The Climate Ambassador programme is a new initiative to train and support individuals taking action on climate issues and is jointly supported by the Educational Unit in An Taisce (An Taisce is a charity that works to preserve and protect Ireland’s natural and built heritage) and also the Department of Communications, Climate Action and the Environment (DCCAE).
Dr. Orla Nic Suibhne recently commenced work with the WDC as a project administrator on the NPA funded LECo project. Over the past two years, Dr. Nic Suibhne completed a Postdoc with University College Dublin and the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland entitled “The energy transition process in a rural community; becoming a Sustainable Energy Community”.
In November 2017, Dr. Nic Suibhne was contacted by Gary Tyrrell, the Climate Action Officer with An Taisce informing her that she had been chosen as one of Irelands first Climate Ambassadors!
There are 100 Climate Ambassadors located throughout Ireland, and the first training day took place in Galway on Saturday 27th January where lots of passionate, experienced climate ambassadors met. Various climate events will take place in Ireland over the next 12 months so please continue to follow us for details.
A new government was formed in Iceland on the 30th of November after an election in October. The Left Green movement, the independence Party and the Progressive Party joined forces and formed a government. Katrín Jakobsdóttir, chairman of the Leftist-Green Movement is Iceland’s new Prime Minister, making her the second woman to hold that position in Iceland, as well as the first ever socialist leader in the country.
In the government agreement are the environmental issues and global warming at the forefront. Iceland is guided by the goal of the Paris Agreement of 2015 to limit the average increase in temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere to 1.5°C from the reference level. The main aim of the government’s climate policy is to avoid negative effects of climate change on marine life. In no other part of the world has the temperature risen as much as it has in the Arctic. Thus, it is incumbent upon Iceland to conduct more extensive studies of acidification of the ocean in collaboration with the academic community and the fishing industry. Iceland is moreover bound to achieve a 40% reduction in emissions of greenhouse gases, based on the 1990 level, by 2030.
It is the government’s wish to go further than is envisaged in the Paris Agreement and to aim to have a carbon-neutral Iceland by 2040 at the latest. The aim is to achieve this by making a permanent reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions and also through changes in land use in accordance with internationally recognized standards and by incorporating approaches that take account of the local ecology and planning considerations. Support will be given to industrial sectors, individual enterprises, institutions and local authorities in their attempt to set themselves targets pertaining to climate-change.
The government aims to have all major public projects assessed in terms of their impact on the climate-policy targets. Concessions for new investment projects will be subject to the condition that the projects have been assessed in terms of their impact on climate and how they conform to Iceland’s international undertakings regarding reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions. Emphasis will be placed on involving all players in society, and the general public, in reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, and support will be given to innovation in this sphere. A climate council will be established and a plan of action on emission reductions will be drawn up, with a time-scale, and financed.
The plan of action will include targets regarding transport and the proportion of vehicles powered by environmentally friendly fuels in the total number of vehicles in Iceland, utilization 22 — levels of fuel and power in business and industry, the introduction of international conventions on the protection of the oceans, ‘green steps’ in state operations and a Climate Fund, and moves will be made to prohibit the use of heavy oil in vessels within Iceland’s economic zone. Collaboration will be established with sheep farmers on neutralizing the carbon emissions from sheep farming in accordance with a plan of action. Other production sectors will also be invited to collaborate on comparable projects.
GREBEs lead partner the Western Development Commission, wishes to recruit project administrators to work on two renewable energy projects.
The ‘Regional Development and Integration of unused biomass wastes as Resources for Circular products and economic Transformation’ (RE-DIRECT) Project is an EU co-funded (North West Europe Programme) project to promote the efficient use of natural resources and materials by converting residual biomass into carbon products and activated carbon at smart regional decentralised units.
On Wednesday 27th September 2017, the innovative Surf ‘n’ Turf hydrogen community energy project was officially launched in Orkney by the Scottish Government’s Business, Innovation & Energy Minister, Paul Wheelhouse.
Scottish Government Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, Paul Wheelhouse, stated “Hydrogen itself and hydrogen fuel cells both have huge potential in Scotland’s low-carbon energy system and we have already supported a number of world-leading hydrogen demonstration projects.
We will continue to support innovation in suitable hydrogen initiatives and explore the practicalities of using hydrogen as a zero carbon substitute fuel for the heating of homes and businesses in Scotland and in transport.
Hydrogen energy technologies are in the early stages of development in Scotland but there is growing global awareness of their potential in the decarbonisation of heat, industry and transport. We are actively considering what role hydrogen can play in Scotland’s future energy system as part of the Scottish Energy Strategy, and projects like Surf ‘n’ Turf have a very important role to play in informing that work.”
The “Surf ’n’ Turf” project is led by Community Energy Scotland, in collaboration with the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), Orkney Islands Council, Eday Renewable Energy and ITM Power. The project has received £1.3m (€1.5m) of Scottish government funding through the CARES programme and Local Energy Challenge Fund.
Mark Hull, Community Energy Scotland’s Head of Innovation said: “We never forget why we took on this challenge: we want community energy to work so that local people benefit directly from their renewable energy.
This hydrogen pilot has been the best opportunity for Eday due to their location, type of grid limitations, its fantastic energy resource and the chance to power the local ferries with Orkney’s own fuel. We are proud, together with the community and partners, to have cleared the hurdles and reached this milestone.”
Orkney is an archipelago off the north-eastern coast of Scotland. There is a plentiful amount of natural resources (wave, tidal, wind and solar), which allows for the electricity to be generated locally from renewable resources. On many occasions the generated electricity is more than what is needed by the local population and the surplus is exported to the UK National Grid. In some instances, a problem arises with an over-production of green electricity, as the grid connection in Orkney is not large enough to support the export of all that is produced. This results in curtailment of the production of green electricity and clean energy being unharnessed.
Eday Island hosts the tidal site of the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) and has around 200 residents, which own collectively 900kW wind turbine through Eday Renewable Energy. Both Eday’s wind turbine and EMEC’s tidal turbines are susceptible to curtailment because of the non-firm grid connection.
Andy Stennett, Managing Director of Eday Renewable Energy Ltd said: “The ERE team is proud to be part of such an innovative pilot. We expect to reclaim electricity that was previously lost, meaning more revenue, and more money we can pass to our community.”
Surf ‘n’ Turf provides Eday’s community-owned wind turbine and EMEC with equipment to convert and store the surplus energy as hydrogen. The fuel cell (75kW) was the final piece of the hydrogen project and it was delivered and install by Arcola Energy in collaboration with German Proton Motor. The hydrogen is compressed by EMEC’s electrolyser, stored and transported to Kirkwall for off-site use, where the fuel cell will convert it back into electricity for use by the inter-island ferries while berthed at the pier. EMCE produced the world’s first tidal-powered hydrogen in August this year.
James Stockan, Leader of Orkney Islands Council, said: “This is all about turning a problem into an opportunity – a home-grown solution to the difficulties grid restraints cause for a community with abundant renewable energy resources.
The result is a world-leading project that rightly is attracting international interest. I am confident that this will be the first of many pioneering ways our community will find to utilise hydrogen produced using Orkney’s natural resources.”
Jakokoski community established a 20 kW wind power plant in October 2016 as a LEADER co-financed project to provide power for the observatory and a community building.
Jakokoski community initiated a community wind power in their community development plan in 2009. The planning included a detailed engineering thesis work of a person living in a community. Project was identified feasible, and implemented with LEADER co-financing. The total budget for the investment project was 74 500 €’s with 50% co-financing, and a loan from the municipality.
The location of the 19 meters high power plant is optimal, as it is at the top of the hill Terttulanvaara – a popular of its observatory and public star shows.
The generator power is 20kW, estimated production (with average 5 m/s wind) is 19 625 kWh. Estonian TUGE Energia headquartered in Tallinn manufactures the wind power turbine. It manufactures and supplies small wind turbines with capacity of 10 and 20 kW. A regional power company provides additional electricity and purchases the excess power.
The technology is innovative, as the metering of the wind power and direction is based on ultrasound, and rotor turns automatically in optimal direction. Turbine can also be monitored and partly controlled online, and hydraulic lifting enables service and maintenance operations.
The GREBE Project met in Scotland last week for their third project meeting. As part of the meeting, GREBE met with another NPA funded project ‘FREED’ on Monday 5th June to discuss synergies between the two projects. We then had two days for meetings to discuss the project activities and the reports on policy initiatives, funding mechanisms and climatic challenges of the NPA region which we will publish in September. On the fourth day of our meeting, our Scottish partner, the Environmental Research Institute (ERI) organised site visits to look at renewable energy technologies in use in different areas.
Our first visit was to Dingwall Wind Co-Op http://dingwallwind.org.uk/. The Dingwall Wind Co-op owns and runs a 250kW wind turbine just above Dingwall in Ross-shire. The turbine is the first 100% co-operatively owned wind development in Scotland. The co-op was launched in September 2013 and the turbine was commissioned on the 16th of June 2014. There are 179 members of the co-op, 90% of whom are from the local area. The co-op will contribute to a community fund estimated at between £2000 and £8000/year. Members of the co-op receive a good return on their investment and EIS tax relief. The landowners, who originated the project, receive a rental payment for use of their land.
Our next visit to John McKenzie at Scroggie Farm http://flyingfarmer.co/john-mckenzie/green-energy. Using his own farm as a starting point, in 2009 John took his various experiences, particularly those from visiting the remote islands of Scotland, and embarked on a number of projects to promote local energy production and saving. The result is a farm that harnesses the wind, rain and sun for energy production. The systems at the farm include Wind, Hydro(on and off grid), Solar PV, Solar Gain, Solar Thermal, Biomass, Electric Car. Off-grid hydro equipment supplied by Powerspout Hydro Turbines.
Our last visit of the day was to see a new 4MW biomass steam boiler at Tomatin Distillery http://www.tomatin.com/. This biomass boiler is fuelled by locally produced wood pellets, provided by Balcas which allows Tomatin to displace the majority of the distillery’s heavy fuel oil and, in doing so, cut its carbon emissions.