE regions in Northern Europe

Findings from the work of NSP – In the northeastern part of Europe there is a high societal disturbance caused by wind, rain and in some sense also freezing rain. Since the occurrence of harsh weather conditions are not frequent, the effect will be more palpable. In comparison the norther part of Europe, i.e. Iceland has a frequent presence of high wind conditions that in this case will be more of a “normal” continuous state in daily weather.  In the northeast coastal regions of Europe, the weather is more unpredictable with suddenly arising storms, i.e. polar lows, delivering both rain/snow and windy conditions. In the mainland northeast regions there are precipitation and in conjunction with this often cold climate.

“Local extreme weather” – The weather impact on societal infrastructure in the different NPA regions is considered to be affecting the business activities. The phenomenon of “local extreme weather” is serious for the single business when affects and may have serious consequences to compete in an open market. The trends in towards more local extreme weather is indicating the following spread in northern Europe:

  • Ireland/Northern-Ireland – Wind & Storms
  • Scotland – Rain & Wind
  • Iceland – Wind & Cold
  • Norway – Snow & Cold
  • Finland – Ice & Snow

The economic outcome is then a vulnerable factor in these NPA regions that gives a negative bias for local business and a non-favorable competitive disadvantage compared to similar businesses in other EU regions.

The Regional readiness

The readiness from the society to handle harsh weather and local “extreme” conditions varies from country to country in northern Europe. The regional readiness in local “extreme weather conditions” should be an important measure when establishing new enterprises and a serious risk analysis should be made before each activity starts, by taken in account the possibility for weather disturbance. Based upon the description below from each GREBE partner region, an indicative regional or even local perception has to be defined. The overall measure that indicates some connection between local “extreme weather frequency” and a corresponding indication of society readiness can be of great value. This opens for a discussion and action plans or even a business strategy plan, concerning suddenly weather extremes that are changing in a fast manner, like for example in frequency and behavior. This will also reflect the current climate change in coherence with business activities that we are experiencing and specifically when it is expected to make the biggest noticeable effect on the environment in the Arctic and sub-arctic regions. The regional readiness in society is of great importance when considering time loss of energy, restriction in transportations or not operational production.

However, the impact of “local extreme weather” is considered manageable and moderate in most of the northern EU regions. The frequency of these weather phenomenons can be severe when an indirect impact occurs, e.g. avalanches, coldness, strong winds and flooding will also in the future cause disturbances in the society. These occurrences mainly affect the accessibility to production plants and the mobility of staff. Nevertheless, there is always a high risk that the safety aspect will in each situation not be fully understood. The “local extreme weather” is always important to relate to for both personnel and business operations.

Conclusions –  climate effects on society business

  1. Regional cooperation – The widely spread geographical areas of northern Europe, is experiencing a number of joint challenges in relation to its location, but also possible opportunities that can be overcome and realized by regional cooperation. The experience from each region may be introduced to other Northern European areas and innovations from different parts in society can be used to create specific growth initiatives and common efficient business opportunities of the European Northern and Arctic regions in a climate efficient way. One major impact of challenges and initiatives in business operations is the influence of weather conditions on society and in the extension also SME business operations and productivity located in these areas.
  2. Strategic handling – Today, many operators in society refer to weather as a restriction in budget and argue that it is a phenomenon that has an actuable impact on business. However, the weather can be a strong benefit for the business when an updated insight into the specific local conditions is available and by using a strategic handling document based upon regional knowledge and experience from other businesses. Even national weather organizations are today providing companies this service.
  3. Variety of weather – The final implication is that a change in weather pattern will result in a variety of weather phenomenon that can affect the NPA regions in a different matter. There are different effects on the society, depending upon the specific region, i.e. flooding, wind, and disturbance on roads by fallen trees and avalanche.

You can download the report from the GREBE Project website:

http://grebeproject.eu/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/GREBE-Report-on-the-Influence-of-Environmental-Conditions-in-NPA-Arctic-Regions.pdf

White paper on New Norwegian energy policy

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The Norwegian government has this spring presented a White Paper on energy policy – ‘Power For Change – An Energy Policy Towards 2030’. The main message is that security of supply, consequences for climate and economic growth must be considered together to secure an efficient and climate friendly energy supply.  17 years have passed since the Parliament last received a broad overview of the development, status and perspectives of our national energy supply. Since the last White Paper in 1999, the energy markets and the policies of the countries around us have changed considerably. There now exists an international commitment to enhance efforts on emission reductions and climate adaption.

The renewable energy resources and a well-functioning energy sector are competitive advantages for Norway. An efficient energy market and access to reliable and clean renewable energy is crucial for a climate-friendly energy supply. The new Norwegian energy policy will enable increased use of renewable power in new areas.

The government wants the Norwegian energy supply to be the basis for continued growth and welfare. The new Norwegian energy policy would focus on four areas.

1. Enhanced security of supply

The societies focus on security of supply is growing. The government aims to uphold a satisfactory security of supply also in the years to come – and wants to make sure that market solutions enhance the flexibility of the energy system. The goal is to pursue a strengthened Nordic energy cooperation. The government wants a robust power transmission system on all levels, and will work for better coordination between transmission, consumption and production. New technology and the use of smart management systems will contribute to improved security of supply in the future.

2. Efficient production of renewables

Norway is blessed with huge renewable resources and the opportunity to make use of them. The governments energy policy should enable profitable production of renewable power in Norway.  The efforts in developing and using new technologies for renewable energy will continue. Stronger integration with other energy markets is important to maintain the value of Norwegian renewable resources. Therefore, the government aims to increase connections with European energy markets. The regulatory framework will be changed so that others than the state-owned TSO Statnett may own and operate interconnectors. To avoid reduced values of our existing renewable production, the government will not introduce new targets under the Green certificate system – and will also make the licensing process more efficient.

The government wants a long-term development of profitable wind power in Norway. The introduction of a national framework for wind power will contribute to dampen conflicts and contribute with appropriate choices of locating wind power.

3. More efficient and climate-friendly use of energy

The government wants to alter the focus from supporting mature production technologies towards innovation and the development of new energy and climate solutions. Our national agency for the support of green energy and energy efficiency, Enova, is our main instrument in this work. Enova’s overarching aims are reduction of climate emissions, strengthening security of energy supply and the development of technologies that in the long term contribute to lower climate emissions. The government has recently entrusted Enova with the responsibility of contributing to reduce climate emissions from transport. The development of new energy and climate technologies in the industrial sector will continue to be a main area of Enovas work. The government is proposing an ambitious national objective for energy efficiency.

4. Economic growth and value creation through efficient use of profitable renewable resources

The energy sector creates substantial values based on Norways renewable energy resources.

The use of renewable energy also enables value creation in other industries and sectors. The government will facilitate the development of our competitive advantages from deploying our renewable energy resources. The government proposes a new law that will enable industrial owners of hydropower to access predictable supplies in the future.

Future value creation based on our renewable resources is contingent on our ability for innovation and knowledge development. The government aims to achieve a smooth employment of tools from different institutions and innovation programs – building on the strategy “Energy 21” which is jointly developed by the industry, research institutions and public authorities.

Renewable energy focus

For the GREBE Project it is interesting to notice that 3 of 4 policy headlines in the new energy policy – directly focus on Norway’s renewable energy resources and how to make use of them and technological innovations to create renewable business.

Finland will attain the targets set by the Paris climate conference if the forest-based bioeconomy evolves

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According to Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) Finland will attain the targets set by the Paris climate conference if the forest-based bioeconomy evolves and attention is paid to the material cycles of wood-based materials. The key is to further develop forest management and utilisation methods that enable using forest-based raw materials, carbon sequestration and preserving forest biodiversity.

Increasing the production and use of woodbased biomass considerably in Finland is justified in order to enable the forest-based bioeconomy. In Finland, forests play a key role in the transition from a fossil-based economy to a bio-based economy. In the future, the end-products of the forest-based bioeconomy will replace products manufactured from fossil raw materials as well as act as long-term carbon sinks. Long-lifecycle products therefore strengthen the climate benefits associated with forests.

Climate change may negatively affect forest health. The changing climate favours pests and other natural disasters. Unmanaged, dense and old forests are susceptible to insect damage and, subsequently, forest fires. In such cases, the carbon stored in the trees is released directly into the atmosphere without providing any opportunities to utilise the biomass.

Luke’s policy recommendation examines the impacts of the growing use of forest and a changing climate on forest’s ability to sequester carbon. When increasing the sustainable use of forests, the diversity of nature and other uses of forests must be taken into account.” (Luke News)

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

https://www.luke.fi/en/news/increasing-sustainable-use-of-forests-and-the-carbon-neutrality-targets-of-the-paris-agreement-can-be-combined/

The link to the policy brief publication can be found here: http://jukuri.luke.fi/bitstream/handle/10024/535292/luke_policy_brief_1_2016_eng.pdf?sequence=6